We’re Bringing Broadway Back to Midland in the New Year As We Recover from $9 Million in Flood Damage. We Remain Resilient as We Enter our 50th Anniversary Season!
We are looking to the future – working to ensure our long-term sustainability through the COVID-19 pandemic and envisioning the time when patrons can come back to experience captivating performances on our stages.
We are thrilled to announce the return of one of our most popular series, Broadway & Beyond, which will kick off in March of 2021 with subscriptions sales beginning June 23, 2020. The Broadway & Beyond Series is a highlight of our upcoming 50th Anniversary Season and spring offers an opportunity to look to the future. Running from March – July 2021, we will start the series with the 25th Anniversary Show of Riverdance in a powerful reinvention of the original production; followed by Rodgers & Hammerstein’s timeless classic, South Pacific; a brand-new Broadway musical based on the Oscar-winning film, An Officer and a Gentleman; and closing with Sara Bareilles’s uplifting and hilarious hit, Waitress.
This lineup joins the previously announced Midland Symphony Orchestra series which is scheduled to begin with two performances in the fall, opening with Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations. The Orchestra events will be live-streamed and have alternative program and performance options as needed based on the public health situation. All of our subscribers will enjoy extra flexibility to change and cancel tickets should circumstances change.
We are committed to responding to new realities by being creative and flexible in making and participating in different types of programs. Not being able to gather is the opposite of what we do, but we are continuing to explore innovative opportunities online.
In addition to our Broadway & Beyond Series and the Midland Symphony Orchestra season already announced, we have been working on:
- Presenting Joshua Davis, Michigan native and star from The Voice, who will headline a live outdoor concert at the fairgrounds on July 18.
- Talented local actors from Center Stage Theatre are participating in a weekly Facebook Live event every Friday evening called Shakespeare and Chill in which they are performing all 36 of Shakespeare’s plays.
- The first-ever virtual Michigan Musical Theatre Intensive, which provides an opportunity for aspiring young local artists to learn from Broadway professionals, is wrapping up this week.
- MATRIX:Cinema Reel Talks launched this week and is an on-going Wednesday evening summer program offering online gathering and movie discussions led by local guest hosts.
- Our Center Stage Theatre Season is pending and individual concerts and performances are on their way to being announced soon.
Facing our Economic Challenges and Ensuring Long-Term Sustainability
We know that that the next 12-18 months are going to look very different than originally planned, but with challenge comes opportunity. Part of ensuring our success over the long term is facing current realities and adapting to them while being creative, flexible and nimble.
Our board is partnering with staff to reimagine how we conduct business, how we interact with our visitors and how we plan for the future, including assessing the flood damage and considering repairs and replacements that will be even better than what we had. It will be a long road, but the Center will come out in a good position, continuing to be a vibrant cultural destination for our region.
We were able to secure a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program which, along with careful fiscal planning, enabled us to retain full staff since closing our doors on March 20. That loan has now been fully utilized. A variety of cost-saving measures have been implemented, including careful reduction of expenses while maintaining community focused programming; pay reductions for senior leaders; the implementation of temporary part-time furloughs for several staff members; and realignment of teams to redistribute work and build additional competencies. As part of the team realignment and fundamental changes to programming, we have also eliminated nine positions at all levels of the organization, including the executive level, to streamline the organization and better position it to be effective and efficient in the future.
Flood damage assessment and repairs are still underway. We are working with an engineering team to evaluate the damage to the electrical and HVAC systems in the main building, seeking options to not just repair but upgrade both systems. Simultaneously, work to restore damaged artifacts from the history collection is on-going and repairs and potential upgrades to the historical site are in the works.
Of course, we continue to rely on the support of our donors, sponsors and the foundations who contribute approximately 30% of or budget each year. We are truly grateful to our audiences, members, subscribers and donors – thank you for your belief, trust and support. The continued value of the Center in the community, shown by your donations and purchases, is inspiring. While this is not the anniversary season we expected, we remain excited to celebrate our 50th season as we look forward to the bright future once this “intermission” is over!
We intend to remain #midlandstrong!