by Colleen McNamara, Asst. Sports Editor
New York City is known for bright lights, live entertainment, and unforgettable performances. This is all the more reason for the NYC community to look forward to in-person theatre, which might be coming soon.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is hopeful that New York City theatre will begin opening its doors to live performances with restrictions in place. The limited number of audience members allowed to watch live performances might need proof of negative COVID test results along with other precautions.
The New York City Ballet plans to look past their digital season ending in June 2021 and look forward to an Opening Night celebration and four-week fall program full of contemporary, comedic and favored performances, according to their website.
Matthew Blackwood, a theatre minor and house manager for Manhattan College Players is currently directing Manhattan College’s production of Marcus is Walking, a virtual show being performed this semester. He understands how theatre can be more difficult for those performing when it is entirely virtual.
“It is difficult as actors not being in the same room as the audience to feed off of, so I can’t imagine how exciting it might be to have a live audience and being with castmates,” Blackwood said.
Blackwood empathizes with professional actors and dancers after working with Manhattan College students to put on a production.
“I am excited and wary about the re-opening of productions, but if it is safe I am excited,” he said.
Jennifer Bueti, senior president of Manhattan College Singers and co-president of Scatterbomb, Manhattan College’s improv club, is thrilled that live theatre plans are underway.
“There’s nothing else like [a live performance] and it might be even better than it was before,” Bueti said.
Actors and ballerinas have trained their entire lives to showcase their craft in front of a live audience. Bueti spoke about how difficult it is to have to perform online after years of hard work.
“I feel horrible for them, they’ve been in the dark for so long, I can’t imagine the pain waiting to go back to perform,” Bueti said.
Bueti has attended the Met Opera and Who’s Afraid of Regina Wolf on Broadway in-person before all NYC theatres were shut down in mid-March.
“I would like to be one of the first to see a live performance again, but also might sit back and see the procedure and what happens, [and] will be in the second group of people watching the live performance,” Bueti said.
After the Superbowl hosted 22,000 fans, the theatre community is hopeful that they might also have live entertainment after months of uncertainty as to if NYC was ever going to have a live theater in the near future.
“I’m excited and I’m happy that New York City is waking up again,” Bueti said.
Joseph Bonaventura, a Junior mechanical engineer hopes to build sets for Broadway theatre in the future and is optimistic with the possible reopening. Bonaventura has seen Jersey Shore and Wicked on Broadway and plans on seeing more shows soon.
“I’m all for it, [Manhattan College students involved with theatre] all feel the same way, not having that in-person experience is so difficult,” Bonaventura said.
Manhattan College theatre group had their first rehearsal for the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex, which will be performed this spring. The cast will be performing in person and the play will be streamed to an online audience at the end of the semester.
“Just to have a rehearsal in-person with all the actors made me think, ‘Wow, I really missed all of you’. The staff and crew even stayed after rehearsal to catch up since we all have not been together in such a long time” Bonaventura said.
New York City has had plenty of time to develop creative alternatives in the meantime, such as Restart Stages, an initiative to create ten COVID-safe performance spaces in Lincoln Center.
The Restart Stages website says, “Fostering a dynamic environment for artists, community organizations, and audiences, Restart Stages is a welcoming and safe place for live performances, family activities, and civic engagement.”
Restart Stages, as an attempt to offer any type of NYC live entertainment, offers a variety of low-cost, outdoor events beginning on April 7, World Health Day. There is plenty to look forward to for professional performers, Manhattan College students, and the entire theater community.