The Board of Directors of the South Arkansas Arts Center announced today their decision to postpone the summer 2020 production of “Mamma Mia!” in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The show will now serve as the finale of the 2020-2021 season, and will open in July 2021. While this decision is incredibly disappointing for our community, it is necessary to protect the safety of our all-volunteer cast and crew, as well as our audience.
“The Board of Directors and the Theatre Steering Committee agree that we must put the well-being of our community first,” said SAAC board president Sheila Talley. “Given the current situation, postponing the production is the best course to pursue. We look forward to seeing ‘Mamma Mia’ onstage in 2021.”
Community theatre productions are time-consuming processes with many moving parts. From auditions through performances, a committed group of volunteers spends the summer singing, dancing, and enjoying their experience together. After consulting with our volunteers, local health officials, and our patrons, we believe that experience would not be possible in the current climate.
“At SAAC, our performers have been looking forward to this production for a long time, and they want to be able to truly do it justice,” said executive director Laura Allen. “‘Mamma Mia!’ deserves a summer full of parties and singalongs, and making the decision to postpone preserves that experience for both the audience and the cast.”
SAAC expects to resume productions in the fall, with the launch of their 2020-2021 Theatrical Season. The season will begin with an all-star revival of the beloved musical “Nunsense,” opening October 30 and sponsored by our longtime summer musical partner, Murphy USA. This musical comedy will be staged by four returning veterans of the show, along with two surprise new additions to the cast.
“This production is the perfect way to re-launch the community theatre experience,” said Allen. “With a small, experienced cast they can begin rehearsing remotely, and we can welcome back audiences in grand style.”
“Nunsense” will be followed by the production of “Clue” in March 2021. This straight play is based upon the film and board game of the same name, and promises a whodunit with plenty of glamor and laughs. Finally, “Mamma Mia!” will close the season in July 2021, with director D. Brent Miller and choreographer Hannah Jade Marsh leading the production.
“For me, looking forward to the 2021 summer, culminating in the best production of ‘Mamma Mia!’ that Arkansas has ever seen, is the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Miller. “The ‘Super Trouper’ lights are finally going to find us!”