Musical tribute to Judy & Liza canceled

  • "Judy & Liza -- Once in a Lifetime: The London Palladium Concert -- A Tribute" starring Nancy Hays, right, as Judy Garland and Downers Grove native Alexa Castelvecchi as Liza Minnelli, the first show to re-open since  COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were imposed last spring, closed after three performances.

    "Judy & Liza -- Once in a Lifetime: The London Palladium Concert -- A Tribute" starring Nancy Hays, right, as Judy Garland and Downers Grove native Alexa Castelvecchi as Liza Minnelli, the first show to re-open since COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were imposed last spring, closed after three performances. Courtesy of Ben Kurstin

 
 
Updated 7/27/2020 6:20 PM

The resumption of live theater in Chicago in the form of a Judy Garland/Liza Minnelli revue was short-lived.

"Judy & Liza -- Once in a Lifetime: The London Palladium Concert -- A Tribute," whose run earlier this spring was curtailed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, returned to the Greenhouse Theater Center Friday for what was to have been a three-week engagement. The production -- starring Nancy Hays as Judy and Downers Grove native Alexa Castelvecchi as Liza -- closed Sunday after three performances.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

In a social media post, Hays cited criticism from the theater community and sparse attendance as reasons for the abrupt closure.

"We sincerely thought that our attempt to create a safe production with a two-person cast and a widely spaced, mask-wearing audience would be met with interest by the theater community … But our well-meaning experiment received vocal condemnation, which we heard and are responding to," Hays wrote.

The show, which was recorded, played to audiences of fewer than 20 people in a space that seats 200, according to Hays. It had been restaged according to state and city guidelines on physical distancing, audience capacity and facial coverings and adhered to other precautions.

Those involved in the production did not intend to endanger or distress anyone, Hays wrote in apology.

"We greatly appreciate those friends who expressed true concern and encouragement, reminding us that even during these stressful times, we can be kind to each other," she wrote.

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