After almost a year of postponements, the Velma V. Morrison Center for the Performing Arts at Boise State announced the new 2021-2022 schedule for performances in February.
Some shows originally scheduled for the summer have been pushed back several months, and the Center’s first Broadway show will be “Cats” starting in October.
Kennedy Sandau is a Boise State graduate with a B.A. in international business in December 2020 and was recently hired as the Morrison Center box office assistant. Sandau said that those schedule changes were the best solution to make sure that Boise remained a stop on the Broadway tour circuit as the industry tries to safely emerge from the pandemic. Since everyone is so used to cancellations and postponements due to COVID-19, the community’s reaction has been very positive.
“I think people are a lot more optimistic that by that time, people will be able to go to shows again,” Sandau said. “I feel like people have gotten a lot more understanding than how they were in the beginning, and I feel like people kind of just expect it at this point when we reschedule things, so it’s been a lot easier on us.”
The October run of “Cats” will be followed by a December run of “Hamilton,” then “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Anastasia” and “Dear Evan Hansen” in January, February and June 2022 respectively.
This is the third time the Broadway season has been delayed, and some of the shows have changed over time as well — last year’s season wasn’t even slated to host “Anastasia” or “Dear Evan Hansen” originally.
“For one, these touring shows have to have casts, and they have to be able to practice [safely]. Then you have to give them time to prepare, so the dates just kind of fall into place from there,” Sandau said. “Plus, we have to organize the other shows that we have, so it’s a lot.”
When Morrison Center staff spoke with The Arbiter last fall, they were busy contacting season ticket holders with bad news of cancellations and making plans for classes to be held in their 2,000 seat auditorium. With the latest season updates, the Center sold 232 new season tickets in just the first two weeks after the announcement.
“We definitely had quite a few cancellations throughout the past year, but recently when we re-announced those new dates, we’ve had a lot of people call back and want to get their season tickets,” Sandau said. “I feel like that shows that people are a lot more optimistic about the new dates, and also that whole lineup of shows that I think people are really excited about.”
According to Sandau, some local partners like LED Boise, Boise Philharmonic and Ballet Idaho have been recording on the Morrison Center stage for virtual events. Though nothing is scheduled yet, Sandau said there is a possibility that the Center may be able to host events for them prior to the Broadway season, but the earliest the Center will open is September.
However, the Center is considering outdoor programs during the summer months, but have not yet announced those.
Because the first indoor show is still months away, the Morrison Center staff is still unsure what the health guidelines will be at the time.
“I always like to tell people to keep it in mind that they might have to wear a mask when we’re open again,” Sandau said.
Many community members have held season tickets at the Morrison Center for over a decade, according to Sandau. So opening the doors after over a year without shows is returning to an old tradition for many.
“Coming and being here with your family is something that a lot of people look forward to normally, and now when we haven’t seen shows in almost a year now, people are just really looking forward to it,” Sandau said. “I know I personally am.”