The Stephen Foster Story Cast's Touching Tribute Video
On April 30th, 2020, the Stephen Foster Drama Association announced the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Summer Season of The Stephen Foster Story, Mamma Mia and the Live at the Park Concert Series due to COVID-19 concerns. While the City of Bardstown is saddened by this news, we support their decision to put the health and safety of cast, crew, and audience first and foremost.
On May 1st, they posted on Facebook this touching tribute to the history of the The Stephen Foster Story, saying:
"We will sing one song for My Old Kentucky Home!"
More than 60 cast members from the last 50 years of The Stephen Foster Story joined together from their homes to continue a treasured Kentucky Derby weekend tradition, the singing of My Old Kentucky Home. Although these times may be dreary, we know the sun will shine bright again soon! During these challenging times we ask that you take care of our most vulnerable first. Please donate to support healthcare, families in need, food banks, etc. Then, if you can, please consider supporting our effort to reopen in 2021. You can click the donate link below or visit stephenfoster.com for more options.
Full text of the press release announcing the cancellation of the 2020 Summer Season:
THE STEPHEN FOSTER STORY RESPONSE TO COVID-19 CONCERNS
The Stephen Foster Drama Association has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Summer Season of The Stephen Foster Story, Mamma Mia and the Live at the Park Concert Series. This decision was made based on the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s current guidelines and recommendations for dealing with the Covid-19 crisis. The health and safety of our guests and employees is our primary concern. If restrictions allow, we hope to be able to present concerts late summer or early fall.
“Our pride in the legacy of the Stephen Foster Drama Association and our community is the driving force behind this decision. We have considered several different scenarios to avoid the loss of our 2020 season, but none allow us to remain financially stable while adhering to the state guidelines. Right now we have to make this difficult sacrifice to protect the legacy of The Stephen Foster Story for the next generation.” said Executive Artistic Director Johnny Warren.
“This is even more difficult when you consider the amount of effort and support it has taken over the past two years following the state’s closure of the amphitheater. For the first time in 62 years, Kentucky’s Official Outdoor Musical will not be performed and that is heartbreaking. However, our highest priority has to be the safety of our local, national and international audience, our employees and our community. We hope you will join us again when we re-open in 2021.”
The Stephen Foster Story has been performed at the J. Dan Talbott Amphitheater in Bardstown for 61 years. The show celebrates music, history and our state song – My Old Kentucky Home. The Stephen Foster Drama Association also produces a live music concert series and a Broadway Musical each summer.
Those who have purchased tickets for the 2020 season will have options including rescheduling for SFS and Mamma Mia in 2021, refund of ticket price, and the option to make a tax-deductible donation of your purchase amount to the SFDA. To handle exchanges, refunds or to donate your tickets, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.stephenfoster.com/tickets.
What factors were considered in making the decision to cancel the 2020 season of The Stephen Foster Story and Mamma Mia?
We followed local, state and federal updates throughout the months of March and April. We monitored the decisions of other outdoor theaters and events, as well. The current advisement for our region includes the long-term expectation of a ban on mass gatherings through summer.
Why not delay the opening of the season so that at least a partial season could be produced?
We have considered several different scenarios including delayed opening, distance seating, reduced cast and while many options are technically possible, they neither satisfy revenue requirements for financial stability of the company nor adhere to the recommended limits of mass gatherings. If the gathering ban is lifted, it would take a minimum of 4 weeks to put the pieces into place in order to have a performance. The most compelling consideration is the notion of what would happen if a cast member or employee contracted the corona virus. At this point, it is advised that the person, and those who have been in close contact with that person (our entire cast and staff), would self-quarantine for 14 days.
What happens for ticket buyers who purchased tickets for the 2020 productions?
You have three options – full instructions available at stephenfoster.com
1.) Exchange your tickets for the 2021 season
2.) Request a refund of your ticket purchase
3.) Make a tax-deductible donation of your ticket purchase amount to The Stephen Foster Drama Association.
You may begin your request by emailing email@example.com
We ask for your patience. We will have a limited staff processing these requests but we will do our best to help you as quickly as possible.
What about Concerts and Craft Beer Festival.
While we will not be able to hold our concert series as planned, we are hopeful that we may be able to present something late summer/early fall. If we are able to hold gatherings and can produce a concert in a way that is financially responsible – considering the risk of weather and coronavirus fear – we would like to. Our plan at this point is to hold the Craft Beer Fest as scheduled on October 17 at the Farmer’s Market in Bardstown.
Will the Drama Association be able to survive a season without the summer productions and revenue?
The answer is “we hope so!” The SFDA has already received the Paycheck Protection Plan SBA Loan which will provide 8 weeks of payroll expenses for our 3 full-time staff. We have already received some donations toward sustaining the SFDA during this crisis. Continued donations and grants will be vital to our ability to maintain basic expenses and be prepared to open in 2021. Additionally, tickets will soon be available for the 2021 season and we hope our audience will plan ahead and purchase early. Tickets for 2021 Season of SFS and Mamma Mia will go on sale June 1, 2020.
What can I do to help?
You can purchase tickets for our 2021 season and you can consider making a donation. At this difficult time, please take care of our most vulnerable first. Please donate to support healthcare, families in need, food banks, etc. Then, if you can, please consider supporting our effort to reopen in 2021. You can visit stephenfoster.com for opportunities to give including the upcoming Giving-Tuesday and Kentucky Gives Day.