‘MATILDA THE MUSICAL’ CANCELED
“Matlida the Musical,” which was first on deck to be presented for the 2020 Schmeckfest and then again in 2021, has now been canceled altogether, largely because of ongoing concerns about COVID-19.
The musical was going to be part of Schmeckfest 2022, which is scheduled for March 18-19 and 25-26.
Schmeckfest officials, meanwhile, are still deciding what to do about the rest of the traditional “festival of tasting,” which includes a full course meal, demonstrations and other programming.
“Matilda” director Will Ortman confirmed on Wednesday, Jan. 5 that plans to salvage the original cast and the work that had been put into the musical — which had been the plan since the start of the coronavirus pandemic almost two years ago — have been nixed entirely.
“I don’t see a scenario where this show happens,” Ortman told The Courier. “It could be done in the future with an entirely different cast, but this cast is not going to do this show.”
Ortman said the decision, which was reached Tuesday night by him and others in Schmeckfest leadership, came largely because of an uptick in COVID-19 cases and difficulty filling the cast.
“All of the reasons come back to Covid, but it’s also a casting issue,” said Ortman, who noted that a number of actors who had been cast for the 2020 production have since bowed out. “It’s hard to reboot a show without the original cast being intact, and I had more people decline than I was hoping for.
“I think Covid makes people reluctant to do it,” he continued. “It’s not a safe activity.”
Meanwhile, given a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, the Omicron variant and the grim projections for the rest of January, Schmeckfest officials are taking a closer look at what that might mean for the rest of the 2022 festival.
Schmeckfest officials said this in a statement made available to The Courier:
“Freeman Academy and the Schmeckfest Auxiliary Executive Board will continue to look at what this means for other Schmeckfest activities, including the meal and food sales. All of this depends on the Covid situation. Our highest priority will be the health of our volunteers and community members. We are discussing several options; decisions will be made within the next several weeks.
“Work will begin soon to refund the Matilda show tickets and/or meal tickets that have already been purchased.”
Updates will be available on FreemanAcademy.org, Schmeckfest.com and official Facebook pages for Freeman Academy and Schmeckfest, as more information follows in the coming days and weeks.