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The show(s) will go on at Sharon Playhouse this season, but will begin in August rather than June. Photo by Cynthia Hochswender

Sharon Playhouse announces its plans for summer season

SHARON — It is a tribute to Sharon Playhouse that area residents have been extremely keen to know whether the theater will continue with its summer season as planned.

This week, those plans were announced by Managing Director Robert Levinstein and Artistic Director Alan M-L Wager.

The original menu for this summer season included four major productions: “Singin’ in the Rain” (which was to open June 12), “Brigadoon” (July 10), “Mamma Mia” (July 31) and “Million Dollar Quartet” (Aug. 21).

 Out of concern for the safety of staff, performers, volunteers and theatergoers, a new plan has been devised. 

Unlike some area venues, which have said they will not open at all this summer, Sharon Playhouse will delay its opening until Aug. 7, when it will begin performances of “Mamma Mia.”  Rehearsals for the show, which includes New York City Actors Equity performers as well as many actor/singer/dancers from the Tri-state area, will likely begin July 27.

“This community is important to us and to the Sharon Playhouse,” Wager said in an announcement video posted on the Playhouse’s social media on Monday, April 26. “Therefore, we have chosen to stay positive and offer you a modification of our announced schedule.”

This is all, of course, contingent on the world returning to some semblance of normality by then.

Even if congregation on a large scale becomes acceptable again by the end of summer, Wager and Levinstein and the Playhouse Board of Directors are considering ways to maintain social distancing within the theater. 

“We’ve ordered hand sanitizer and masks, and we will Lysol the seats and every surface every night,” Levinstein said in an interview by telephone last week. “We will do whatever it takes to be sure everyone is safe.”

There is also a plan in place to reduce the number of seats sold for every given performance to enable more social distancing in the playhouse itself. 

“We know this will impact the revenue from ticket sales,” Levinstein said, “but we feel it’s important for people to feel safe when they enter the theater.”   

With limited ticket sales, the playhouse is hoping for continued donations to help bring a summer season to Sharon. They also hope to be able to do summer gatherings as early as July on the outdoor patio — with sufficient distance between seats. 

“We want to do some little shows for that, and have a food truck come, and have a little fun,” Levinstein said. 

“Mamma Mia” will be followed by “Million Dollar Quartet” and then one of the Playhouse’s popular Divas Go Hollywood shows. 

“It’s also our plan to continue with the children’s theater and a concert or two,” Wager said in the announcement video.

The children’s theater will be offered in August rather than July this year, Levinstein said. 

The Playhouse is taking its cues, to some degree, from Broadway, he added. 

Levinstein and Wager called all the performers who were scheduled to take part in this summer’s shows last week. 

“We were able to pay our Equity actors a portion of their pay and contribute to their health and pension for ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ and ‘Brigadoon,’” Levinstein said. “And for the non-Equity performers who are trying to join Equity, we were able to make an agreement with the union [Actor’s Equity] to give them two ‘points’ for each show they would have been in; the union gave us special dispensation to do that.”

Playhouse patrons who have already purchased individual or season tickets will also get a personal phone call to offer them some choices.

“We do want to honor those subscribers.”

Plans remain fluid and schedules could change. The Playhouse will abide by all state and town regulations and requests as well as all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. All updates will be announced on the Playhouse’s website and social media.

Wager and Levinstein have also been constantly posting on the theater’s social media with entertaining homegrown videos.

Subscribe to the Sharon Playhouse Facebook or Instagram accounts for updates as things change, and go to the theater’s website at www.sharonplayhouse.org for more information, to purchase tickets and/or make a donation.

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