On March 11th, 2020, WHO (The World Health Organization) “declares Covid-19 a Pandemic”. Essentially, our world as we know it began to change and shut down in a way that we had not seen since the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. While restaurants and other businesses have started to open back up, community theatre and Broadway have been the last few things to open. It’s incredibly challenging to find a way to sing, dance, and act close together with other people while also staying safe during the pandemic.
Theatre people all over the country were out of jobs, and community theatre members were not allowed to perform in shows. Unfortunately, the pandemic caused several Broadway shows to officially close. While these shows were going to close soon, the pandemic caused the shows to close much earlier. One example of this happening to a show was the musical, Beetlejuice starring Alex Brightman as Beetlejuice himself and Sophia Anne Caruso as Lydia Deetz. (Although Presley Ryan was portraying Lydia Deetz when the show officially closed). Beetlejuice was slated to officially close on June 7th, but their final performance was March 11th. For quite a while, theatre seemed like it was never going to come back, not just on Broadway, but also in local theatres.
Finally, the day came, and there was some light in the theatre world! Broadway theatres officially stated that shows will not begin until at least sometime in June 2021. The theatres cannot promise the official start in the spring. However, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is hopeful that Broadway shows can be in full swing by the fall. Thankfully, Furman’s Pauper Players stated that the show must go on! Pauper Players hasn’t been able to do a full show since fall 2019. They were finally able to perform Little Women: The Musical (a concert version) this spring, on April 10th. The show had been cast roughly a year ago to be performed in the fall of 2020, but due to covid was pushed back until the 2021 spring.
Although theatre is one of the slowest things to come back to our world as we know it, there are hundreds of thousands of people keeping theatre alive in new ways that we’ve never seen before. Did anyone else see the wonderful Ratatouille: The Musical online? No, just me? The online musical began with one schoolteacher, Emily Jacobsen, who truthfully posted the TikTok video of her singing as Remy the rat to be funny, and theatre lovers everywhere took the idea and ran with it. People everywhere were dueting the original video and singing as the ensemble or choreographing dances to the songs. Eventually, a West End director, Lucy Moss, pieced all of the songs together to create the Ratatousical! It goes to show that no matter what the circumstances may be, theatre will continue to live on in our crazy world.