As the summer season begins to bloom, the Academy of Performing Arts in Orleans has some summer shows and classes scheduled that have been over a year in the making.
In spring 2020, Academy Board of Trustees President Judy Hamer explained, the plan was to stage an in-person performance of “The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet.” COVID-19 soon put those plans into storage.
“A year later, we're bringing it again, and the people in the cast have been doing this for a year now,” Hamer said. “It’s very exciting! We didn't know until recently whether or not we would be able to do an inside show.”
Hamer explained that the Academy of Performing Arts board had a meeting last weekend to decide on the protocol they felt most comfortable with for in-person performances this summer. It was agreed that shows would go forward with a limited capacity, somewhere in the ballpark of 50 to 75 percent capacity. She said that audience members would be encouraged to wear masks but not required to do so.
“The limited capacity, we feel, will be a way of helping people to feel a little bit more comfortable about coming to see a live performance indoors,” Hamer explained. She also said that all of the cast members have been fully vaccinated and will therefore perform maskless.
“The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet” is a reimagining of Shakespeare's tragic story of young love that includes rhymed couplets, creative wordplay, and fantastical, colorful machines that look like they may have wobbled and squeaked straight out of the pages of a book by Dr. Seuss. The show will take place July 1 to 11 on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. and on Sundays at 2 p.m.
Next up will be an old favorite, “Charlotte's Web,” the well-loved story of Wilbur the pig, Fern the young farm girl, and a plan to avoid the butcher's shop through the help of Charlotte, a spider who turns out to be “a true friend and a good writer.” The show will take place Aug. 13 to 29 on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. and on Sundays at 2 p.m.
Finishing up the abbreviated summer season will be a long-awaited musical “Nunsense” on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 2 to 12. The Little Sisters of Hoboken are ready to present a musical revue that is both wholesome and hilarious.
“We usually do two big musicals in summer, but we don't feel like we can right now,” Hamer said. “We couldn't do a musical prior because of the COVID-19 restrictions, so we decided on a small musical at the end of the summer.”
Hamer said that the best way to purchase tickets is online. Buying tickets by telephone may be difficult, as the box office is still short staffed due to COVID-19. She said that walk-up ticket sales will be welcomed at performance time.
The Academy will also offer virtual class starting July 6, with the possibility of hybrid or in-person classes as the summer progresses. Keep up to date on the offerings by visiting academyplayhouse.org/classes, or visit the Academy Playhouse on Facebook at facebook.com/apacape. At this time, the planned classes include creative movement, ballet, ukulele, guitar, auditioning 101, musical theater through the ages, musical theater audition camp, costume design, and drama club. Register for classes at academyplayhouse.org/classes.
“It's certainly been an interesting year,” Hamer said, “I just can't wait for the end of June! We're excited to welcome everyone back to live performances and classes in person."
Academy of Performing Arts
120 Main St., Orleans