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Theater performances canceled for breakthrough COVID-19 cases

Box office workers remembered the feeling of refunding patrons and explaining cancellations – now they’re breaking the bad news to theater lovers again.

DENVER — When the Arvada Center’s "Elf the Musical" was canceled because of COVID-19 cases in the cast, Abi Rosales and Amber Gale’s week got busier as they began to call as many patrons as they could.

“A time when we thought it was going to be kind of quiet, because it was all sold out,” said Gale, the box office manager.

When everyone got the bad news, it was Gale and Rosales’ job to share it.

“Yes definitely déjà vu in terms of March 2020,” said Rosales. The last nine shows of "Elf the Musical" won’t go on.

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“And we’ve been building up to the kinds of audiences we’re having for Elf and we had the last nine performances essentially sold out,” said Philip Sneed, Arvada Center’s president and CEO. “So it’s particularly bad timing that we have to close. But, we’re glad that we were able to get in as many performances as we did.”

When shows get canceled, the box office workers know they are not the first to come to mind.

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“No, they don’t,” said Gale. But, they are the first to respond to patrons.

“You know you want this place to succeed and you want everything to go well and when you start doing all these refunds,” said Gale. “It’s a sad, disheartening time.”

Even if their names are not up in lights, the bad news is tough for them too.

“Although some of us do it with our calculators and phones, we’re all here ‘cause we love the arts,” said Gale.

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