Center for Performing Arts suspends programming


The timing seemed right to Center for the Performing Arts President/CEO Jeffrey McDermott,

McDermott announced April 24 that the Carmel center will be closed for programming through June 30. That includes three venues: The Tarkington, the Palladium and the Studio Theater. Initially, the venues were closed until May 11 due to gathering restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the events affected are Jr. Civic’s production of “Frozen Jr.,” set for June 19-24.

“We have to think about everything from the community in general to own staff members, our patrons and resident companies,” McDermott said. “We saw there is not going to be a feasible way to reopen and have any kind of programming between now and then.”

McDermott said Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s stay-at-home extensions tend to be between one- and three-week increments.

“For performing arts, that’s difficult because you have to deal with rehearsals and travel and things like that, so you have to take a bit of a longer view,” McDermott said. “We felt we had to add some certainty to things beyond what the executive orders were able to provide.”

McDermott said the situation has made completing the 2020-21 season difficult.

“It’s a fluid situation unlike any of us has to deal with before,” he said. “We had a lot of the season scheduled, but we didn’t have it ready to go and ready to announce yet. Normally, we’d be announcing the entire season in the mid-May time frame. We are still taking a wait-and-see approach. There are too many moving pieces and too many unknowns.”

McDermott said the Great American Songbook Foundation will hold its annual Songbook Academy featuring approximately 40 high school students. However, it is possible the July 11-18 event will be held as a virtual program rather than at the Palladium.

“We are coming up with three or four different scenarios, but I can say with a lot of confidence it’s going to be great program this summer, one way or another,” McDermott said.