Emily Buckley, editor in chief
MUSIC THEATRE WEST is one of the first of Cache Valley’s theatre companies to head back to the stage after the COVID-19 shutdown, and they are doing it with purpose and caution.
The state Covid-19 recovery plan, Utah Leads Together, allowed for the opening of theatres on May 16. Celeste Baillio, business director of Music Theatre West says that their return to the stage is to fulfill their mission that, “The depth and beauty of the human experience can be shared through theatre arts.”
“We respect that not everyone is ready to come back,” Celeste said. “As Utah reopens its economy, we recognize our role as a theatre to bring hope, relief, and joy. Audiences can expect, when they come back, that the seating may seem sparse, but the quality of the show is the same.”
The shows Music Theatre West chose for their fall productions, The Taffetas and Forever Plaid feature small casts of only four each to purposely mitigate risks. Cast members will have their own dressing rooms and will be wearing masks while off stage. They will also be using hand sanitizer and getting daily temperature checks.
For audience safety, Music Theatre West is selling tickets to only 25% capacity to ensure far fewer people are in the building with at least a two-seat “safety bumper” between each group of patrons in the theatre, requiring audience members to wear face masks, and using digital tickets and show programs for contactless interactions. Groups of patrons are encouraged to space themselves six feet apart while entering the theater and no concessions will be sold. Additionally, heavy sanitation of seats and bathrooms will be performed between each show.
Celeste says that theatre is a great escape. “The reason we attend live theatre is to experience something, learn something, and grow with your loved ones and the community.”