Lancaster, Pa. – CEO of Sight & Sound Theatres Matt Neff announced at the premiere of their highly anticipated show “Queen Esther” that they prayerfully decided to postpone shows due to the coronavirus.
"As you probably know, there's quite a world event happening around us, in the world in the U.S. as well. I'm talking about this virus we're hearing so much about and we take it seriously. We're concerned about those who have been impacted by it. We continue to be praying around God's wisdom, provision and healing in this moment because He's faithful to provide that,” Neff said Friday.
With 434 performances scheduled for its nine-month run, the 2,000-seat theater in Sight & Sound’s Pennsylvania location is halting performances of their newest production, “Queen Esther,” which was already 70 percent sold. The show sold over 550,000 tickets but after Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issued an announcement strongly urging gatherings of more than 250 people not to happen, they felt it best to comply with the governor's advice.
"We took that to the Lord in prayer and together as a team, what we discern the Lord's wisdom would be is to say, 'OK, we believe passionately in honoring the authority He's placed in our lives and when we honor those authorities, He provides grace,'” Neff stated.
“We decided to carry on for the premiere tonight. Then when the public is supposed to start coming Saturday, we're actually going to close our doors for Saturday for a week, monitor it and see what the situation requires after that.
"That was not an easy decision but with that decision, we experienced unbelievable grace and peace because when you trust our Father, you can rest in the midst of storms in the midst of threats in the midst of attacks of the enemy. So we know this show truly is here tonight for such a time as this. This team has worked unbelievably to be ready for you guys tonight.”
Neff revealed that they all got on their knees just hours before the premiere to seek God’s wisdom and His peace invaded the room. He said they do not know when God will allow for the show to run but the leader remained hopeful that “He's going to have the right people, at the right place at the right time.”
An announcement on the Sight & Sound Theatres website says all shows for both the Branson and Lancaster theaters are canceled through March 30 with plans to reopen on the 31st.
Neff asked if everyone would join them in prayer, lifting up the situation as well as “consecrating” their show.
"We proclaim your sovereign lordship ... in this world," he prayed. "What an opportunity you have blessed us with as your body to be here in this moment, proclaiming truth in love. Let us, Father, as your body, reveal your love that casts out all fear, reveal your nature to our neighbors. ... We command your healing power to thwart the work of the enemy right now. This is not the first time or the last time that we will trust you and see your deliverance.
"We thank you that we get to be still and know that you are God."