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NEWS: Jungle Theater Cancels Rest of Cambodian Rock Band Run

The cast of the Jungle Theater’s production of Cambodian Rock Band, which closed a week early due to illness in the cast. Photo by Rich Ryan.

There is a saying, often used ironically: “This is why we can’t have nice things.” Un-ironically, it accurately describes COVID-19. Even when it is not directly responsible, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has removed much of the resilience and redundancy, in retail as in the performing arts. It’s also highlighted some of the dangers of “the show must go on” taken too far. 

Given the events of the last year and a half of (re)openings and (re)closings, shows closing temporarily or early are no longer a surprise. Still, it was with a heavy heart that I saw the news that the Jungle Theater was forced to cancel the last week of performances of Cambodian Rock Band, a hotly anticipated show before the pandemic, and one of the most thrilling music-theatre hybrid shows of the present season.

Cancelling a show has large potential ramifications for a theatre organization – a sort not known for having large cash reserves. In a July 26 statement posted on Facebook, the Jungle Theater announced,

Due to an illness in our cast, CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND performances through Friday have been canceled. We thank you for your understanding during this time as we put the health of our actors first and are hopeful to resume the run for our final weekend.
 
We don’t know for certain if we will be able to continue this weekend and we unfortunately won’t know for sure until Saturday morning. Because of this uncertainty, all ticket sales have been paused moving forward.

By Friday, things had clarified, but not cleared. As noted in another statement,

Although we were hoping to resume performances this weekend, Jungle Theater and Theater Mu have made the difficult decision to cancel the remainder of our CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND performances.
 
We are heartbroken to have to cancel our final week of the show, but we thank you for your understanding during this time as we put the health of our actors first.
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