A look at an Equity-approved musical, an immersive experiment, and an amateur teen show.
Six months into the COVID era, there are already multiple approaches to putting on a show without endangering performers, crew, or audiences.
A production of Godspell in New England adhered to strict Equity guidelines by submitting detailed health and safety plans. Elsewhere, Broadway artists—led by Tony-nominated director Michael Arden—went upstate to experiment with a variety of production techniques. And in the Bronx, teens at a JCC presented Rent: School Edition.
Here’s how theatre is evolving in this pandemic, proving that the show can—and will—go on.
Equity’s First Approved Musical From the Eyes of Its Choreographer Prior to March 13, choreographer Gerry McIntyre had five jobs lined up for the summer 2020 theatre festival season. When the pandemic hit, he lost all but one: Godspell at Berkshire Theatre Group (which ended its extended run September 20) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Without hesitation, McIntyre stayed on the team, but there were several hurdles to making sure this production could actually open. It required approval from a number of agencies, all of which were working independently from each other.
“It started with a no from Equity, then a maybe; then a no from Massachusetts, and then on a Friday, the Governor [Charlie Baker] said yes; and on Monday, my union said no because they didn’t feel it was safe for me, then Wednesday they said yes; and I left Sunday and had two weeks to get the show up.”
So what exactly does Godspell look like in the middle of the pandemic?
“I felt like I won a booby prize,” says McIntyre. “All my friends were so excited for me and then when I told them about restrictions they said, ‘Oh good luck.’” Among the restrictions were no physical touching at all—no kissing, no lifts, nothing.