WAITE PARK -- There hasn't been much for live and local entertainment since the coronavirus pandemic has swept through our community.

Movie theaters, music venues and performance stages have been empty since the  stay-at-home order.

Dennis Whipple is the Executive Director of GREAT Theatre. He says they were in the middle of rehearsals for their performance of Mamma Mia when the virus ended their season.

The show was suppose to start in April, and we've moved it to September. The show already had a cast and was in rehearsals. We are hoping to get them back into the rehearsal hall and when able present something really awesome.

Mamma Mia will replace Guys & Dolls, which was set to open the 2020-2021 production schedule.

Whipple says given the unpredictability surrounding COVID-19, they also made the tough decision to cancel their summer theatre camps.

He says just like other local organization, the cancellation of the season, the theatre camps and lost ticket revenue has taken its toll financially.

Not holding our remaining shows and camps, the lost revenues to GREAT is over $600,000 and that's a large part of our budget.

With the help of the community, GREAT was able to recover some of their lost income thanks to a 24-hour dollar for dollar match that raise nearly $20,000.

Whipple says are moving forward with next season as schedule and in the meantime, are continuing to find new and creative ways to keep the flame of the theater alive such as sewing masks to developing virtual theatre classes.

For a list of next season production schedule, or to purchase tickets visit GreatTheatre.org.

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