Catasauqua Press

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

CAST cancels 2020 production

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 by PAUL FOX Special to The Press in Local News

Theater group will instead present ‘Cinderella’ in 2021

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, organizations have been forced to cancel events and gatherings across the country and around the world. Unfortunately, Catasauqua is no exception to the rule, and Catasauqua Area Showcase Theatre has decided to postpone its production of “Cinderella” until 2021.

As the situation with the virus progressed, time- tables changed drastically and CAST’s plan quickly shifted from pushing the show back to June to postponing it at least a full year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended people avoid mass gatherings, but it is not yet clear when that recommendation will end. This has been devastating to the entire theater industry, as all productions, professional and amateur, are forced to cancel shows without a clear idea of when they can resume.

Rescheduling to later in the year is even harder for CAST for numerous reasons. They’ve temporarily lost most of their music department, which is largely made up of Moravian College students, who have now all been sent home. Senior citizens, who are especially vulnerable to the virus, also make up a significant portion of the CAST audience, so the show can only go on when it’s safe for everyone.

Director Bill Nothstein said the cast and crew were already more than halfway through preproduction when they lost the use of the school buildings last week. In terms of a full theater production, that means the actors were beginning to rehearse full acts, set pieces were being prefabricated, and costumes were getting ready for finalization. The CAST members usually rehearse at Sheckler Elementary School and perform at Catasauqua High School.

The show was scheduled to open April 24. Fortunately, all of the company’s costs up until this point were for things that can be saved for a later date, when the production is revived.

CAST will also be refunded the cost to license the rights to the production from the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, since the show was never actually performed.

All of this is heartbreaking news for the actors and volunteers, who have already put months of work into the show, but for Nothstein, the safety of everyone involved comes first.

“We wouldn’t want to put on a show where it’s not safe for people to come,” Nothstein said.

Aside from putting on a great show, CAST is also a major community fundraiser with its Family Helping Families fund. That charity works in conjunction with Mrs. Nothstein’s Helping Hands, which Nothstein says is in good shape financially.

“I’m confident that any crisis or need in the community can be covered by Mrs. Nothstein’s Helping Hands,” he said.

Those charities have amassed a long list of contributors over the years, people who have continually donated to people in need in the community. Despite the sad news of a postponed production, CAST’s efforts to give back to the community will continue through the crisis — and the show will go on in 2021.