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Houston’s Alley Theatre cancels live 2020-21 season, offers free virtual program in its place

Todd Waite as 3rd Party Member,
Elizabeth Bunch as 2nd Party Member,
Shawn Hamilton as Winston,
David Rainey as 4th Party Member,
and Jay Sullivan as 1st Party Member
in the Alley Theatre's production of 1984.
Todd Waite as 3rd Party Member, Elizabeth Bunch as 2nd Party Member, Shawn Hamilton as Winston, David Rainey as 4th Party Member, and Jay Sullivan as 1st Party Member in the Alley Theatre's production of 1984. (Photo by Lynn Lane.)

Citing safety concerns amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Alley Theatre announced Thursday it was canceling live performances for its 2020-21 season. Alley Theatre will offer a free virtual program in its place.

“The Alley Theatre values the health and safety of its staff, artists, and patrons and believes that the season cancellation is necessary to protect everyone from COVID-19,” the institution said in a release.

The following shows are affected by the cancellation: “Born with Teeth” by Liz Duffy Adams (January 22 – February 14, 2021), “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett (March 5 – 28, 2021), “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” by Sarah Ruhl (April 16 – May 9, 2021), “Sweat” by Lynn Nottage (May 28 – June 20, 2021), and “High School Play: A Nostalgia Fest” by Vichet Chum (July 9 – August 1, 2021).

The Alley Theatre said it remains committed to producing the canceled works in future seasons.

Alley Theatre will replace its live performances with free virtual programming.

“Like so many of you, I too am disappointed to have to cancel our on-stage season,” artistic director Rob Melrose said. “I can’t wait to gather in the Hubbard and the Neuhaus to experience live theatre with you again. At the same time, I am delighted about all the work we are creating on Alley@Home and I am excited to share a robust digital season of new plays and classics featuring the Alley’s Resident Acting Company.”

As part of the theatre’s Alley@Home content, the new digital 2020-21 season will be available for free to all who register for tickets at alleytheatre.org. Registration opens December 21, 2020.

“When we started Alley@Home in March, shortly after COVID-19 hit the U.S., our goal was to create something that would stay with us even after the pandemic was long behind us. The digital medium affords us the opportunity to grow our audience for work we normally put on our stages and to explore a wider range of plays than we can offer live and in-person,” Melrose said.

“1984,” the first virtual production released through the Alley@Home program, was seen in 48 states plus D.C. and nine countries, according to Alley Theatre. The theatre’s upcoming digital production of “A Christmas Carol” already has over 175,000 registrations.

The Alley Theatre’s digital Spring 2021 season can be found below:

THE STRONGER

By August Strindberg

Translated and Directed by Rob Melrose

January 15 – February 7, 2021

A HALF-SHEET OF PAPER

By August Strindberg

Translated and Directed by Rob Melrose

January 22 – February 14, 2021

THE MAN WITH THE FLOWER IN HIS MOUTH

By Luigi Pirandello

Translated and Directed by Rob Melrose

February 12– March 14, 2021

Euripides’ MEDEA

Translated by Mary-Kay Gamel

Directed by Rob Melrose

March 5 – April 4, 2021

EL CHUCO TOWN FOREVER

By Isaac Gómez

Directed by Laura Moreno

April 2 – May 2, 2021

CHOOSING LOVE

By Chisa Hutchinson

April 2 – May 2, 2021

MAN. KIND.

By Don X. Nguyen

Directed by Brandon Weinbrenner

April 9 – May 9, 2021

FOR STEVE WOZNIAK, ON HIS 67TH BIRTHDAY

By Jiehae Park

April 9 – May 9, 2021

OLD BLACK & WHITE HOLLYWOOD

By ShaWanna Renee Rivon

April 16 - May 16, 2021

AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE

By Henrik Ibsen

Translated from the Norwegian by Paul Walsh

Directed by Rob Melrose

April 30 – May 30, 2021

PARIAH

By August Strindberg

Translated and Directed by Rob Melrose

June 4 – July 4, 2021


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