THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
‘The 12 Dates of Christmas’ Production Cancelled • ‘Sounding Joy: A Virtual Cabaret’ Moving Forward
19th November, 2020 0
After 7 months closed to the public, Pit & Balcony was elated to open their doors again on November 3rd this year and was moving forward with staging performances for The Twelve Dates of Christmas, which would have been the regional premier of a truly novel holiday production.
Just two weeks later, however, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer through a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Epidemic Order forced the closure of all entertainment venues, which has resulted in the cancellation of these performances, which were slated to be staged both virtually and to a limited number of live attendees.
“It’s really very frustrating,” says Amy Spadafore, Managing Director. “The one thing that we need is the ability for our community to gather together and that is the one thing that is unsafe to do right now. The orders and guidelines which kept everyone safe for seven months and helped our community reach a point where arts organizations like Pit & Balcony could reopen have been revoked with no
replacement. We need the community to come together again to flatten the curve and we need federal, state, and local leadership to step up and provide us with support and resources to do so.”
Over the weekend, Pit & Balcony presented their first ever virtual production and would be moving quickly into the final weeks of rehearsal for their December production of The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Ginna Hoben. Unfortunately, the MDHHS order prohibits the types of gatherings which are required for rehearsals, so Pit & Balcony has made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel the production in its entirety.
Spadafore met virtually with the cast and production team Monday night after the order was issued to break the news to them.
“I told them, ‘I hate having this meeting. This is the third time I’ve had to do this and it doesn’t get easier. But it is the right thing to do.’ Having to tell a group of eager and talented volunteers who have been working so hard to provide a sense of relief and source of revelry to their community that all their efforts are for naught is disheartening to say the least.”
There is a silver lining, however. Pit & Balcony will be presenting Sounding Joy: A Virtual Cabaret on December 11-13. This entirely virtual production will feature performers from all over the country who have graced the Pit & Balcony stage at one time or another. The event will be reminiscent of holiday TV specials and will be presented free to the public (with suggested donation).
“We refuse to give up,” Spadafore says. “We have a responsibility and have made a commitment to our community to provide whatever sense of hope, peace, or normalcy we can during these times. The world needs art now more than ever and, come Hell or high water, we are going to give it to them.”
Decisions regarding the remainder of the season will be made on a show-by show basis with the best interests of the community in mind. The titles, dates, and formats of the remaining productions are subject to change and every effort will be made to produce to the broadest audience possible. Pit & Balcony’s staff will be working remotely until at least December 9th. Office hours are 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm Tuesday-Thursday.
Patrons with tickets to the upcoming production will be contacted personally to review their options. If you would like to support Pit & Balcony at this time, please consider purchasing a gift certificate or making a donation at www.pitandbalconytheatre.com or by calling 989.754.6587 or
With so much of our traditional Christmas holiday forming a tenuous tapestry of carolers social distancing and Santa uncertain how many children he’ll be able to have sit on his lap, Pit & Balcony have decided to break fresh ground and stage an innovative approach to celebrating the musical fellowship, creative legacy, and sense of community that we all share during this special time of the year.
Sounding Joy: A Virtual Cabaret is a series of virtual performances that will take place Friday - Sunday, December 11-13th at 7:30 PM, except for a 3.00 PM matinee performance on Sunday.
According to P&B Director Amy Spadafore, “The idea here is that we’re all lacking connection right now with COVID, so we decided to take a step back and look at how we’re actually connected in ways we normally wouldn’t be. For much of the year we’ve been staying connected with people in our families and those that are close to us no matter where they are throughout the country through live-streaming, so we decided to connect with Pit & Balcony artists who performed on our stage no matter where they are located currently.”
“Some of the people we’ll be featuring include Danessa Hellus, who is actually in New York now; Andrew Fergerson who’s in Orlando, Spencer Beyerlein, Danielle Katsoulos, Aidan Montgomery, Ann Russell-Lutenske, Lexie Schultz, Ryan Sequin, Erin Whitfield, and Sara Taylor, and Chad William Baker along with myself will serve as the hosts,” she continues.
“This gives us a rare opportunity to feature nine outstanding vocalists, plus we’ve secured Sara Taylor who’s served as a long time music director at P&B and worked at all the theaters in the region. We’ll be able to do some cool video and this will come together like your typical holiday TV special, with a focus on the music.”
“Each person will be singing a different holiday tune ranging from the traditional and popular to some not so popular; and Chad and I will be the closest we get to staging any skits,” she smiles. “This will be a donation based event instead of a ticketed event and we’ll suggest a five dollar donation. Patrons will be able to choose their donation levels and we will be streaming it on Showtix, which people can find on our website.”
“Pulling it together has been a challenge,” concludes Amy, “but everyone involved is inspired. This will be a great way to see performers in a way you don’t get to in a usual and traditionally produced live cabaret; and it gives us the performers an opportunity to get creative and explore.
Jeff Carpenter is doing a lot of the editing and this is beyond anything Pit & Balcony has done before, which is kind of exciting!”
Like they say: ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste!’
Tickets for ‘The Twelve Dates of Christmas’ and ‘Sounding Joy: A Virtual Cabaret’ can be purchased by phoning 989.654.6587 or visiting PitandBalconyTheatre.com
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