SCHENECTADY – While the recent surge in coronavirus infections has forced dozens of Broadway shows to be canceled in recent weeks, the show will continue – at least for now – at Proctors.
The downtown theater did not intend to cancel its New Year’s comedy show or postpone any of its events scheduled for next month on Wednesday, although any future decisions “will respond to the health of customers. , actors, stagehands and employees ”. according to Philip Morris, CEO of the theater.
“We’re going to do what we’re doing and if there’s a reason for a review of any kind, then we’ll sit down and decide what to do about it,” he said.
Morris said the theater has strict safety protocols in place for performers and stagehands, which require regular virus tests. The theater also requires customers to wear a mask during performances and present proof of vaccination before entering.
The same policies are in place for the Capital Repertory Theater in Albany and Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga Springs, which are operated by the management of Proctors. While The Rep doesn’t have any shows scheduled until Jan. 28, UPH has a New Years Eve performance scheduled, which Morris says is sold out.
Morris said the theater is learning to adapt to changing circumstances on the fly and staff are doing everything possible to avoid another shutdown. Proctors began hosting live events earlier this year after a months-long hiatus that resulted in dozens of layoffs and millions of lost income.
The theater was able to bring back staff and host live performances thanks to generous community support and a $ 10 million grant for closed theater operators, a $ 1.9 billion program that funded thousands of theaters across the country. The program was approved by Congress earlier this year as part of the American Rescue Plan Act.
“We are cautious, but we also recognize that this is not going to go away,” Morris said. “We never want to be closed again. Not all of our stages have to be closed.
Morris pointed out that most Broadway cancellations were caused by an artist testing positive, not public safety. He said the theater will continue to follow guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep everyone safe.
Meanwhile, the Palace Theater in Albany this week announced the postponement of a pair of Dark Star Orchestra performances due this weekend after several musicians tested positive for the virus.
Theater general manager Kevin Johnson did not respond to a phone call asking for comment, although it appears the theater has no plans to close anytime soon.
“We are working with the group to confirm new dates for these shows that we plan to try to release within a day or two,” said a post on the theater’s Facebook page. “All tickets for these performances will be valid for the postponed dates. “
Meanwhile, the Mopco Improv Theater on North Jay Street in Schenectady announced Wednesday that it is temporarily closing its doors and canceling shows until January 21 due to virus concerns. The lessons will take place virtually.
“Obviously, the situation keeps changing. To ensure everyone’s safety, all future classes are virtual again, ”a post on the theater’s website read. “We hope the current spike in cases will be brief.”
Morris, meanwhile, said ticket sales at Proctors have been stable since the theater reopened, although he noted that sales varied depending on the show.
Friday’s comedy show sold nearly three-quarters of available tickets, but the recently completed performance of “The Nutcracker” sold at a rate comparable to 2019 sales. January performance is also 10% lower. at 20% to pre-pandemic figures, Morris said.
“At this point, we are in the part of this pandemic that we have to learn to live with,” he said. “This is how we learn to live with it. “
Dozens of Broadway shows in New York have been canceled in recent weeks due to performers contracting the virus or being forced to self-quarantine, and several shows ended their airing early in light of the outbreak virus caused by the highly contagious variant of omicron.
Hugh Jackman, the Australian actor and Hollywood mainstay, announced that he tested positive for the virus on Tuesday, leading to the cancellation of several performances of “The Music Man”, in which he stars. The Rockettes’ annual Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall was canceled earlier this month due to the virus.
Nationally, the seven-day average for positive tests reached 265,000, the highest at any time in the pandemic. The spike raised fears that the country’s already strained healthcare system could be further strained.
In New York state, the number of new cases and hospitalizations linked to the virus has risen sharply in recent weeks, mainly due to an explosion of new cases in New York and its surrounding suburbs.
The state reported that 67,090 of the 362,594 tests administered on Tuesday returned positive, a positive test rate of 18.5%, bringing the state’s seven-day positive test rate to 14.61%, according to state data. A total of 6,767 people were hospitalized with the virus on Tuesday, the most recent statewide data available.
Meanwhile, in the capital region, the region’s seven-day average for cases per 100,000 population reached 82.78 on Tuesday, 12 percentage points higher than it was on Monday. The region had a positive test rate of 10.43% over the same period, according to state data.
Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: 518-410-5117 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.
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