This month “2020: COVID — The Musical” will premiere at the Brown County Playhouse.

The musical will hit the stage at the Playhouse the weekends of Nov. 12 and 19 with shows happening on Friday and Saturday nights, then a Sunday matinee. Tickets are available at BrownCountyPlayhouse.org.

Ashton Wolf, a playwright from Indianapolis, wrote the 21-song musical expose.

In the musical, a narrator takes six characters of diverse backgrounds on an emotional musical journey as they recount their experience, having lived in the new “normal” world of COVID-19 and the fallout from the global pandemic.

But you’ve had questions—good ones— about “2020: COVID — The Musical.”

Now we want to address those questions and concerns here.

Q: How could you? (In the context of profiting off of tragedy)

A: The Playhouse commissioned this piece to create an artistic opportunity to bring people together and share our common experiences through the pandemic. 2020 could be defined as the shared experience of isolation, and this performance will help us express the highs and lows, artistically, together. While tragedy and loss are undeniable, we focus on the hope and strength of community in offering this production.

Q: I have lost friends and family. I don’t want to relive this.

A: First and foremost, we do not believe that this production is for everyone. But we believe the shared experience of music can help heal. Lyrics are powerful and speak to the heart, and shining a light on our shared grief is our focus. Again, we realize this show is not for everyone.

Q: You can’t make this entertaining because I am worn out about COVID in the news.

A: We get it! While the musical is based on the topic that has dominated the news, it is not the news. We take our shared experience and topics that you will recognize and present them in away that is moving, touching, and at times funny. Our message of hope is translated through song, dance, lights and sound, all done in a way that is thoughtful and not part of the news cycle. You may be touched by the performance, and may be entertained, but you only know if you see it yourself.

Q: COVID is so polarizing and it’s a divisive topic. I no longer talk to family and friends because of it.

A: Our hope is that the audience leaves with a new found sense of compassion about what their neighbor has been through and perhaps it will lead to a greater understanding of what others have experienced. This show is not an answer as to what it right or wrong, but a chance to stretch your heart muscle towards others.

Q: It’s out of touch to put on a show like this in the middle of a pandemic.

A: Theater tends to mimic current culture in an expressive way. An artistic production can help us process what we are living through by being timely and relevant.

OVERSET FOLLOWS:Q: Is this production a farce?

A: The musical does not poke fun at the pandemic or our shared experiences. We explore the range of emotions and situations we all experienced, including the absurdity of facing a toilet paper shortage. There are light moments also mixed in with our artistic expression of the challenges we have witnessed. You can learn more about the music and performance at www.2020covidthemusical.org.

Q: Does this show assume a political bias?

A: This show is not political, on purpose. We steer clear of political discussion or bias and focus on our shared experiences – the things wewent through individually, together. No politics.

Q: If the Playhouse is a community theater, why are we are we paying actors?

A: The Brown County Playhouse is a historic community theater of 73 years and has scheduled several community productions into the next year. “2020: COVID — The Musical” is a commissioned piece, which warrants the talent of equity actors and vocalists. Additionally, many performing artists have been without income for the past year and this is an important way for our community to support artists who rely on their talent full-time. We look forward to sharing it with ours and surrounding communities.

Lisa Hall is the secretary for the Brown County Playhouse Board of Directors. She can be reached by email at Lisa@browncountyplayhouse.org.