No Musical This Summer

No Musical This Summer

Arkansas Public Theatre cancels ‘Pippin’


Ed McClure called the sadness in the decision “unimaginable.” But McClure, the artistic director for Arkansas Public Theatre in Rogers, announced May 22 the company will cancel its summer musical for the first time in the 34 years of its history.

“APT has distinguished itself for its first class, impressive musicals that have delighted and thrilled our community,” McClure says. “As one might imagine, this decision did not come easily for any of us at APT, especially knowing the large number of performers who had their hearts set on being in this stunning production.”

“Pippin” was the show scheduled for the late July-early August time slot, the final show of Season 34.

“Seating and protecting the audience would have been manageable,” McClure explains. “The governor’s guidelines requiring performers being 12 feet away from the audience would have presented a challenge with the orchestra in the front of the stage. But the big issue was having a large cast in modest size dressing rooms and backstage area. It really came down to this: We could protect the audience but could not protect the performers.”

“Pippin” will be replaced by the Steve Martin comedy “Meteor Shower,” which was the next show up when the coronavirus hit Arkansas.

“It was ready to open when the pandemic hit — the set is still on the stage, costumes still hung in the dressing room, lights aimed and focused,” says McClure, who is directing the comedy. “We are ready to go. We have been having some Zoom pick-up rehearsals and have now moved the performance dates back for the third time!”

McClure says the “lost shows” — “Buyer & Cellar,” “The Clean House” and now “Pippin” — might make a comeback somewhere down the road. “Buyer & Cellar,” the story of a struggling actor in L.A. who takes a job working in the Malibu basement of a beloved megastar, Barbra Streisand, was slated for May 1-3 and 7-9. “The Clean House,” which takes place in what playwright Sarah Ruhl describes as “metaphysical Connecticut,” considers what happens when Lane’s husband Charles reveals that he has found his soul mate in a cancer patient named Anna. It was scheduled for June 12-14 and 18-20.

Corky (Stephanie Whitcomb, left) and Norm (Scott Kammerzell, right) aren’t sure what to make of the unusual guests who have dropped in for a cosmic evening of star gazing. Joseph Farmer plays Gerald, and Amy Eversole is Laura (center) in the Arkansas Public Theatre production of Steve Martin’s “Meteor Shower,” which has been rescheduled for the time slot normally filled by the summer musical.
(Courtesy Photo/APT)

“Everything is on the table right now. Schedules and availability are the issues,” McClure says.

“We have constantly and steadfastly monitored what our federal, state and local officials and medical leaders advise us to do for our safety and the safety of our dear volunteers and patrons,” McClure says. The Zephyr Blevins Gallery, also closed during the pandemic, will reopen with “Meteor Shower,” but McClure doubts there will be a gala.

“We are probably a bit far from a big-time celebration,” he says. “We will be happy to just slowly ease back into having our patrons and volunteers back together — in some safe form and fashion! We will follow CDC and Gov. Hutchison’s guidelines. I know the place will be sanitized before and after each performance. Masks may be required, and hand sanitizer will be available. We will socially distance the audience as the governor’s guidelines suggest.”

In the meantime, APT’s first radio comedy “Mastergate,” is available on YouTube, and “we have more content which is currently being produced and will be announced soon,” McClure says.

Of course, donations would be nice, too, while tickets are not being sold. Concerned fans should, McClure says, “visit our website ( and hit the DONATE button. Early and often!”



‘Meteor Shower’

WHEN — 8 p.m. July 24-25; 2 p.m. July 26; again July 30-Aug. 2 & Aug. 6-9

WHERE — Arkansas Public Theatre in Rogers


Categories: Theater