Live theater back at Playhouse Square with ‘Choir of Man’ opening Friday night

Published: Jun. 8, 2021 at 1:55 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 10:58 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -The house lights are back on at the Mimi Ohio Theater in Playhouse Square again, as it prepares for its first live performance in more than a year.

It has been 65 long, quiet weeks since any cast and crew have taken the stage at Playhouse Square.

“It feels absolutely amazing to be back in a theater with all the lights on, the sound coming out of the sound system, and the guys sign and dance on the stage. It’s something all of us have missed for the last 18 months,” said Nic Doodson, Producer/Director for The Choir of Man.

Set in an Irish pub, The Choir of Man opens Friday, June 11.

Doodson said it’s an appropriate comeback show because it’s about community and getting together.

“All of us...we haven’t seen our friends, our family. We haven’t been able to share a beer and laugh and cry with our friends. It’s important now more than ever to celebrate that,” he said.

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Playhouse Square President and CEO, Gina Vernaci, says even though health orders have been lifted in Ohio they’ll keep capacity at 25 percent for the beginning of the show’s run.

“We have installed the latest technology for our HVAC systems, taken all the things that are necessary, because health and safety is our number one goal for everyone,” she said.

As part of the reopening process, they’ve upgraded the equipment here to make ticketing, bars and concessions as touchless as possible.

Vernaci says the community response indicates people are ready to come back to the theater again.

“The sales are really strong for The Choir of Man. Our season tickets sales for the Key Bank Broadway series, we’re at 91 percent of where we were two years ago,” Vernaci said.

While the show has been in production for years, it’s been 18 months since the cast has performed together.

“It takes time to get back into it. You have to get fit, just like an athlete who hasn’t run or hasn’t thrown a ball for 18 months. You have to get fit again,” said Doodson.

Currently, guests in the theater won’t have to wear a mask if they are vaccinated, though it’s recommended you wear a mask if you’re not. And masks are required for staff and volunteers if unvaccinated.

The show will run through at least July 11.

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