It wasn’t the fat lady who rang down the curtain on the Bay Area’s vibrant theater and entertainment scene, but a puzzling and highly contagious virus that has done the unthinkable, temporarily shuttering the vast majority of entertainment venues, sporting events and even large private gatherings.
In response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered that all events that attract more than 250 people be canceled or postponed, and that even smaller gatherings be put off if they involve medically vulnerable participants including those over 60 and those with underlying health issues.
While some cities and counties have issued mandatory bans on large functions most shut-downs extend through the end of March with the notice that the quiet time might be extended.
In California and the rest of the nation, the threat of spreading the virus has shut down a number of institutions including most Broadway shows and Disneyland.
Newsom’s order, made late Wednesday night, was immediately heeded by theater productions that had so far been able to remain open.
“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” playing at The Curran in San Francisco had skirted that city’s ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people by reducing the size of its audience. On Thursday, citing Newsom’s instructions, the production announced it would suspend performances through March 31.
Cirque du Soleil’s production of “AXEL” at the SAP Center in San Jose, originally scheduled for March 24–28, has been canceled. Those who bought through Ticketmaster will automatically be refunded on the credit card used for the purchase. Others ticket holders will receive information from the original point of purchase.
BroadwaySF has canceled its productions through March 31, including the wildly popular “Hamilton,” as well as Sting’s “The Last Ship,” “Men Are From Mars — Women Are From Venus” and the first show of “The Book of Mormon.”
San Francisco’s American Conservancy Theater has canceled productions of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s “Gloria” and Lydia R. Diamond’s “Toni Stone,” effective immediately, but the group says it is planning a new take on theater by offering virtual performances, viewed in the comfort of your own home.
Patrons will be provided exclusive access to a recording of the performance through a partner, that will also allow them access to their extensive library of productions, ranging from Shakespearean classics to modern musicals and dramas. The theater still is working on the specifics, but ticket holders will receive an email with instructions sometime sometime next week.
Berkeley Repertory Theatre said Thursday is was shutting down the the political satire “(Still) in America” by famed chicano troupe Culture Clash, and that the opening of Jocelyn Bioh’s acclaimed “School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play” would be delayed from March 19 to April 5.
Citing the new state mandate, San Francisco’s SFJazz Center has canceled all concerts, educational events and NEA Jazz Master events through April 5.
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley has canceled its upcoming performances of “They Promised Her the Moon” and “Ragtime” in Palo Alto and Mountain View. The company intends to present “Ragtime” in April 2021, instead of the previously announced “Man of La Mancha.”
Magic Theatre in San Francisco is cutting short its much-praised world-premiere production of Ricardo Pérez González’s family drama “Don’t Eat the Mangos.” The final performance is March 13.
The Oakland Symphony has canceled a March 20 concert titled “Brahms/Sphinx Virtuoso” at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland.
The San Francisco Symphony has been forced by the virus threat, closures, and travel restrictions, to cancel its upcoming tour to New York and Europe, which would have marked music director Michael Tilson Thomas’ farewell tour with the orchestra.
The symphony has been scheduled to begin with performances at New York’s Carnegie Hall, March 17-18, followed by 14 performances in 10 cities across Europe, March 21 through April 7.
Another Planet Entertainment, which operates vand promotes concerts at the Greek Theatre at UC Berkeley, San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and The Independent, the Fox Theater in Oakland and Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys, as well as annual festivals including San Francisco’s Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park, has postponed or canceled all events scheduled in March.
Opera San Jose also canceled all performances of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” including its 2019-20 season finale at the California Theatre. The company has also launched the Opera San Jose Artist and Musician Relief Fund “to help the OSJ musicians, artists, and artisans who will be most affected by the sudden loss of work” caused rising concerns about limiting the spread of COVID-19.
The Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts has canceled all shows through at least March 31, scuttling scores of theater and dance performances and concerts. In Santa Rosa, the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts is closing through the end of March. Officials said they are working to reschedule as many of the shows as possible.
Museums that are closing include Oakland Museum of California, which is closing through March 27, and the Contemporary Jewish Museum, which says it will reopen “as soon as it is safe to do so.” And the science museum The Exploratorium in San Francisco is closed through the end of the month.
While entertain venues are going dark, the NBA is taking an extended time out on the season after two Utah Jazz players tested positive for the virus, prompting other professional and amateur sports teams to do the same. The NCAA March Madness college basketball tournament has been canceled. And the National Hockey League has suspended its season.
And just down the coast, the glamorous 12th annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine festival, slated for April 16 to 19, has been canceled.
Latest closures and postponements
The Heritage Theatre in Campbell has postponed a March 13 performance by LeAnn Rimes. The concert has been rescheduled for July 30.
The Bacon and Beer Classic, originally scheduled for April 4 at Earthquakes Stadium in San Jose, has been rescheduled for 3-7 p.m. July 18. Tickets purchased for the original date will be honored for the rescheduled date, but those needing refunds have until March 26 to request it by emailing [email protected] Those who already have a purchased ticket and do not request a refund, will be given 20 percent discount off a future Cannonball Productions event taking place in the Bay Area.
Travel restrictions have forced the cancellation of Russian pianist Alexander Sinchuk’s concert, presented by the Steinway Society, which had been set for March 21 at West Valley College Theater in Saratoga. There are no plans at this time for a new performance date.
Winchester Mystery House will be closed until April 1, and the popular flashlight tours set for March 13-14 have been rescheduled for May 15-16. If you had tickets, visit winchestermysteryhouse.com for more information.
Feinstein’s at the Nikko is halting programming through April. Those who had tickets will get an automatic full refund.
The Bay Area Book Fair has rescheduled from May 2-3 to May 1-2, 2121.
The Tech Interactive in San Jose will be closed March 13 through March 31. Chris DiGiorgio, interim president and CEO of The Tech, said the group thinks “it’s important to do what we can to help ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19 community transmission.” During the closure, DiGiorgio says, staff will continue to maintain exhibits including caring for the fish in the aquaponics tank.
EXIT Theatre is closing its doors through the end of March, canceling all shows for that month, including its Burlesque Extravaganza. The theater is working on rescheduling performances. Ticket holders will be notified for refunds.
The Alameda Vintage Fashion Faire is cancelled. The 10th anniversary show had been set for March 13-14 in Alameda. The fall show remains on the schedule. Tickets will be refunded.
The Los Altos History Museum is postponing a March 21 ceremony to celebrate the unveiling of the newly renovated Tank House and the opening of the museum’s new exhibition, “In the Fields of the North/En los Campos del Norte.” The museum and J. Gilbert Smith House remain open to visitors, noon to 4 p.m., Thursday through Sunday.
The City of Santa Clara has canceled all library programs, reduced hours and canceled programs with large groups at the Santa Clara Senior Center, and canceled or postponed community events including Family Movie Night and Egg-Stravaganza.
The City of Walnut Creek’s Arts and Recreation department is postponing and canceling indoor programs and events with 50 or more attendees, from March 12 through March 25. Programs for older adults at Civic Park Community Center will also be canceled, and the center will be closed to the general public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. All other Arts and Recreation programs that do not fall into these categories are continuing at this time.
NIAD Art Center in Richmond is canceling its March 14 opening reception for “Weaving Circle,” “Modern Times: Matthew Langley,” and “Selections Of NIAD Work from the Joan Finton Art Collection.” The gallery remains open, but visits are discouraged for the next two weeks. The March 26 “Thirsty Thursday” even to celebrate the closing of current exhibitions remains on the calendar at this time.
Two Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association events have been postponed. The Saratoga Wine Trail Festival and the Aptos Wine Wander, both scheduled for March 28, will be rescheduled. The Aptos event has been moved to May 30, but Saratoga has yet to confirm its new date. Two other events — Taste of Terroir: Wine Dinner Series on March 21, and Passport Celebration Day will continue as planned.
The Junior League of Oakland-East Bay has canceled its Fabulous Finds Vendor and Boutique Sale, which had been planned for March 14 in Alamo.
The City of Lafayette has canceled all meetings, programs, classes, and events, as well as any events taking place at city-owned facilities through March 31.
The California Artisan Cheese Festival has canceled its 14th annual festival, which had been scheduled for March 27-29. At this time there are no plans to reschedule this year.
Lindsay Wildlife Experience in Walnut Creek is open for visitors, but has canceled events and program until March 20, as well as “Live. Wild. Animal Exhibition: Land of the Lemurs” on March 21, and its “Conservation Icons” program with Obi Kaufman, on March 28. It also is temporarily suspending activities that tend to draw large crowds, the wildlife hospital “Behind The Scenes” and some outdoor programs. Additional cancellations are possible.
The Santa Barbara International Orchid Show, set for March 13-15, has been canceled. All pre-purchased tickets will be refunded.
Previously announced cancellations
The Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek has announced a two week moratorium, canceling or postponing all scheduled performances through March 25. All programs at the Civic Park Community Center in Walnut Creek, programs that primarily serve the older population, also are cancelled, with the exception of Meals on Wheels deliveries and the transportation program.
Golden Gate Park to cancel its April 4 celebration of the park’s sesquicentennial. Birthday events will be rescheduled, but a new date has not been announced.
A combination of COVID-19 precautions and a new state law, Assembly Bill 5, has scuttled the annual Northern California Pirate Festival, staged each year on Vallejo’s waterfront.
Oakland Museum of California is canceling all scheduled public programs, tours (school, group, and public), and large community events through March 25. That includes the museum’s 50th anniversary gala that had been planned for March 14, Friday nights at the museum, and “OMCA @ 50 Community Conversations: Food and Well-Being,” which had been set for March 21.
The museum remains open to visitors during its regular hours, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.
The 2020 Oakland Running Festival, set for March 22, has been canceled. Corrigan Sports Enterprises, which organizes the festival, is working on finding a new date for the event, which includes a full and half marathon, 5K and relay races.
Anton’s Well Theater Company is canceling the remaining run of its bill of three Samuel Beckett plays, “A Piece of Monologue,” “Embers,” and “All That Fall.” The performances were being conducted at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Albany. Ticket holders will be contacted for full refunds.
The Peninsula Women’s Chorus also is following Santa Clara County’s public health guidelines and is canceling its 10th New Music for Treble Voices Festival that had been set for March 14. The group is considering rescheduling, but has not decided yet. The Chorus is offering refunds for the value of the tickets, and plans to proceed with its spring concerts, May 3 and May 9.
The Silicon Valley Gay Men’s Chorus in San Jose has decided to cancel its April 4-5 performances, but plan to continue with its “Let’s Hear it for the Boys” concert June 19-20.
Stanford Theatre’s Akira Kurosawa Film Festival in Palo Alto has canceled the last week of the event, which was set to close on March 15.
The Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale has canceled its March 11-15 concerts in San Francisco, Berkeley and Palo Alto.
Off the Grid, a Friday night regular of about 30 food trucks at Fort Mason in San Francisco, has canceled its next two appearances, March 13 and March 20.
The Holi Celebration at Bishop Ranch in San Ramon, set for March 27, has been canceled, but the organizers, City Center Bishop Ranch owners Sunset Development Co., said they plan on bringing it back next year.
The Walt Disney Museum in San Francisco is closed but plans to reopen on March 20. A relative of an employee has tested positive for COVID-19 and the employee is being tested.
The City of Albany is cancelling all non-essential senior classes and programs at the Albany Senior Center and Albany Community Center beginning March 12 for at least two weeks. The Albany Senior Center will remain open to provide essential services including Meals-on-Wheels, the congregate meals program weekdays at 4 p.m., and weekly shopping trips to grocery stores.
The Sierra Chamber Society is canceling its Sunday, March 15, performance at the Grace Presbyterian Church in Walnut Creek.
The Union City Police Officer’s Association has canceled its 16th Annual Crab Feed, set for April 18, and Concord High School has canceled it’s crab feed that had been planned for March 14.
Please check back often for further updates.
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