After a year of dark, empty stages, local theaters have at last begun to open again with live shows on the books as we continue to practice social distancing.
John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts has rescheduled its theater performances that were canceled last year to this fall. A production of The Pajama Games is scheduled for Sept. 17 to 26, and just in time for the holiday spirit, Holiday Inn will run from Dec. 3 to 19. The Shedd is presenting Be-Bop-A-Lula to revive and remaster some of the iconic songs from the 1950s; the show will run June 11 to 13.
Jim Ralph, executive director at The Shedd, says, “In our industry, we really need to be looking in terms of months. We need the stability we had; it just takes time to put these things together.”
Eugene’s Very Little Theatre is currently closed for in-person performances but is doing virtual performances while moving ahead with construction on its building. “I think over the next six months we are going to see a bunch of solo shows or small numbers of two to three people because the idea is that limiting their exposure is allowing these people to bubble together,”says Jessica Ruth Baker, development and marketing coordinator at VLT. But she says while she thinks the status quo will return, “a lot of people were introduced to virtual theater, and I do not think that it is going to go away.”
Cottage Theatre in Cottage Grove has also been closed and hopes to reopen for the fall season. Currently, the musical Breathe has tickets available for purchase to watch the production online. Their stage is also undergoing a remodel in preparation for a fresh reopening.
Last but not least, Oregon Contemporary Theatre has a show called Art, set to run in-person and streaming from June 4 to 12. Tickets can only be purchased in sets of two or four, and distancing mandates must be followed while in attendance; more information can be found at OCTheatre.org/reopening.