COVID-19 VIRUS RESPONSE UPDATE – May 12, 2020
Dear Patrons, Friends and Supporters,
As you well know, in mid-March, CDC limited gatherings to 10 or less due to COVID-19. Arizona Governor Ducey then issued a “stay-at-home” order thru April 30th. Fountain Hills Theater responded by announcing a temporary shut-down with plans to re-open in May. Productions scheduled during that window of time were postponed, or cancelled. The stay at home order is now in effect until at least May 15th. Out of concern for the safety of our patrons and staff, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the rest of our 2019-20 season. We will reopen our doors and return to our indoor stages when it is safe for everyone to gather again, and share our joint love for live theater. We promise you that we WILL rise again, and will continue to bring you the top quality entertainment you have come to expect from us!
Newly cancelled productions include Million Dollar Quartet on the Mainstage, and Les Miserables School Edition in the Youth Theater; as well as the special event concert featuring T.A. Burrows, and our much anticipated fundraiser concert, Alex Gonzalez: Vegas Revisited. The economic crisis has touched us all both personally and financially. Without continued ticket sales, Fountain Hills Theater has had to rely solely on donations and our limited reserves to fund operations. As a result, FHT finds itself in the unfortunate position of being unable to refund tickets to the cancelled performances. However, we will be offering ticket credit for the full value of all unused tickets and season passes. Patrons will receive a letter in the mail within the next week detailing their full credit amount. Our staff continues to work reduced hours, and the box office remains closed for walk-in purchases (online and phone purchases are available now). Questions will be addressed by phone at 480.837.9661 x3, or click here to email us.
While dark on-site, Fountain Hills Theater continues to provide high-quality virtual entertainment through our highly successful Broadway Quarantine Cabaret, which airs live every Friday and Saturday on our YouTube channel and through Facebook Live. The reaction and positive support for our online show has been overwhelming. We’ve already produced 14 episodes, and are nearing 10,000 views! This social interaction has far exceeded our expectations. We originally imagined this to be a few weeks of fun and creativity—we are thrilled that you have responded so positively with your feedback, comments, and generous donations. Thank you wholeheartedly for your moral and financial support during this critical time. For more information on our virtual programming, read here.
On a positive note, we are very excited to announce two “firsts;” our first post-shutdown production; and what is arguably possibly the very first live “Drive-In” Broadway revue…ever! Meant to be enjoyed by the whole family, Broadway Drive-in Theatre was conceived by the FHT Staff as a way to ensure “the show must go on,” even in times of challenge. After our two month closure, it is only natural that our patrons and actors are craving social interaction, yet will hesitate to participate in social gatherings as our state reopens. Broadway Drive-in Theatre is our exciting contribution to begin easing back with a one-of-a-kind experience for both performers and audience. Reminiscent of drive-in movie theatres of the past but with an important twist, Broadway Drive-in Theatre attendees will enjoy the live production from the comfort of their vehicles. Some of the Valley’s best performers will entertain on the specially-constructed outdoor stage, generously provided by our sponsor, Kern Entertainment. The sound for the production will be broadcast on an FM closed-circuit radio signal through your vehicle’s sound system! There are only 3 scheduled performances at this time, May 28, 29 and 30. The lot opens at 7:30pm and the show begins at 8pm nightly. There is a limit of 30 vehicles each evening, and tickets are just $30 per vehicle! Please remember, in keeping with social distancing protocols, tickets are available only by advance purchase online at fhtaz.org or by phone (480.837.9661 x3). This will be a contactless and safe experience, and our performers will be practicing social distancing as well. We sure hope you’ll come down and join us for this special weekend of shows!
As we ease back into life, we are happy to announce that we plan to start our Summer Camp program as originally scheduled, on May 26, 2020. We have instituted strict social-distancing methods into the way we run our camps, and our campers will never be in a group of more than 10 at any given time. We will conduct daily temperature checks, and consistently keep all areas disinfected while protecting our attendees and staff. Camp shows this summer include Frozen, Willy Wonka, and Wicked/OZ. Themed camps include Tick-Tock, Audition Prep, Improv, and Theater Tech! For more information on camps, read here.
We look forward to the time when we will re-open our doors, turn on the lights, step back on to the stage, and see your smiling faces. Thank you for being there beside us, always, and during these most challenging of times. We truly thank you for continuing to support us. Please take care of yourselves and your families, and continue to follow CDC safety guidelines. We are all in this together!
Michael Wallot, Executive Director
The Fountain Hills Theater Board of Directors and the Staff of Fountain Hills Theater, Inc.