• Olney Theatre Announces Schedule Changes, Furloughs

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    September 28, 2020


    OLNEY, MD — September 28, 2020 — Olney Theatre Center today announced a schedule that aims to resume full production in April of 2021. Because of that decision, over 50% of the full-time staff has been furloughed. The Olney Theatre administrative offices will be closed Friday through Mondays. The remotely operated Box Office hours will be open Wednesday to Saturday, 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm.

    In a statement posted to the Olney Theatre Center and elsewhere, Artistic Director, Jason Loewith issued a stinging critique of the lack of public leadership that has led to the continued complete shutdown of much of the country’s live entertainment industry. “The failure to prioritize live entertainment in government safety planning has effectively stigmatized live performance for the foreseeable future.  While federal and local governments worked so aggressively, and so quickly, to figure out how every other industry could open slowly and safely, ours was ignored. And if that doesn’t change soon, we’re going to be in deep trouble.” Read the full statement (available for re-print) here.

    Says Managing Director, Debbie Ellinghaus, “When the pandemic hit in March, we were in the middle of the best season in OTC’s 83-year-old history, and had just learned about our record-setting 27 Helen Hayes Award nominations. And, this week, we received national recognition from the New York Times for our virtual production of The Humans.  But, our stages remain dark, ticket sales are on hold, and we’ve made the painful decision to furlough more than half of our staff and reduce the hours and compensation of others*.

    In the meantime, Olney Theatre has an aggressive slate of online programs including the critically acclaimed production of The Humans which is currently streaming through October 4. Soon after, Just Arts: A Celebration of Arts and Activism, will stream on four Fridays, beginning on October 9. November will see the launch of OTC’s Signal Boost which will include weekly online concerts, a podcast, and live-streamed entertainment.

    The theatre is applying to Montgomery County to be able to produce Paul Morella’s annual solo mounting of A Christmas Carol to be performed in December to a maximum of 25% audience capacity in the 428-seat Mainstage theatre. 

    The full schedule including online initiatives is:

    Online Events

    Just Arts: A Celebration of Arts and Social Justice (live stream beginning October 9th-- please check the website for more information)
    November: Signal Boost

    The new schedule of productions announced is:

    A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas
    (limited in-person and live streaming planned)
    Nov. 24 - Dec. 27, 2020

    Hedwig and the Angry Inch
    Historic Theatre
    March 31, 2021 - May 2, 2021

    The Thanksgiving Play
    Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab
    May 5 - June 6, 2021

    Two Pianos, Four Hands 
    Historic Theatre
    May 28 - June 20, 2021

    Meredith Willson’s The Music Man 
    June 11 - July 18, 2021

    Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express 
    Historic Theatre
    July 21 - August 29, 2021

    August 27 - September 26, 2021 

    Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
    November 5, 2021 - January 2, 2022

    Dance Nation
    Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab 
    March 1 - April 2, 2022

    A rescheduled date for Pippin along with additional productions for the 2021-22 season will be announced at a later date.



    Olney Theatre Center for the Arts produces, presents, and tours extraordinary performances for a diversity of audiences, and educates and inspires the next generation of theater-makers.


    We strive every day to unleash the creative potential of our artists and audiences, and in so doing, become a nationally-prominent destination for the most impactful theater performance and education.


    Once a summer stock retreat in rural Maryland, Olney Theatre Center is now an award-winning, year-round regional theatre surrounded in a 15-mile radius by 1.6 million people representing three of the most ethnically diverse counties in America. Since our founding in 1938, some of the biggest names in theatre have appeared on our stages: from "Golden Era" stars like Helen Hayes and Tallulah Bankhead to contemporary artists like Sir Ian McKellen, Robin De Jesús, and many others. OTC welcomed Artistic Director Jason Loewith and Managing Director Debbie Ellinghaus in 2013 and 2014, respectively, who established a new artistic strategy to broaden programming with the goal of nurturing a diversity of voices and audiences. Olney Theatre Center now produces musicals and plays under the three rubrics of Classic, Contemporary, and Family programming. Since 2013 Olney Theatre Center has twice won the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Musical Production, the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play, and presented six world premieres. Complementing this work, OTC fulfills its mission as a teaching theater with educational programs like the Our Play program in local 5th-grade classrooms, a summer camp, and a year-round professional apprentice program. National Players, now in its 70th Season, is the hallmark outreach program of OTC, a unique ensemble touring innovative theater to communities large and small across the United States.

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