By Robert Simonson
04 Oct 2013
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
The government shutdown was the big political story of the week, and it has affected every American, in both small and large ways. It also has impacted at least one theatre.
The Ford's Theatre Society, named for the Washington D.C. landmark where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, canceled performances of The Laramie Project through Oct. 6. The Society was told Oct. 1 that it could not perform in Ford's Theatre during the government shutdown, "even though we are a private non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that does not use any federal funding or federal employees for our programming," Ford's Theatre Society director Paul R. Tetreault said in a statement.
The show, based on a grim morality play by Dürrenmatt, may have a future life at the Williamstown Theatre Festival prior to a long-awaited Broadway bow, Chita Rivera revealed in an interview with Playbill.com. Rivera starred in the show in its first production at the Goodman Theatre in 2001. It was supposed to proceed to Broadway then, but got middling reviews and lost momentum. It was then announced as a production at The Public Theater, but that plan deflated after investors pulled out. A 2008 production at Virginia's Signature Theatre did indeed come to fruition, with Rivera reprising her role as the ruthless Claire Zachanassian, a millionaire determined to get revenge on every person from her hometown who did her wrong when she was a young girl.
Williamstown would not confirm the booking. However, in recent years, the summer festival has gotten in the habit of developing new musicals, such as Far From Heaven and The Bridges of Madison County, both of which set New York debuts within a year of their premieres there.