BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As Baltimore’s performing arts venues remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those who run the facilities are asking for the public’s support to survive.

At a time when many would be buying tickets at box offices for shows like The Nutcracker, the stages at theaters like the Hippodrome remain empty with the lights turned off.

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“We were open one day and closed the next, and we haven’t been open since March 12 of 2020,” Hippodrome’s Ron Legler said.

The same silence can be heard at Baltimore Center Stage.

“It’s not a building that’s designed to be empty,” artistic director Stephanie Ybarra said. “It’s designed to be full of art and people and stories and music.”

Both performing arts venues are struggling to stay alive amid the pandemic.

“We’re selling no tickets, we have no audiences and we can’t come back until the social distancing part of this pandemic is over,” Legler said. “It’s sad, it really is sad.


Many venues are pivoting online. Center Stage has held virtual events showcasing poets and musicians. The Hippodrome is hosting a series called Behind the Curtains.

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Still, it’s not clear if that will be enough for them to survive.

“The holidays are going to be hard,” Legler said. “It’s going to be hard for our team.”

Those institutions need help more than ever, Shelonda Stokes, the president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, said.

“We really encourage people to buy tickets and support those institutions,” she said.

Legler is also asking for the community’s help.

“We have never asked for help before but we are definitely asking for support and for help because we’re not going to be able to get through this without it,” he said.

Ybarra, meanwhile, promised the best is yet to come once they can reopen.

“Hang in there with us because when we do get back in the building, we’ll be back and better than ever before,” she said.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Annie Rose Ramos