Theater, ballet, orchestra and more adjust to a pandemic beyond expectations

This article originally appeared in the Duluth News Tribune on September 9, 2020 and was written by Christa Lawler. Photo taken by The Duluth Playhouse.

At the NorShor Theatre, the stage is still set for Spamalot — the Monty Python musical that closed before it ever opened in mid-March.

Duluth Playhouse executive director Christine Seitz intended for the theater company to eventually pick up where it left off earlier this year, when performances around the country were canceled to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“Even though I stood in front of the entire cast and said, ‘You will be the first show on the stage,’ I don’t anticipate Spamalot will be the first,” she said.

Among the problems: The cast and crew is large, and there is a lot of singing.

At a time when most performing arts organizations would be polishing season-opening shows, stages are still dark. Some executive directors, working with a smaller-than-normal staff, are applying for grants and doing the math on audience seating. They’re surveying patrons, looking at calendars, considering scrubbing musicals for one-man shows. They are looking at guidelines set by the state and health organizations to see what they can do.

“It’s a scary time to be an arts organization,” said Kelli Latuska, executive director of the Minnesota Ballet, which hasn’t yet brought its professional dancers back to work. “We don’t know when we’ll get back to things that would usually bring in revenue for us.”



How You Can Help

There are a number of ways you can help support The Duluth Playhouse, and other local arts organizations, during these trying times. Any donation is greatly appreciated!

  • Donate now. Any and all gifts are appreciated. Every little bit helps!
  • Donate by mail. Download this form and mail it in. We’ll send you a tax-donation letter as soon as possible.
  • Pick a seat at the NorShor or Family Theatre. Play a visible part in contributing to the theater of your choice. Do it as an individual, a family, a business, or to mark a special occasion. The options are endless!
  • Shop on AmazonSmile. You’re probably already shopping on Amazon, right? Make your shopping go a little bit further and do some good by shopping through Select The Duluth Playhouse as your charity of choice, and shop like usual. A small percentage of your final $ total will be donated back to us via the Amazon Foundation. Pretty cool, right?
  • Gift cards. Purchase a gift card to any one of our three performance venues, and use it towards a show that will certainly take the stage in the future.

Want to contribute in a different way? Please contact Christine Seitz, Executive Director, at or 218.733.7551.