Zilker Theatre Productions, the nonprofit organization that puts on the annual production at the Hillside Theater in Zilker Park, announced May 28 that "Mamma Mia," which was scheduled to run from July 10-Aug. 15, has been postponed to next year.
Andrew Cannata, ZTP’s executive artistic director, said this was a difficult decision for the organization to make after running consecutively each summer from 1959-2019, but it was the best way to protect the cast members, production staff and community members.
"This is absolutely the right move. It’s not something we took lightly by any means,” Cannata said.
The summer musical began in 1959 when the Austin Parks and Recreation Department put on a free show of “Seventeen.” In 1987, the parks and rec department stopped funding the musical, and the nonprofit now known as Zilker Theatre Productions was born.
Cannata said ZTP has extended offers for everyone in the cast and production staff to return next year, but some small, targeted auditions will be held for any cast members who are not able to return in 2021.
The event brings a crowd that ranges from around 2,000-4,000 per night out to the show in the summer, according to Cannata. On May 20, Dr. Mark Escott, Austin-Travis Couty’s interim health authority, told reporters that such large events will likely not return for a while.
“Looking through the end of December, we don’t have any indication at this stage the we would be able to mitigate risk enough to have large events here, particular ones [with] over 2,500 [attending],” Escott said in a May 20 press conference.
Cannata said ZTP is in a solid position from an organizational and financial standpoint, and he is looking forward to bringing the show back to the Hillside Theater in 2021.
“I truly feel the city of Austin is going to need something like this next summer,” he said.