Coronavirus claims 2020 Lyric Repertory season

The late Vosco Call shares the stage with Equity actresses Colleen Baum and Leslie Brott in the hilarious 2016 Lyric Repertory production of "Arsenic and Old Lace."

LOGAN — The Coronavirus has claimed another victim in Cache Valley – the much-anticipated 2020 season of the Lyric Repertory Company.

In an April 2 video posted on Facebook, the company’s artistic director Richie Call announced a one-year postponement of the productions that had been slated for this summer.

Call confessed it was personally difficult for him to make the announcement. The Lyric Repertory Company was founded by his grandfather, the late Vosco Call, in 1967 and had operated every summer for 53 years without interruption.

“But our first priority must be the safety and wellbeing of our patrons and company members,” Call explained in the video. “We feel under the present circumstances that it’s best to join with so many other theater companies that have already made the difficult decision to close their doors.”

The postponement decision was also agonizing for reasons other than sentiment. In late March, Call reported that the Lyric was on track for a boom year in box office receipts, having already sold a record-breaking number of season tickets.

Call promised that all current ticket-holders would be contacted by the Lyric’s box office and will receive full refunds.

“I am also very pleased … that this is only a postponement, not a cancellation,” Call explained. “The entire company that we had assembled for this summer has been officially invited to join us again in the summer of 2021 and together we’ll present the shows that were originally scheduled for 2020.”

The Lyric’s 2020 season would have represented a return to its tradition of presenting feel-good comedies and small cast musicals with the occasional murder mystery thrown in for spice. That would have been a departure from its 2019 season, which evenly balanced lighter fare with the intense dramas “A Raisin in the Sun,” “Clybourne Park” and “The Great Society.”

The rescheduled Lyric shows now slated for the summer of 2021 are the comedies “Brighton Beach Memoirs” and “The Thanksgiving Play;” the musicals “All Shook Up” and “Hudson;” and the Agatha Christie mystery “Murder on the Nile.”

“As for the 2nd Annual Vosco Call Spotlight Concert,” Call added, “we’ll be moving forward with a virtual concert that viewers can stream on our website and social media platforms. The memorial concert was originally scheduled for July 14 and we’re going to stick to that date.”

The Lyric announcement is ominous news not just for theater-lovers, but also for Cache Valley’s business community. The repertory company’s summer season is one of two major attractions for the retiree Summer Citizens who traditionally flock to Logan from Arizona, California and Texas. The other draw is the Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre’s lavish productions each summer, which are now also threatened by the Coronavirus.

It is estimated that the annual invasion of the elderly each summer contributes $4.1 million to the local economy.

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