The Theater Barn Suspends Operations Mid-Season
The Theater Barn, a family-owned summer theater in New Lebanon, New York has announced that it will suspend operations mid-season following the closing performance of the current production of “Fiddlers Three” by Agatha Christie on Sunday, 7/3.
Allen Phelps, son of Abe & Joan Phelps who founded the theater in 1984 cited a lack of audiences, “attendance has not returned to pre=pandemic levels.” They had only a third of the usual amount of subscribers to start their 38th season and the opening night of the Christie which had been a solidly reliable ticket-selling playwright for the company for decades had only a couple of dozen audience members. “It’s just not worth doing if it’s only 20 people.”
With very little in reserve and audiences not returning, the difficult decision was made to halt production before the three musicals, “Murder Ballad,” “Forever Plaid,” and “Little Shop of Horrors” headed for the stage this summer. There was also a production of the one-woman play “Shirley Valentine” planned for September featuring Kathleen Carey who won a Berkshire Theatre Critics Association Award for Best Actress last year for her performance in Theater Barn’s “Good People.”
Along with the perennial Agatha Christie, Theater Barn was known for 38 seasons for choosing idiosyncratic comedies and thrillers, and small-scale musicals that filled a unique need in the Berkshire summer theater schedule. Playwrights like Charles Busch, Rebecca Gilman, and David Lindsay-Abaire could be found in their season and offbeat musicals like “Guttenberg” and “The Andrews Brothers.”
“We’ll be back in some form,” vowed Phelps “collaborating with the community but this won’t be the last show on this stage.”
“Fiddler’s Three” has two shows Saturday 6/25 and a matinee Sunday 6/26 and runs next Wednesday thru Sunday 6/29-7/3. Tickets are available www.thetheaterbarn.org or 518-794-8989.