CORONAVIRUS

Old Creamery Theatre in Amana cuts staff, cancels season

Carrie SaLoutos (from left), Kristen Behrendt DeGrazia and Nikki Savitt get down with disco, channeling an ABBA hit para
Carrie SaLoutos (from left), Kristen Behrendt DeGrazia and Nikki Savitt get down with disco, channeling an ABBA hit parade in the Old Creamery Theatre’s production of “Mamma Mia!” The show ran last year at the Old Creamery Theatre in Amana. The theater suspended the rest of its 2020 offerings because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Old Creamery Theatre)

The Old Creamery Theatre in Amana has suspended the rest of its 2020 offerings, including outdoor shows, tours and summer camps, and sent termination letters to 10 staff Thursday evening.

General Manager Pat Wagner will handle day-to-day operations during the closure.

The decision to close was driven by financial losses from the COVID-19 pandemic, Peter Teahen, board of trustees president, told The Gazette in a phone interview.

In an email statement announcing the decision, he said: “The health and safety of our audience, cast, crew and staff members are our highest priority. In addition, with the loss of ticket sales, and our inability to ensure our main stage performances and tours, we need to be fiscally responsible in order to preserve the theater and our future plans to celebrate the 50-year anniversary in 2021.”

The theater will contact people who have paid for the canceled programming and issue refunds, Teahen said.

“We’ve known for months this was probably going to happen, and we kept delaying it because we just didn’t want to have to do this,” added Debra Brooks, the board’s vice president. “Over 80 percent of our income is ticket sales, and we have (none).” she said, noting that production costs for the professional troupe’s summer programming have outweighed its income.

Comments: (319) 368-8508; diana.nollen@thegazette.com

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