This year, just about everyone has had to adjust to a new way of life. The performing arts are no different. But the show must go on, and North Texas Performing Arts figured out a way to ensure that happens safely.
For 10 years Darrell Rodenbaugh embodied the role of Ebenezer Scrooge at North Texas Performing Arts in Plano during the annual “Scrooge, The Musical” performance. He said it’s been a journey of love.
“It’s all about redemption and rebirth and the opportunity that we all have to wake up and decide that we want to renew ourselves and become better people,” said Rodenbaugh.
This year COVID-19 threatened to cancel the production of what he calls one of the greatest Christmas stories ever told.
“We did a lot of soul-searching to figure out the right thing to do. Especially since it’s our tenth year so it was a lot of pressure to try to go ahead and do it,” he said.
The team was on board, but with major changes in the production.
“Masks all the time every time, every time, on stage and off,” said Rodenbaugh. “We don’t fill a theater more than a third full.”
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As for what happens during the performance, no more than 25 cast members will be on stage at all times. Visually, certain scenes will not look quite the same.
“The dances are actually very elegant, but they can’t touch. They have to remain away from one another,” he said.
As people in performing arts often do, they found a way to use what is now a part of everyday lives. Many of the face coverings will blend into the costume.
“The other nine years I would grow a big beard to play Scrooge,” said Rodenbaugh. “This year my mask is my beard. So, what we’ve done throughout a lot of the different roles is we’ve integrated masks into our costumes.”
Since 2011 and by the end of this year's schedule, Rodenbaugh will have taken the stage some 80 times, attended by over 10,000 patrons.
With just a third of the theater opened to the public, Rodenbaugh encourages people to tune into the first ever live-streamed performance. He said the community needs the performance more than ever this year.
“Tomorrow is another day. We can get through the difficulties,” he said. “But we can wake up tomorrow and life’s going to get good again.”
For information on showtimes and how to watch the performance on live-stream go to https://northtexasperformingarts.org/event/scrooge/