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The Rev cancels Merry-Go-Round shows, plans online events due to COVID-19
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The Rev cancels Merry-Go-Round shows, plans online events due to COVID-19

Merry-Go-Round Playhouse

The Merry-Go-Round Playhouse in Owasco.

The Rev Theatre Co. in Auburn has announced its plans to adjust its 2020 season around the coronavirus pandemic.

In video posted Friday afternoon, the company's artistic producing director, Brett Smock, said that the first two shows of the season will be canceled. "Rocky: The Musical" was scheduled to run June 10 through July 1 at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse in Owasco, followed by "Witness Uganda" from July 8 through July 29.

The Pitch, the company's series of developing musicals staged at the Cayuga Museum Carriage House Theater, is canceled for 2020 as well. Smock said the creative teams that were set to come to Auburn to present their musicals this summer will instead come next summer.

The third show of The Rev's season, "Rodgers and Hammerstein's State Fair," is too big to produce under the circumstances, Smock continued, but "hopefully we can bring it to you live and in person in the very near future." The status of the fourth show, "Dixie's Tupperware Party," still has yet to be determined.

In place of those in-person experiences, Smock said the company will present a new virtual event, "The Rev Concert: A Celebration of Art and Community." It will feature some audience favorites from past seasons at the playhouse, behind-the-scenes looks at how shows are built there and the company's children's program, and an update on developing musicals the company has recently presented, including "Anne of Green Gables," "Loch Ness" and "From Here to Eternity." The event will end with an announcement of the company's 2021 season, which Smock said "hopefully you'll help us pick."

During the event, the company will also take the opportunity to feature Auburn-area businesses affected by the pandemic, Smock said.

"This is the year to celebrate what it means to be Auburn strong," he said.

The last show of The Rev's season, "Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story," will also be presented in alternative fashion. Smock said the show's cast will rehearse and perform the show at the playhouse, and it'll be taped and presented in a way that makes audiences feel "like you're right here in the playhouse with us." Both the concert and "Buddy" will be available on computer, smartphone and TV, Smock said, and possibly at the Finger Lakes Drive-In.

"This season we have to be creative to make sure that we keep theater a part of your summer," Smock said. "Now more than ever, we need theater."

The company has already been hit hard by the pandemic: Smock said at a recent city Community Development Block Grant hearing that the company has lost more than $1.8 million. But the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse has not gone dark once in its 62 years, Smock said, and so it won't this summer, either. To that end, The Rev has adopted a comprehensive plan of workplace guidelines based on regulations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Smock also said ticket holders will be contacted about the season beginning Tuesday.

For more information, visit

Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.

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I edit The Citizen's features section, Lake Life, and weekly entertainment guide, Go. I've also been writing for The Citizen and since 2006, covering arts and culture, business, food and drink, and more.

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