Omicron is wreaking havoc in the arts. Here’s what’s been canceled, postponed, or posted online – 89.3 WFPL News Louisville

Variants of COVID-19, like delta and now omicron, have derailed some performing arts groups’ best-laid plans to return to theaters with in-person audiences.

The flurry of press releases announcing in-person seasons last year seemed like a triumphant comeback. But the arts, and the performing arts in particular, are having to cancel, postpone or move productions online due to recent increases in COVID-19 cases in their communities.

Even Broadway has not been spared the highly contagious omicron variant.

The productions tried to get through. One-liners and swingers are in the spotlight and getting their due to keep shows running.

But in December, about half of all Broadway shows were canceled due to theater employees testing positive, the The New York Times reported.

“Even the most resource-rich shows were facing challenges that ended up shutting down shows or shutting them down altogether,” Carson Elrod told members of the US House Small Business Committee on Wednesday during a briefing. virtual presentation on the country’s creative economy. Elrod is an actor and co-founder of the national advocacy group Be an artistic hero.

Here in the Louisville area, there have been a recent series of pandemic-related programming changes.

Kentucky Shakespeare has postponed its production of “Shakespeare’s R&Jby Joe Calarco. The show, co-presented with Pandora Productions, was scheduled for late January at the Henry Clay Theater in Louisville.

An email from Kentucky Shakespeare sent on Tuesday said the race had been postponed to August and will be held at the organization’s headquarters in Old Louisville.

“Due to the surge of omicron, to allow enough time to properly rehearse and prepare for production, we have decided to postpone,” the email reads.

“We want to bring Shakespeare down from a pedestal and find relevance today with his work,” produced artistic director Matt Wallace. told WFPL News in November of the game. “And this play is just a beautiful retelling of ‘Romeo and Juliet’.”

“Shakespeare’s R&J” will run from August 17-28.

The Louisville Orchestra has canceled “Music Without Borders” concerts on Friday and Saturday.

Due to multiple COVID exposures within the orchestra and the lack of time available to find replacements, the Louisville Orchestra is unable to perform these concerts safely,” reads a press release from the organization.

The orchestra will refund all tickets, according to the statement.

His Sunday concert ofPierre and the Wolfat the Brown Theater will go ahead as planned, however.

Louisville composer and flautist KiMani Bridges was due to have a world premiere of one of her works at the now-cancelled concerts. Bridges’ piece “STATiC” will debut during Louisville Orchestra concerts in mid-May.

The orchestra’s marketing manager, Michelle Winters, said replacing musicians was an ongoing challenge when they tested positive or were exposed to the virus.

“For almost every gig this season, we had to hire replacements when people got sick or were significantly exposed,” Winters said in an email. “Finding competent professionals has sometimes been a challenge. This one simply proved too much for our available resources.

She said future variations or surges mean they are “potentially facing additional program changes for spring concerts”.

Louisville Ballet also had to revamp January’s lineup thanks to the omicron variant.

Last week, the ballet announced the cancellation of in-person performances of ‘ChorShow’ due to the ‘alarming increase in COVID-19 infection rates in our community,’ says an email signed by the director. artistic. Robert Curan.

The ballet’s choreographic showcase presentation was scheduled for January 12-16 at its Main Street studios.

But it was not a complete cancellation of the race.

“ChorShow” will be presented on “the digital stage,” according to the email, and is expected to be available to stream in February.

The impacts of the omicron surge are not limited to the performing arts. Museums and other cultural institutions also feel it. The Smithsonian in Washington D.C. temporary closure and modified hours of several of its facilities earlier this month due to staff shortages due to COVID-19 infections and exposures.

Continuing uncertainty keeps national and local arts advocacy groups busy

In one virtual conversation with a committee of the United States House of Representatives on Wednesday, members of arts unions and organizations formed in response to the pandemic, such as the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), have urged lawmakers to back legislation they say will help the arts recover. These invoices included:

They also advocated for a federal arts and culture cabinet, with its own secretary, which also caught the attention of arts leaders and artists in the Louisville area.

During the virtual meeting, Republican U.S. Representative Andrew Garbarino from New York asked one of the online arts representatives to speak “about what states have done” for their arts and culture sectors.

“Because we also sent them a lot of money to help with more local issues,” he said.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear earmarked $10 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds for nonprofit arts and culture organizations in its draft budget.

This 10 million dollars did not enter the the State House spending bill passed Thursday night. However, there is still some budget writing process to go through and revisions will likely be made in the coming weeks.

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