Coronavirus' impact on local arts scene: Your guide to canceled, postponed events on the Midpeninsula | News | Almanac Online |


Coronavirus' impact on local arts scene: Your guide to canceled, postponed events on the Midpeninsula

Several organizations heed advice from health leaders against large gatherings

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With local coronavirus cases on the uptick, local arts organizations are feeling the impact. We've compiled a list to help you keep track of which events have been canceled, postponed or are so far going on as scheduled. As events are being canceled with short notice, check directly with event organizers for the most up to date information.

Stanford University

Stanford University has temporarily closed the Cantor Arts Center and Anderson Collection to the public beginning Saturday, March 7, through April 15, but outdoor spaces will remain open to everyone. The museums will permit Stanford ID holders into the building.

Stanford has also decided to postpone or cancel events on and off campus likely to attract 50 or more people through May 15, including music concerts, as well as the winter and spring sports seasons, according to an updated health alert posted March 12 by the University.

Canceled events include:

• Second Sunday: Family Day at the Cantor Arts Center and Anderson Collection on April 12.

• Regularly scheduled public tours at Cantor and Anderson from March 4 through April 15. (Tours will resume on April 16.)

• A "Bay Area Artadia Artists Panel" featuring Angela Hennessy, Mike Henderson and Aleesa Alexander on March 12 (event will be rescheduled to a to-be-determined date).

• All Department of Music concerts until April 15 and many Stanford Live events.

A full list of event changes can be found at

On March 23, the university announced its "Museums from Home" webpage, which features online exhibitions, archives, recorded lectures and oral histories available for the public.

Theater and film

The threat of coronavirus has also led the Stanford Theatre in downtown Palo Alto to close until further notice.

"This voluntary decision reflects only an abundance of caution. We are not aware of any infected persons having been at the theater," general manager Cynthia Mortenson-Colombetti said in a statement issued Monday.

The closure means the last two weeks of the film festival honoring Japanese film director and screenwriter Akira Kurosawa was suspended. The festival was originally scheduled to end March 15, but the theater hopes to screen the remaining films at another date.

The Pear Theatre in Mountain View has canceled the opening weekend (March 12-15) of its production of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," which was planned to run March 12-April 5, according to a March 12 press release. The theater hopes to resume performances as soon as possible, according to the statement. The release cites new guidelines from the California Department of Public Health that state that gatherings of fewer than 250 people, if held in venues that do not allow social distancing of 6 feet per person, should be postponed or canceled. "Since Pear Theatre has already sold too many tickets for this coming weekend to provide adequate social distancing, the prudent decision was to cancel those shows. Ticket sales for future shows are frozen until ongoing plans can be made," the release states.

In a March 24 email by Executive Artistic Director Sinjin Jones, Pear Theatre announced an updated policy on exchanges, refunds and donations. The Mountain View company planned to send a separate email to ticket holders detailing the changes.

In the March 24 message, the company said ticket sales for "Pear Slices," a popular, annual showcase of new one-act plays, are frozen as it's still deciding whether to hold the event. It's season-closing performance of "Side By Side" by Stephen Sondheim is set to go on as scheduled from June 11 to July 12. The Pear's season announcement party has been postponed to Saturday, June 13, 2-5 p.m.

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley plans to livestream the remaining performances of "They Promised Her the Moon," which was originally set for shows at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto. The company will contact ticketholders who couldn't see the show in-person by email that will include a link to the stream and is currently working on making tickets available to the general public based on a pay-what-you-will ticket price. TheatreWorks company also canceled "Ragtime," which was planned to run April 1-May 5 in Mountain View, the company announced in a March 12 press release. "With rehearsals for Ragtime already begun and sets and costumes in production, it is the company's intention to present 'Ragtime' in April 2021, in place of the previously announced 'Man of La Mancha,'" the release states. Patrons will be contacted by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's box office with options to exchange their tickets for future shows, donate their ticket value in support of TheatreWorks, or have other options, according to the release.

Redwood City's Dragon Productions Theatre Company said in an email Sunday, March 15, that it was suspending current productions. "To the end of serving our community, we are already working with our playwrights and rights holders on other ways we may be able to share these shows with our Dragon family in digital form," the email states. The company will also update patrons regularly via social media to keep them informed on the status of other programs.

Reflecting the harsh reality for many local arts organizations, the company is also asking for donations via "On April 1, we will pay our rent of about $12,000 to have a theatre when this has blown over, and our staff will pay their rents and mortgages on their homes. We realize everyone is worried, or already getting ready for a financial struggle with what is happening right now, but any financial gifts you are able to make at this time will make a world of difference towards our odds of survival, and we promise, as always to put your support right back to supporting our local community of brilliant artists help us get through this difficult time," the email states.

On Friday, March 20, Dragon Theatre launched "Dragon on Demand," a limited library of videos released on Vimeo featuring a few past productions, which can be viewed here for a fee. The first feature posted on the page was "Macbeth." The company also held a reading Hour through a Facebook Live stream on March 21-22 of the new novel "Time Sailors" by Shelli Frew. The "Adult Essentials of Playwriting" and youth classes are now being offered digitally, with plans to also do the same for adult acting classes.

On Wednesday, March 25, the company announced its decision to cancel three shows because of the inability to hold rehearsals. "Caught," a collaboration with artist Lin Bo that was set for May 8-31, has been called off and may be part of its 2021 season currently being planned. Its April shows, "Grimm" and "Peter and the Wolf" have also been dropped; they may be offered again later this year or in early 2021.The box office will contact ticket holders on their options in light of the cancellations.

As of Thursday, March 12, all performances at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts have been canceled through March, including Peninsula Youth Theatre productions, according to the city of Mountain View.

Palo Alto Players announced in an email to patrons March 12 that its gala fundraiser has been moved from April 4 to May 31. Performances of "Matilda," which was set to open April 24, have been canceled, Managing Director Elizabeth Santana and Artistic Director Patrick Klein said in a March 17 email. The decision was made in light of a shelter in place order for most of the Bay Area and a recommendation by the Centers of Disease Control to postpone or cancel gatherings of 50 or more people for at least eight weeks.

The postponement is expected to result in a minimum 25% loss in revenue for the season, according to the email.

Palo Alto Players hopes to reschedule the show in the near future after consulting with its cast and creative team. The company will contact ticket holders on options for their tickets.

Redwood City film nonprofit Bravemaker announced March 12 that it was canceling its planned March and April events, including a screening and discussion of "The Illegal." A film festival scheduled for May is, as of now, still planned to continue.

Los Altos Stage Company’s upcoming production of "Sunday in the Park with George" (scheduled for April 9-May 10) has been postponed to November-December, according to a March 23 email from the company. Earlier in the month, ticket holders were asked to donate the cost of the tickets for canceled shows back to the theater groups if possible, but can exchange them for tickets to future shows.

Rehearsals for the show began in mid-February, Director Alex Perez said in the email. "We were all initially saddened, though understanding, of the need to postpone the show. We are especially thrilled at the prospect of returning in the fall, and that the entire cast and production team have agreed to stay together," he said.

The company is still discussing whether its production of "Steel Magnolias" will go on as scheduled this June, in addition to its summer youth educational camps. Decisions are expected on those offerings, plus its 2020-2021 season, over the next few weeks.


On Friday, March 6, the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra announced its May concerts are on hold for the time being.

The West Coast Songwriters competition scheduled for March 31 at Cafe Zoë in Menlo Park has been canceled, according to a Facebook post.

Ragazzi Boys Chorus and Peninsula Girls Chorus have announced the cancellation of the collaborative "Siblings in Song" concert planned for May 2 in Palo Alto. Ragazzi has also canceled its regular choir rehearsals through mid-April, according to a press release sent March 13.

Community organizations

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center will be temporarily closing, for at least two weeks starting Sunday night, March 15, according to a March 13 email from CEO Zack Bodner.

On Monday, March 9, the city of Palo Alto announced it has canceled, postponed or modified more than 30 events and programs scheduled through the end of the month. The decision was made based on multiple factors, including events expected to bring more than 100 people and bring in at-risk populations, including those over the age of 50.

Several city events that have been canceled or postponed include the March 14 Norooz Persian New Year celebration, which may be rescheduled for this spring if concerns subside over the new coronavirus; March 29 Racing Hearts 5K/10k race and weekly family storytime sessions at the Mitchell Park, Children's and Downtown libraries. A full list of event changes can be found at

City leaders also plan on evaluating whether other events should be canceled or postponed through March 31.

The Palo Alto Art Center will be closed starting Saturday, March 14, through Saturday, April 4.

On March 24, the Palo Alto-based Magical Bridge Foundation announced daily performances at noon on its Facebook page. "Every performance is family-friendly, sensory-friendly, multigenerational, and welcomes everyBODY," the nonprofit said in an email.

Palo Alto environmental nonprofit Acterra has switched its 50th anniversary celebration on March 28 from an in-person gathering to a virtual event. More information can be found at

Community organization Comite Latino has canceled its Cinco de Mayo Festival in East Palo Alto that was set for Sunday, May 3. The group hopes to hold the event in 2021.


On Friday, March 13, Kepler's Books in Menlo Park canceled all literary events through April 5 as a precaution based on advice against large gatherings from the San Mateo County Health Office. On Monday, March 16, Kepler's suspended in-store shopping and switched to book pick-up only for pre-paid orders from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. daily. Its phone lines will stay open during the same time span.

On Thursday, March 12, the Los Altos History Museum announced it is suspending its planned March 21 event celebrating the unveiling of the newly renovated Tank House and the opening of the museum’s exhibition, “In the Fields of the North / En los Campos del Norte.” However, the museum will remain open to the public. “The safety of our community is of paramount importance to the Los Altos History Museum,” Executive Director Elisabeth Ward wrote in a press statement. “We are installing additional hand-sanitizing stations and implementing additional cleaning protocols to allow us to remain open for our normal opening hours." (The museum is open Thursday-Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.)

On Friday, March 13, the Computer History Museum in Mountain View announced it will be closed March 14-31.

On Friday, March 13, Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills announced it would be closed to the public through Monday, April 6. All programs and overnight stays will be suspended through April 30.

On Sunday, March 15, Pacific Art League in Palo Alto announced it is postponing classes, workshops and events at 668 Ramona St. for at least two weeks beginning Monday, March 16. On the nonprofit's website, a survey is available for patrons to suggest how the organization may continue to serve the community during the closure.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by the Almanac, Mountain View Voice and Palo Alto Online here.

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