The Show Must Go On
After a nine-month intermission, Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre has reopened for live shows. The first post-lockdown production opened in December, a children’s theatre presentation of “Madeline’s Christmas” – with safety measures in place. “We took a leap of faith and we didn’t know how it would work out and it was so successful,” says Barbara Stein, executive producing director of Actors’ Playhouse.
Now the children’s theatre, directed by Earl Maulding, is putting on “The Wizard of Oz,” which premiered on Feb. 20. Their shows, which are normally in the smaller upstairs theater, have been moved to the larger mainstage theater. “[Earl] has to really redirect the show for social distancing,” Stein says. If someone in the cast is exposed to coronavirus, Maulding has to either rework the show for a day or two, or bring in the understudy.
The Miracle Theatre has not only implemented Covid-19 precautions for its cast, but also for the audience. Temperatures are taken before entering and everyone must wear a mask once inside. The bathrooms have been updated with automatic faucets and there are specific entrances and exits so that people don’t bump into each other. They are not currently selling concessions and the ticketing system sells seating based on social distancing – i.e. separation between parties in the audience.
Actors’ Playhouse has also resumed their workshops. While the capacity of the classes is limited, they doubled their enrollment from fall to winter. As of publication, their spring camp is almost full. The theater is now promoting their spring workshops and summer camps. “It means that people are feeling comfortable coming into our building. They see the precautions that we’re taking,” says Stein. “It’s a warm feeling.”
As for the mainstage shows, they are “working diligently” to get production up and running again. However, the theater has not yet formally announced when they will reopen. “We’re going to be cautious about everything, so we don’t have to make changes again,” Stein says.
“The Wizard of Oz” is running now through March 14 on Saturdays at 2 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at actorsplayhouse.org. Next in the lineup for the children’s theatre is “The Jungle Book,” which will run from April 17 – May 9 and then again over the summer from July 10 – 31. Adds Stein, “We are going to come back with a bang.”