Any other time, “Hamilton” would’ve been our top entertainment story of the year.

The blockbuster musical finally — finally! — rolled into Southwest Florida after years of anticipation. And yes, it was awesome.

But this wasn’t any other year, was it? This was the year of COVID-19 — and that changed everything.

A scene from the Broadway musical 'Hamilton'

Just two months after “Hamilton” visited Artis—Naples and Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, both venues went dark. And they didn’t open their doors again until the fall — at reduced capacity and with strict new COVID-19 rules.

That’s not all that happened in 2020 — a busy year for arts-and-entertainment news in Southwest Florida. Here’s a look at our top 10 stories of the year:

COVID-19: Everything’s closed, everything’s canceled

Regal Bell Tower 20 remains locked and dark in south Fort Myers.

The pandemic shut down everything in March, from bars to concerts to every theater and performing arts venue.

Most venues have reopened since then, but with lots of changes: Social distancing, temperature checks at the door, masks encouraged or required. Some shows are happening outside instead of indoors, and others moved online instead of in-person and onstage.

Some venues — including Regal Cinemas theaters everywhere — still haven’t reopened.



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