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In February, the home of the Old Opera House Theatre Company and Arts Centre celebrated its 110th anniversary.

CHARLES TOWN — COVID-19 has forced the cancellation of the Old Opera House Theatre Company and Arts Centre (OOH) production of, “Moon Over Buffalo,” with half the cast coming down with the virus.

Four of the production’s eight cast members were felled with COVID. “Moon Over Buffalo,” was scheduled to start September 10.

Steve Brewer, the organization’s manager/artistic director, declined to identify those who were struck down with COVID.

“Those who participate at OOH all know who has been struggling with COVID. We are keeping them in our thoughts and prayers,” Brewer said.

Dealing with problems caused by the pandemic, unfortunately is not new for OOH.

“We have cancelled/postponed ‘Moon Over Buffalo’ and a production of ‘Into the Woods’ twice over the last two years due to the pandemic,” Brewer said.  “It is quite unusual for us, but the pandemic has kept us having to react quickly and make changes as needed.”

With the “Moon” production he added, “We had two weeks before the play’s opening. No time to recast. Of course we wanted to be as safe as we can. This is the first outbreak amongst us.”  

“Moon Over Buffalo” is a farce, requiring the actors to work very close together.

Other activities will continue at the Old Opera House like classes in acting, dance and voice. Brewer said he continues to look for another possible replacement for the September production slot. 

In October, Agatha Christie’s, “A Murder is Announced,” will take place on the 15,16,17 and 22, 23 and 24. Action in that play is more spread out, Brewer said. The plot involves the announcement in a local newspaper stating the time and place when a murder is to occur in a local home. An inspector and Christie’s popular Miss Marple are on the case.

In August, the Old Opera House presented its annual summer family show with performances of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

“We had nearly 800 people in attendance. It was very well received. People really enjoyed it,” Brewer said. 

Because at the time of the “Lion” production restrictions on social distancing, which limited seating, were less strict, more people were allowed to be in the audience.

However, the pandemic still presents challenges.

“The cancellation of ‘Moon Over Buffalo’ was a sad choice,  but as in any other business, we have to keep aware of what options are open to us because of the pandemic,” Brewer said.

For more information on future productions at the Old Opera House Theatre Company and Arts Centre. call 304-725-4420 or go online at www.oldoperahouse.org

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