Asolo Rep cancels second and final ‘Hair’ preview after positive COVID test

Jay Handelman
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Asolo Repertory Theatre performs in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts.

A positive COVID-19 test for one of the company members of “Hair” has forced Asolo Repertory Theatre to cancel the two preview performances before the scheduled opening of the new season on Saturday night.

The theater sent a notice to ticket-holders on Thursday that the evening performance was canceled because one company member tested positive. Ticket holders for the final preview planned for Friday night were also notified during the day that the performance would have to be canceled.

The two cancellations eliminated all previews before the scheduled opening night. The theater had earlier canceled the Wednesday preview to allow more time for technical elements and getting the performers and design elements ready on stage.

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A spokesperson for Asolo Rep said after a positive test, safety protocols require that all company members be tested, and it would not be possible to get all the results in time for Friday’s preview. The protocols, part of an agreement with Actors’ Equity Association, require regular company testing at the theater as well as daily home screenings. All company members, staff and volunteers are vaccinated at Asolo Rep.

The theater is hopeful the company will be cleared to perform for the opening night to the 2021-22 season.

The theater is among more than 30 local arts groups following the #SafeArtsSarasota protocols, requiring that all patrons show a negative COVID-19 test (or show proof of vaccination) and wear masks indoors.

“Hair” is the first show the company will present inside the Mertz Theatre in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts since March 2020. It presented a winter and spring season on an outdoor stage it built in front of the theater building for a series of musical productions.

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