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The days are getting shorter, the leaves are changing and fall is in the air. There’s something really nice about fall. A lot of people tell me it’s their favorite time of year and I can see why. The colors are beautiful, the air feels crisp and clean, there’s a kind of peace, a settling-in that seems to happen. I like to think of it as a reset.

This year is quite different. The colors are as beautiful as ever, the air does have a crispness about it, but that peace, that settling-in has been replaced with an unnerving hum; a tension that’s hard to shake.

Now is typically when I’d be talking about Gala and all the preparations that are being made to put on a terrific fundraising event. The annual WYO Gala has been canceled for 2020, as many of you already know, feeding into that rising tension. There is, however, still a show and the show is Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.”

A somewhat dark musical fantasy, the themes are oddly perfect for the times: the things you want, the things you can’t have, the choices we make and the consequences of them. It’s a beautiful show with a beautiful cast, and I encourage everyone to purchase a ticket. Not just to support the WYO and the Civic Theatre Guild (it is the co-production, after all) but to support your friends, your community members your local family. It’s a way to quiet the hum, just for a moment, and replace it with the sound of voices and of song. Humans who are alike in many ways but in others vastly different. Not just those onstage but those off as well.

Humans. We are all that. Human. This fall has brought so many things with it. Not just a change in weather but a shift in human connection. Here in Wyoming, we are mighty lucky the freedoms we’re allowed. Almost everything is open: schools, restaurants, theaters, retailers, hearts?

Not all and not many.

I think the WYO can help change that, or at least we can quiet the hum and ease the tension. As the Baker says in “Into the Woods,” “If we’re going to get through this, we have to stay together.” It’s time to stay, to stand together. Trust Cinderella, “no one is alone. Truly no one is alone.”

Erin Butler is executive director of the WYO Performing Arts and Education Center.

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