After nearly three months, intermission is officially over for theaters and performance halls in Texas.
As of Wednesday, the state will allow “fine arts performance halls” to operate indoors at 50% capacity, according to Phase III of Governor Greg Abbott’s plan to reopen Texas amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
However, it may still take months before several venues begin to host live performances again.
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Perhaps the first scheduled theater performance in North Texas will be the production of “How I Got Over” at the Jubilee Theatre in Sundance Square in Fort Worth.
Originally set to debut on March 17, then rescheduled for May 29, the curtain for “How I Got Over” is now officially set to go up on Friday, June 19. Tickets go on sale Wednesday.
“[There is] great pride in knowing that we are the first out of the gate,” said Christie M. Howard, Managing Director of the Jubilee Theatre. “It’s also almost kind of like a glass ceiling; we’ve got to do this well.”
The Jubilee Theatre has made several investments to help encourage social distancing and safety since it was forced to close in mid-March. Plexiglass partitions have been installed between the public and the box office, as well as the concession stand in the lobby area. In the theater itself, which ordinarily seats 143 people, half of the seats have been blocked off in the effort to promote safe social distancing. Behind the scenes, the staff has added plexiglass partitions in between the sinks in the public restrooms, as well as in the actors’ dressing and makeup rooms.
Most of the productions that had been planned for the summer at other venues in the region have already been canceled, meaning that many venues will remain closed for the foreseeable future.
The Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth had been set to debut the smash Broadway production “Hamilton” on Tuesday night, but none of the touring companies are touring again. The Actors Equity Association, the labor union that represents live theatrical performers and stage managers, has yet to clear its 50,000-plus members to resume working.
Even if the actors were cleared to perform, and their traveling company was on the road, the 50% capacity limit makes staging an elaborate Broadway performance “not economically feasible,” according to a Bass Hall representative.