For Immediate Release

Contact: Sean Pomposello,, 860-520-7250

Hartford Stage announces Employee Reductions in response to COVID-19 crisis

HARTFORD, CT—March 20—One week after cancelling the four remaining performances of Jane Eyre, and the entire run of The King’s Speech as well as the devastating financial impact of having to cancel its premier annual fundraising gala, Hartford Stage is announcing that it has taken action to reduce its employee workforce by way of position eliminations and furloughs. The result is a decrease of 70 percent of its operating staff in response to the COVID-19 crisis. 

“All words feel inadequate at a time of such enormous transition for Hartford Stage,” stated Artistic Director, Melia Bensussen.  “Cynthia and I want to thank our staff for all they’ve given this theatre. Each has given selflessly of themselves and their talents to bring vibrant theatre to our region.”

“We are very saddened by our need to make these reductions in staff as the financial viability of our theater is at risk,” Managing Director, Cynthia Rider said. “But, given the uncertainty of when large gatherings may again be allowed and how long it may take our creative economy to restart afterward, we were forced to make the tough decision to reduce our payroll in order to meet this challenge.” These reductions have been announced and take effect as of Monday, March 23.

“Hartford Stage will be eagerly preparing for the recovery of our country, and we are taking these steps to ensure we will be here to welcome back our staff, our artists and our audiences with renewed passion and creativity,” Bensussen added.  

Hartford Stage Board President, David Jimenez stated, “While public health is the paramount concern, this pandemic event will have severe consequences to the arts and culture organizations in Hartford and throughout our nation. At the right time, I am confident the greater Hartford community will step up to the challenge of supporting Hartford Stage. While recent events have had a tremendous impact to Hartford Stage’s financials, our hope is to rebound and to continue producing amazing work.”   

The economic impact from the COVID-19 crisis has created serious and long-lasting financial hardships for Hartford Stage, its staff, and visiting artists. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Hartford Stage relies on the generosity of its patrons and community. Individuals and organizations interested in making a charitable gift to help Hartford Stage rebound from this current crisis and bring its community exceptional theatrical programming in the future can do so online at


Hartford Stage enters its 56th season beginning an exciting new chapter. Artistic Director Melia Bensussen and Managing Director Cynthia Rider will continue the theatre’s legacy of artistic excellence by creating theatrical works that enlighten, entertain, and educate.

Renowned for producing innovative revivals of classics, as well as provocative new plays and musicals,  Hartford Stage has earned many of the nation’s most prestigious awards, including the 1989 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Additional national recognition includes honors from the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, American Theatre Wing (OBIE), and the New York Critics Circle.

Hartford Stage has produced over 80 world and North American premieres, including the new musicalAnastasia, which enjoyed a two-year run on Broadway; A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,winner of four 2014 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical; and Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Water by the Spoonful, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Other notable premieres include The Engagement Party by Samuel Baum; Make Believe by Bess Wohl; The Age of Innocence by Douglas McGrath; Seder by Sarah Gancher; Rear Window, adapted by Keith Reddin, and starring Kevin Bacon; An Opening in Time by Christopher Shinn; Reverberation by Matthew Lopez; Big Dance Theatre’s Man in a Case with Mikhail Baryshnikov; and Breath & Imagination by Daniel Beaty. Nationally-renowned titles include the New York transfers of Enchanted April; The Orphans’ Home Cycle; Resurrection (later retitled Through the Night); The Carpetbagger’s Children;and Tea at Five.The leading provider of theatre education programs in Connecticut, Hartford Stage’s offerings include student matinees, in-school theatre residencies, teen performance opportunities, theatre classes for students (ages 3-18) and adults, afterschool programs and professional development courses.

The leading provider of theatre education programs in Connecticut, Education @ Hartford Stage offers student matinees, in-school theatre residencies, teen performance opportunities, theatre classes for students (ages 3-18) and adults, afterschool programs and professional development courses. Education @ Hartford Stage programming reaches approximately 21,000 Connecticut students annually.

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