A celebratory start to MSU's "Shakespeare in the Parks" 50th year was supposed to start Thursday night, January 20. It didn't.

The comedy "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (Revised)" has been postponed. You can blame COVID. The three-man play was set to run through next week at the Black Box Theatre on the MSU campus. Ticketholders will automatically receive a full refund from their point of purchase.

The play was then scheduled to tour throughout the state in a special winter tour. Hamilton was on that schedule for February 17 at the Hamilton Middle School auditorium. That performance and the whole winter tour has been cancelled. If you need more information, call 406 994-3944.

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Executive Artistic Director Kevin Asselin said, "It is absolutely with a heavy heart to have to announce the postponing of our winter tour performances. We never, ever want to disappoint our beloved audiences, because sharing our passion for Shakespeare and enriching and engaging our communities is at the core of who we are and what we do. In this moment, we find that must make decisions that is in the best interest of our performers, our staff, and audiences we care so much about as we do our best to navigate through these unprecedented times."

This will not affect the usual "Shakespeare in the Parks" summer tour. The annual long-distance trek through Montana and neighboring states is still on track and more information will be coming from MSU.

As we mentioned, this the 50th year of the outreach program of the MSU college of Arts and Architecture. They have been sending out a mobile cast that perform two plays (a comedy and a drama) in town after town through the summer months. They started it in 1973 "on the firm belief that Shakespeare belongs to everyone."

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