coronavirus outbreak

Kennedy Center Cancels Most Performances Through 2020

D.C.'s large performing arts center is planning some outdoor and digital programming

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The Kennedy Center has canceled most of the performances that were scheduled for the remainder of 2020, in hopes of announcing a new slate of programs that can be carried out safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

But the Kennedy Center likely won't go completely dark: New programs are being planned, designed with safety rules in mind.

Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter says the new lineup may include outdoor and digital performances.

Any outdoor performances could take advantage of a large swath of outdoor space that just opened last fall as the REACH debuted.

Some programs will be rescheduled to 2021.

That includes two of its biggest annual events. The 43rd annual Kennedy Center Honors will be moved to March 7, 2021. The 23rd Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, usually given in October, will move its ceremony to June 20, 2021.

“Our lives as we have known them have been upended by COVID-19, but the world continues to spin forward and we need artists now more than ever to help light the way,” Rutter said in a press release.

The performing arts center stands to lose about $45.7 million in ticket sales and other revenues during the 2020-2021 season, putting jobs in jeopardy.

"The Center is looking at cost savings across the institution to protect as many staff and artistic positions as possible," the press release said.

Hundreds of its workers were already furloughed or laid off, but some artistic and administrative staff will be kept to plan for a full reopening.

A 14-week run of the hit musical "Hamilton" has already been postponed indefinitely.

Washington, D.C., remains under restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus. Entertainment venues, in general, are closed and gatherings over 50 people are prohibited.

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