This September, Theatre Under the Stars audiences were going to have a chance to see the much-anticipated Broadway-bound revival of 1776. But today TUTS is announcing that because of continuing risks related to COVID-19, it is having to put those plans on hold.
Rock of Ages, which was to start in October, will also be postponed.
Instead plans are to begin the season with Disney's The Little Mermaid on December 6 and end the 2020-21 season with the two postponed productions. Rock of Ages will be rescheduled for August 10-22, 2021 and 1776 for September 28 through October 10, following its run in New York City. According to TUTS, the Houston production will feature the complete Broadway cast.
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While not totally unexpected — Broadway theaters are still uncertain about when they are going to open — the TUTS decision is not the first by a local theater to announce and then reschedule its start date for the next season.
Since Gov. Abbott began re-opening up Texas businesses and relaxing restrictions, there has been an increase in the number of coronavirus cases, especially in the Houston area. Besides the reduced seating the theaters probably will employ to insure social distancing, there is still the question of closer contact with other people while waiting in the lobby, or using restroom facilities at live arts venues.
“With the well-being of our audiences, artists and staff as our primary concern, we’re delaying the start of the upcoming season to allow more time for the current health crisis to abate,” said TUTS Artistic Director Dan Knechtges in a press release.
If all goes as planned TUT's 2020-21 season also includes South Pacific on February 9-21, Sister Act on April 6-18 and the North American tour of Come From Away on May 18-30.