Port Polson Players cancel summer season due to COVID-19
By Karen Peterson
POLSON – Port Polson Players announced this week that the summer theater season will not open this year due to COVID-19 concerns.
Karen and Neal Lewing, theater organizers, had hoped to open the 45th season with “some new twists and terrific shows” on July 16. Signs and advertising were made to announce the big opening. The crew was ready to follow the Centers for Disease Control guidelines with sanitizing protocol, social distancing, and wrapped concessions, but increasing virus numbers across the state caused them to rethink their plan. The decision to close started with a trip to Fort Peck.
“Five days after arriving and rehearsing in Fort Peck, we were informed, due to a recent rise of COVID-19, that local health authorities and the Fort Pack Fine Arts Council Board of Directors made the painful and difficult decision to suspend Fort Peck’s entire summer theater season, including “Sunshine Boys” and three other shows,” Karen said.
With Fort Peck closing, it was time for the Polson theater reconsider summer plans. “As soon as we got back to Polson, we considered what we had been through in Fort Peck and contacted the Board of Directors for the Mission Valley Friends of the Arts, the Lake County Health Department and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.”
When the final vote came in from the board, Karen started the daunting task of informing others that the theater wasn’t opening. “They unanimously voted to hold off on upcoming summer productions at Polson’s beautiful theater on the lake,” she said. “Like Fort Peck, we regretfully report that we too are forced to close the summer season.”
Three shows were rehearsed and ready for this season, including “Dirty Works at the Crossroads,” “The Pin-Up Girls” and “Over The River and Through The Woods.” The final show, “The Last Romance” was developed with a full cast but hadn’t yet been rehearsed.
Although the organizers closed the season with a sense of sadness, they look forward to next year. “As it looks, now, our 2021 spring and summer lineup will be in place,” she said. “Other community and children’s theater opportunities will be announced as soon as we are assured that all restrictions have been lifted, and we can proceed in a healthy atmosphere for patrons and performers alike.”
Neal, PPP managing director, has said in the past: “One of the best ways to stay on top of things is to follow us on Facebook.” It was also said that local news sources, such as the Valley Journal, will provide updated information as it becomes available. More information can be found at portpolsonplayers.com.