‘Punch to the gut:’ San Antonio theater director shares struggle during COVID-19 pandemic

Many artists have been out of work for months

SAN ANTONIOEditor’s note: This content was created exclusively for KSAT Explains, a weekly streaming show that dives deep into the biggest issues facing San Antonio and South Texas. Watch past episodes here and download the free KSAT-TV app to stay up on the latest.

In the midst of a pandemic that’s forced people to stay physically distant, live music and performance venues have been hit particularly hard.

Local director and choreographer Lizel Sandoval is one of the countless artists who has been out of a job for months. At the beginning of this year, Sandoval took a leap of faith to focus on her passion.

“I made a decision to leave my day job and focus on my contract work and to become a stay at home mom for my twins,” Sandoval said.

Sandoval was working with the Woodlawn Theatre Academy, helping them put on a production of Godspell JR when production came to a halt just weeks away from opening night.

“It was really a punch to the gut,” Sandoval said. “These kiddos had worked so hard.”

Every single contract job she had lined up for the year was canceled.

Sandoval said this is obviously a financial blow for her family, but it’s also been upsetting to her artistically to not be able to see these projects through. She is holding out hope that her work can return in some form next year.

“Maybe we can do something in 2021,” Sandoval said. “But it may not look exactly how we originally wanted it to look.”

Like so many others, as 2020 comes to an end, Sandoval is wondering what next year will look like, and whether she’ll have to come up with a different plan for her family.

About the Authors:

Brina is the Executive Producer of the NightBeat and KSAT Explains. She has been with KSAT since 2015. She is a Houston native and proud to call San Antonio home.

Valerie Gomez is an Emmy-nominated video editor and San Antonio native. She is the lead editor for KSAT Explains and also loves Jeff Goldblum.