One of the mantras of the theater business is “the show must go on.” But after abruptly cancelling Tuesday evening’s Shakespeare in the Park performance of “Twelfth Night,” Kentucky Shakespeare announced today that the remainder of the run is off. Producing artistic director Brantley Dunaway also directed the production.
According to a release, an unnamed cast member resigned for personal reasons, and, due to budget restrictions, the production had no understudies to step in:
“The production of Shakespeare in the Park’s Twelfth Night presented by Kentucky Shakespeare has been cancelled for the remaining duration of its run due to personal issues concerning one of our actors. Since Shakespeare in the Park productions are free to patrons, Understudies are not hired so no actor is available to fill the vacated role.”
Details on the decision are scarce. Director of marketing and operations Robert Silverthorn says the organization won’t comment on the personnel matter, but given the absence of understudies, he says the cancellation was unavoidable.
The organization emerged from last summer’s financial struggles with funding secured to produce the summer season, thanks to sizable contributions from philanthropists Christy Brown and James and Marianne Welch. Festival leadership had stated that they would not proceed with this summer’s season unless fully funded in advance. The organization reached its $300,000 fundraising goal this spring.
Silverthorn says budget decisions are made by Brantley, who was not available for comment. Nor were budget specifics immediately available for the production, which included professional musicians, a lavish set with a working waterfall and chimneys, and a largely non-local cast, who were notified by email Tuesday evening that the performance was off.
The production of Twelfth Night was scheduled to run through Sunday in the C. Douglas Ramey Amphitheatre in Central Park. The high school intern production of “The Taming of the Shrew” (July 18-21) will go on as scheduled.
While Shakespeare in the Park productions are free, the first six rows are designated VIP seating, and ticket packages start at $25. The organization says customers seeking refunds for their VIP packages can contact Kentucky Shakespeare Festival at (502) 574-9900.
Update 2:45 p.m. Thursday: Kentucky Shakespeare Board Member on Twelfth Night: “Something We Didn’t Feel We Could Overcome”
Update 4:30 p.m. Thursday: Kentucky Shakespeare Cancellation Followed Actress’ Accusations of Domestic Abuse Against Director