Traverse City's Parallel 45 Theatre Festival cancels summer season

Apr 15, 2020

The show won’t go on for Traverse City’s Parallel 45 Theatre Festival. The group announced Wednesday that it canceled its upcoming summer season due to COVID-19 concerns.

Parallel 45 was set to celebrate its 10th anniversary with 27 performances from July 2 to Aug. 2. Scheduled shows included “The Sound of Music,” “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and “The Crucible.”


Canceling the 2020 Summer Theatre Festival was the hardest decision they’ve ever made, says executive director Erin Anderson Whiting.

“What Parallel 45 does is bring artists from all over the world to Traverse City, and we do very very immersive, up-close, highly physical work,” she says. “Right now, those things that make us unique are things that are in direct contrast to public health and public safety.”

Now, the theater group will pivot and create some virtual shows, and maybe even pay homage to the shows they were planning to perform.

“It won’t be like watching someone film a stage,” says Whiting. “It’s going to be innovative, more intimate and something that is created for the digital format.”

Last year, more than 3,000 people from 30 different states came to the festival.


This year, the theater company says it was on track to sell about 4,000 tickets. Whiting says they’ll lose about $200,000 in total revenue by canceling the season.

Parallel 45 Theatre Festival is offering full refunds for anyone who purchased tickets for the 2020 season. You can also donate your refund to the nonprofit theater company, which is tax-deductible.