Final curtain falls on Hudson's Young Actors Studio

Hudson youth theater closes permanently at the end of the month due to COVID-19

April Helms
Kent Weeklies
From left, Emma Kelley, Andrew Sims, and Jaden Watson in Young Actors Studio's production of "Aladdin Jr."

HUDSON — After 15 years of staging youth shows in Hudson, Young Actors Studio will turn off the footlights and lower its curtain permanently on Aug. 31 due to the pandemic.

Elyse Romano, who started the theater, said the prolonged closure, the ban on large gatherings and the unknown nature of the pandemic forced the decision to close the theater, which first started out on Main Street in Hudson. It has been at its current location at 86 Owen Brown St. for the past 10 years after another theater, Actors’ Summit, left that space and moved operations to Akron.

“We were in rehearsals our first week for Matilda Jr.,” Romano said, explaining the company had to go on stage with virtually no notice. “We had just closed Madagascar and started rehearsals when we had the lockdowns. We had our class performances scheduled for the week after. We were literally stopping parents that Thursday saying ‘Come on in, we are doing it tonight.’ So some parents were able to see their child’s performance.”

The initial plan had been to move Matilda Jr. to the fall slot, Romano said. However, when it became apparent that this was not going to happen, “we had to make the decision to close our doors permanently.” The announcement was made July 30.

“It’s tragic, just tragic,” Romano said. “But what can you do? We have three sources of revenue: tuition from our productions, our classes and ticket sales. We don’t have any idea when we can reopen; we don’t know when we can have large groups inside again.”

According to information from the theater’s website, tuition and tickets will be reimbursed, and donors who contributed to the Our Believers also will be reimbursed. The theater also is hoping to have a socially distanced celebration event before Aug. 31.

At this time, Romano said there were no plans to restart the theater.

“We were coming close to retiring in the next few years,” Romano said. “We had a 15-year wonderful run, elevating students in performance arts, and making many wonderful memories. We appreciate the community support, the outpouring has been so wonderful. The best gift we had was an audience. We really appreciate the community support.”

Reporter April Helms can be reached at ahelms@recordpub.com