SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — For the first time in nearly 70 years, Sacramento’s Music Circus will go dark for its entire summer season due to health and logistics concerns.
The Broadway at Music Circus has been a summer staple for Sacramento and the region since 1951. It brought Broadway entertainment and talent to what was then a cultural backwater underneath a big top tent, thus its name. It’s current home, the Wells Fargo Pavillion in midtown has 2,200 seats in an intimate theater in the round setting.
The postponement of its six-show season until 2021 was not an easy decision, but one that made long term sense during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You don’t want to endanger the audience,” Broadway Sacramento CEO Richard Lewis said. “You want everyone to be hale and hearty so that when we reopen they’ll feel safe in joining us.”
The first show, “Kinky Boots,” wasn’t scheduled to open until June but getting actors and crew in for rehearsals with no hotel rooms or airline flights available proved nearly impossible, and there is no timetable for lifting the statewide stay-at-home order.
The cancellation of the Music Circus summer season has ramifications far beyond the musical theater loving audience in Sacramento.
“Musicians, the stagehands, the cast, the crew, all of the operations support team. The payroll runs around three to 400 paychecks on a weekly basis,” Lewis said.
The season was scheduled to run through August. Even if the stay-at-home order is lifted in June, restaurants and bars won’t be serving the Music Circus audience, performers and crew at a time when they need to make up for lost business.
That’s not to mention lodging in hotels and apartments.
”We usually book around 2,500 room nights just for the talent we bring in from out of town,” Lewis said.
Broadway Sacramento also had to cancel its musical series held at the Memorial Auditorium while the convention theater is being remodeled, except for a show in September.
“‘Escape from Margaritaville,’” Lewis said. “By September I imagine people will be ready for an escape to Margaritaville.”
Lewis says the loss of the season is painful but necessary.
“We have to do what’s right for the public and our employees,” he told FOX40.
The public box office is closed, but Broadway Sacramento says season ticket holders or group ticket holders can go to its website to make adjustments for the 2021 season.