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Virginia Opry adapts to Masonic Theatre COVID closing

Published: Jul. 27, 2020 at 6:27 PM EDT
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CLIFTON FORGE, Va. (WDBJ) - For around three decades, the Virginia Opry made music in the Historic Masonic Theatre.

They were ready to do more in 2020.

“We had ten shows lined up for this year,” said Opry founder M Ray Allen.

Until COVID struck.

Now the box office is closed, and the poster boards are empty. The theater’s capacity with social distancing severely limited things.

“They could have only sold 110 tickets, and we had Bill Pinckney’s Original Drifters coming,” Allen explained. “We were paying them $6,000 to perform, so it was a no-brainer. We had to postpone the show to next year.”

After all this time, it’s a tough choice, but the Opry has adapted before.

“You know, it’s either be innovative or just do nothing,” Allen said. “So we’re just trying to cope the best we can and do things safely but at the same time continue to be out there in the public’s view.”

And that includes shows at Allen’s Buckhorn Country Store, and big plans for next year.

“We’re exploring ways to further the Virginia Opry and we have a dynamic plan for 2021,” according to Allen.

Because the Opry, like its founder, doesn’t just give up.

“The only way to be successful is to look for innovative ways to continue,” he said.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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