Theater season dies at Utah State

The much-anticipated production of Arthur Miller's dramatic masterpiece "The Crucible" at Utah State University has been cancelled.

LOGAN – The performance schedule of the Theatre Arts Department at Utah State University is the first confirmed fatality of the coronavirus in Cache Valley.

The department‘s student production of the one-act musical [Title of Show] was cancelled after one performance when USU President Noelle Cockett announced that the university would curtail events and travel at least through Mar. 30 to prevent the spread of the novel virus.

USU assistant professor Richie Call has now confirmed that the Theatre Arts Department has also cancelled the upcoming presentation of the classic drama “The Crucible,” which would have been the crowning achievement of the 2019-20 theater season.

“The Crucible” was to be staged April 10-18 in the Caine Lyric Theatre in downtown Logan, but Call said preparations for that production were impossible under current conditions.

“We made the decision to cancel ‘The Crucible’ on Mar. 12,” Call explained. “There was just no way to continue rehearsals while being compliant with all of the instructions we received from the university and the state.”

Those instructions included guidance to USU students, faculty and staff to maintain social distancing of at least six feet from other individuals and to avoid gatherings of more than 20 people.

Written by Arthur Miller, “The Crucible” debuted in 1953 dramatizing the religious and social hysteria that resulted in the Salem Witch Trials that took place in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1692-93. The play was also considered an allegory about the post-war McCarthy Era during which the U.S. government hounded people accused of being communists. In our current climate of non-stop political investigations and the “Me-Too” movement, the topical drama had been eagerly anticipated by the now-disappointed Cache theater community.

USU theater arts students are equally disappointed, but are trying to maintain a philosophical attitude toward the abrupt end of the university’s theater season.

“It’s a shame,” said Brian Bohlender, who had been a member of the cast of [Title of Show]. “But things happen. What can you do?”

Student performer Mollee Barse added that the cancellation of “The Crucible” is having a greater impact on the USU theater students than the loss of [Title of Show].

“‘The Crucible’ would have had a big cast and crew,” she said, explaining that production would have been a last opportunity for a number of students to demonstrate their talents.

Ms. Barse added that she and Bohlender are now consoling themselves that they’ve both been selected to work with the Lyric Repertory Company this summer.

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