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May. 21, 2022 | Saturday
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Pandemic forces Shaw to cancel musical 'Gypsy' for 2021
Shaw is planning a serioes of outdoor shows in light of the cancellation of Gypsy. (Supplied)

The Shaw Festival has cancelled its major 2021 production of "Gypsy: A Musical Fable."

Continued lockdown restrictions in Niagara Region "have made it clear" that the company is unable to present the musical this year, Shaw said in a news release.

The musical is now expected to be showcased in 2023.

"To collaborate on 'Gypsy' — one of the greatest musicals of all time — with this particular group of artists has been an immense joy," said musical director Paul Sportelli.

The restrictive measures on the rehearsal and performance of brass and wind instruments, and on singing "severely impact" the artistic vision for the musical, the festival said in a message to subscribers.

"I feel a deep sadness that we can't bring our fully realized production into the world in 2021, but the restrictions on our musicians and singing actors simply make it impossible to achieve what we intended to do with this show," Sportelli said.

Artistic director Tim Carroll said though the company has become used to "being nimble" and adapting to the pandemic, the decision to cancel the show is "heart rending."

"But as one door closes, another opens. We were already planning a fabulous range of outdoor events, musical theatre, you name it. Having this group of amazing performers available for that work increases our scope hugely."

Details about the "mysterious projects" will be announced "in the coming weeks," he said.

The remaining playbilll, which is currently not affected by changes to performance protocols, will continue to move forward in a reduced capacity, Shaw said in the release.

Scheduled shows for 2021 include "The Devil's Disciple," "Sherlock Holmes and the Raven's Curse," "Charley's Aunt," "Flush," "Desire Under the Elms," "Trouble in Mind," "A Christmas Carol" and "Holiday Inn."

Tim Jennings, executive director of festival, said the company remains confident the remaining shows will move forward in 2021.

"Our theatres are at the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake and we are deeply aware of the Shaw's economic impact on our surrounding communities," he said.

"With this in mind, supplementing the playbill with additional performance offerings will allow us to support the artists and the crew of the musical 'Gypsy' — and by extension our comunity — while offering our audiences safe, entertaining and inspired outdoor alternatives."

He said while Shaw did consider staging the show later in 2021, the shift in schedule of one show impacts many other moving pieces of the festival.

"We simply could not find a way to make that shift happen without detrimentally impacting everything else," Jennings said.

The show is also not scheduled for next year, as the theatre company has already secured rights to other performances in 2022.