The last time a show by the Stoughton Village Players didn’t go on, the Vietnam War was raging and the Beatles had just released their final album “Let It Be” before breaking up.
Fifty years later, the Stoughton Village Players has canceled its spring show, “The Foreigner” and this summer’s Syttende Mai performance because of the COVID-19 crisis.
Dan Prueher, SVP board member, said cancelling both shows cost the theater group about $15,000, half of its annual income.
“We are not in danger of closing,” Prueher said. “We are lucky that we have a wonderful community that buys tickets. It puts us in a little bit of a financial spot.”
To keep making improvements to the theater without funds coming in can be a challenge. The theater group has to pay for the rights to script shows, build sets and design costumes for actors. That’s why the SVP are seeking donations.
There are three ways residents can offer financial support, he said.
Annual memberships to SVP are $20. Bricks inscribed with names can be purchased and are on display in the front of the downtown theater. There are smaller 4 by 8 bricks for $100 and larger 8 by 8 bricks are $300. Golden inscribed plaques on the arms of chairs in the auditorium can be purchased for $200.
“If they are a supporter of the arts and want to help the Village Players weather this storm, we thought this was a great opportunity for people to donate locally,” Prueher said.
Before “The Foreigner” was canceled, the cast had rehearsal for about nine weeks and were five days away from the show opening on March 19.
Prueher said the cast at first considered having the show with family members in attendance and videotaping it before pulling the plug. Instead, “The Foreigner” is now scheduled to be next spring’s show in March.
The SVP are looking to improve the theater experience for residents and fans of the arts. There are ongoing maintenance issues with an older theater building that has included roof repairs.
Prueher said the SVP are trying to do more theater improvements to make the shows as pleasing to the audience as possible.
He said the theater group added two more stalls to a bathroom recently and made sure it was an Americans with Disabilities Act complaint. Three years ago, Prueher said a hearing loop was added to the auditorium to allow those with digital hearing aids a better listening experience.
The SVP also awards a $1,000 college scholarship to a high school student every year.
This summer, SVP plans to widen one bathroom to make it more accessible to wheelchairs, he said.
Once the spring show performances are complete, the SVP will have a cast within one week ready to work on Syttende Mai final stage writing.
The SVP still plans on producing “Elf: The Musical” Nov. 12-15 and Nov. 19-21.
Prueher said it’s not yet determined if the show will be required to have a limited audience.