Starlight Theatre will remain empty this year, promises 2021 lineup

Picture of Starlight Theatre sign

KANSAS CITY, MO – MARCH 19: Kansas City’s Starlight theater is closed due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 19, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. Confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus have reached nearly 10,000 in the United States with a reported 150 deaths having been recorded. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Starlight Theatre has postponed all shows in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, remaining empty for the first time in history.

The announcement comes right after Starlight cancelled its attempted production of “Godspell.”

Professional touring companies slated for the venue decided to postpone all shows until 2021 earlier this year, according to a statement from the theater. The venue’s staff tried to put on their own show, which they scheduled for mid-August, but decided to cancel after they “could not find a financially responsible way of staging the show – especially with the added expense of COVID-19 precautionary measures.”

“Starlight has been a part of the Kansas City landscape for nearly 70 years, and we hope to return next summer with a fantastic—and packed—season under the stars,” Rich Baker, Starlight President & CEO, said in the statement.

As Missouri moved forward with reopening in early May, Gov. Mike Parson allowed large, outdoor venues to host events. However, Kansas City officials said the city was not yet ready for those types of events.

However, Mayor Lucas announced later in May that businesses could open at 50 percent capacity. He also said coronavirus restrictions would likely phase out on July 5.

Without shows this summer, Starlight estimates a loss of more than $4 million.

Venue leadership states that ticket holders have been notified of the cancellations and may turn their purchases into donations or request refunds.

Starlight Theatre opened in 1950, according to the statement. One of the most well-known theaters in the area, the venue won the Venue Excellence Award from the International Association of Venue Managers in 2013.

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