The Milwaukee Repertory Theater is canceling all live performances of “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol” this year in response to a rise in COVID-19 cases and the city’s indoor capacity restrictions.
The Rep will instead put on a recorded production that will be distributed to audiences digitally.
Milwaukee’s current public health order – which was enacted Oct. 26 – limits indoor events to 10 people, excluding employees.
The Rep had originally planned to stage live performances of the one-actor “Christmas Carol” adaptation from Dec. 1-24 at Quadracci Powerhouse Theater, if COVID conditions allowed.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the safety of our artists, patrons and staff has been our top priority,” said The Rep executive director Chad Bauman. “To reopen safely, we needed to develop robust COVID-19 safety protocols and the virus spread in our community must be under control. We accomplished the first with a safety plan developed in consultation with leading doctors and epidemiologists, becoming one of the first theaters endorsed by all major unions to reopen for indoor performances. Unfortunately, the environment in which we operate is beyond our control and conditions are not appropriate to reopen at this time.”
The Rep is partnering with HMS Media, a multimedia company that specializes in the broadcast of live performances, to record “Christmas Carol” with multiple cameras and produce a digital recording that can be streamed.
“While it is heartbreaking that we must cancel live performances, I am excited about the opportunity to keep our artists employed during this exceptionally difficult time and give our patrons the opportunity to experience the incomparable Lee E. Ernst in this innovative take on Dickens’ classic,” said artistic director Mark Clements.
Tickets to stream the digital production will be available for $20 per household. The exact date of when streaming will become available and how to purchase tickets will be announced soon, The Rep said.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the Rep has moved its original 2020-’21 season lineup to 2021-’22. It plans to produce a full 12-play season starting September 2021.