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Joffrey, Lyric Opera Cancel Performances For Rest Of 2020

CHICAGO (CBS) --  Two Chicago cultural institutions are cancelling the rest of their performances for this calendar year because of COVID-19.

The Joffrey Ballet and Lyric Opera announced performances scheduled for 2020 won't be held, although there are plans to try to reschedule some in 2021.

Both cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the main reason to end their seasons early.

In a statement, Lyric Opera of Chicago said there will be no performances for from September through December of this year.

"In this uncertain environment, we must put the safety of our guests, artists, and company first, respecting the policies implemented by the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois," the organization said in a news release. "Canceling our performances in the opera house through the fall is heartbreaking and we look forward to and expect to be able to welcome audiences back to Lyric in January 2021."

Lyric Merry Widow
(Credit: Lyric Opera)

According to the Lyric Opera, plans are underway to have the stage set again in January of 2021 with a production (and Chicago premier) of "Blue." People with tickets purchased for this season "will automatically have the value of those tickets transferred to their accounts." The credit can go towards future performances, be refunded or donated.

For the Joffrey Ballet, it's a similar story but the famed ballet company is putting together a crisis fund for costs associated with closing up early. That includes the anticipated annual "Nutcracker" performances choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon.

"Like all arts organizations, the Joffrey is dealing with unprecedented and unpredictable conditions," said Ashley Wheater MBE, the Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director of the Joffrey Ballet. "Based on advice from health experts and local officials, it is not feasible to present the first half of our season in a manner that guarantees the safety of our audience, artists, production crew, and staff members."

Joffrey Ballet
(Credit: Joffrey Ballet)

Among the cancelled productions include "Don Quixote" and "Manon."

The ballet company said it is putting its efforts into the Joffrey Crisis Stabilization Fund "to recoup lost funds stemming from COVID-19 and maintain basic operations for the next 12-18 months."

"The situation is a challenging one," said Joffrey Board Chair Anne L. Kaplan. "However, I am encouraged and overwhelmed by the exceptional dedication of our volunteer leadership during this difficult time. We have jump-started this fund by securing 100% participation from our board of directors. Our dedicated Women's Board has pledged to do the same. We have set a high bar for our fundraising goals in the year ahead and we have a long way to go, but I am confident with the full support of our boards along with our many other loyal and generous donors, who have seen us through challenging times before, Joffrey will emerge from this global health crisis stronger, bolder, and more resilient than ever."

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