Photo: Courtesy, TheatreSquared
As they say in the theater world, the show must go. Now, more than six months after last hosting live theatrical productions, TheatreSquared has announced its plans for a return.
Revised TheatreSquared Season
All events will a hybrid experience with limited in-person seating and simultaneous live streams of the shows.
Oct. 7 – Nov. 1 – “Ann” (an encore performance)
Nov. 18 – Dec. 13 – “The Half Life of Marie Curie”
Dec. 2-27 – “A Christmas Carol”
Feb. 10 – March 28 – “School Girls: Or, the African Mean Girls’ Play”
March 3-21 – “My Father’s War”
April 14 – May 16 – “Designing Women” (a world premiere performance)
April 28 – June 13 – “At the Wedding”
May (dates still TBA) – “Pass Over,” newly added to the 2020-21 season
June 16 – July 18 – “Matilda: The Musical”
Aug. 11 – Sept. 5 – “American Mariachi”
Fall 2021 (dates TBA) – “Twelfth Night”
T2 will return by hosting a series of streaming events, then transition to hybrid live/streaming productions later in the year. The arts organization said these plans were made after consulting with theater unions and medical professionals to make sure their plans were safe. The company’s 2020-21 season, which was originally announced just weeks before COVID-19 swept through the country and temporarily shuttered live event venues like T2, has been reshuffled to accommodate artist availability and also to make sure that smaller cast size shows take place first. All of the titles on the amended schedule but one, “Pass Over,” will be familiar to those who saw last year’s season announcement.
As science narrows in on methods that limit the spread of COVID-19, including wearing masks and staying six feet apart, the theater company also began gaining confidence in a way to continue with a season. Beginning with a streaming-only encore production of “Ann,” the venue will then host a live-stream-only production of “The Half-Life of Marie Curie” beginning Nov. 18. The first hybrid event with in-person attendance is currently slated to be “A Christmas Carol,” which begins Dec. 2.
While TheatreSquared isn’t the first small-scale venue to reopen, it is setting precedence in the area. T2 marketing manager Joanna Sheehan Bell said the venue has consulted with health and theater professionals to come up with the procedures going into effect in Fayetteville. All patrons will be six feet apart from each other in the venue, with the exception of those who live together. All in-person attendees must wear a mask for the duration of the show. On-stage performers will not wear masks, but they will be 12 feet from the nearest audience member. That distance is greater than at previous T2 shows, but altered to provide a safer experience.
Each of the shows announced during T2’s initial season unveiling have found their way back on the schedule with the exception of “Violet,” which was to begin in late September. New to the schedule, however, is “Pass Over,” a play by Antoinette Nwandu. The play was later filmed for the small screen by Spike Lee and is the tale of two black men awaiting an uncertain fate in an unnamed American city. It will be staged next May.
Meanwhile, T2 has attempted to preserve special moments. The company was promised the debut performance of the stage version of “Designing Women,” adapted by the television show’s original showrunner, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason. The debut will still be in Fayetteville, but in April 2021 instead of August 2020.
The schedule is set, and the live-stream-only production of “Ann” is already on stage. TheatreSquared promises to continue to monitor on-the-ground conditions in Fayetteville, and they are poised to re-engineer a season yet again should case numbers continue to surge in Washington County, which is where the company calls home.