The show must go on, even during a pandemic
The last few rehearsals before opening night are taking place at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. While this production is unlike any other these actors have done, the house is expected to be packed, well as packed as possible during a pandemic.
“If you would’ve asked me in January of this year ‘oh by the way in like two months you’re gonna have to completely shut down, lay off all of your employees, oh, and you’re going to go with six month without any income’ I would’ve told you you’re absolutely insane!” said Will Prather, owner of the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater.
But the sound of music is the sound of survival for Prather and the actors because Broadway is back. “As much as I would love to say, you know, I’d be perfectly happy doing something else, I know I wouldn’t be. It’s a matter of survival,” said Kate Turner, one of the actors at the Broadway Palm.
“The number of people in our industry who are making a pivot, moving back in with their parents, because they can’t afford the rent anymore,” said Prather.
COVID-19 has pushed everyone to be a little bit more creative, including these creatives.
“A dance partner, you only dance with a certain number of people, so it’s sort of bubble within the cast,” said Amy Cleary, “The cast is in a bubble but then we also have small bubbles within the cast.”
The cast lives together. When called for they try to sing away from each other. They also make sure to rehearse in masks.
Here, the stakes for safety and success are high. “I’ve got another wave of employees and I can’t bring them back until I have more of an audience,” said Prather.
The cast and crew really hope you’ll join them. Because who doesn’t need an escape right now? “Just be somewhere else for a couple of hours,” said Turner.
Will Prather owns another dinner theater in Pennsylvania. Their health department demands face shields and shields for microphones. While coping with two sets of rules is difficult, Prather wants to keep employees and customers happy.