As COVID-19 numbers drop in the central Indiana area, theater and concert venues are beginning to bring back live audiences with reduced capacity.
The Center for the Performing Arts announced March 26 it will present an “Evening with Michael Feinstein and Special Guest Melissa Manchester” May 15. It’s the first “Center Presents” concert with an on-site audience since the pandemic began in mid-March 2020. There will capacity restrictions to allow for social distancing.
“As a venue operator, we are eager to welcome our patrons back as soon as that can be done safely and consistent with federal, state and local guidance,” Center for the Performing Arts President/CEO Jeffrey McDermott said. “We recognize that some patrons will remain cautious and hesitant to return immediately, while others are looking forward to seeing live performances as soon as they are available. We will continue to follow all best practices, using all information available to us, as we navigate the return. Artists and their representatives consistently tell us they are eager to perform before live audiences again. They have been hampered in setting up touring routes because of the varying COVID restrictions from state to state where they would perform.
“For instance, some states require artists to quarantine once they arrive while others do not, making it difficult to book a logical touring route.
McDermott said the Center has presented many free livestream performances as part of the “Live at the Center” series.
McDermott said the Center is in the process of booking a full season.
“Currently, we have 25 ‘Center Presents’ performances booked for the 2021-2022 season, primarily in the fall,” he said. “We have over 30 additional offers outstanding to artists who are developing their tours, so we plan to fill out the spring schedule as the year continues.
“Barring unforeseen developments, we plan to make an initial season announcement in June.”
Carmel Symphony Orchestra held its first in-person concert March 13, which was its first since November 2020.
“Our resident companies are beginning to perform again before live audiences with great success,” McDermott said. “Physical distancing still applies, which limits capacity, but patron response has been strong. We have been both pleased and proud of the manner in which our patrons are adhering to our safety protocols as they enter our venues and enjoy our resident company offerings.”
Tickets starting at $35 go on sale at 10 a.m. April 2 at thecenterpresents.org and by phone at 317-843-3800. Livestream access is available for $25 per household.
The Indianapolis Opera was scheduled to restart “Sundays at the Basile” series March 28 with resident artists.
“It’s an opera highlights concert at Basile Opera Center with piano, singers, sets,” Indianapolis Opera General Director David Starkey said. “It will be a small crowd of 60 people.”
The next event is set for 3 p.m. April 25 outside of the Basile Opera Center in Indianapolis. Starkey hopes for approximately 100 people. The event is free, but Indianapolis Opera accepts donations for its education program. Starkey said the company is performing neighborhood concerts throughout the Indianapolis area at retirement communities and neighborhood community centers.
“We’ll abide by distancing and masking,” Starkey said.
The opera will have its first performances May 14-16 at the Indianapolis Zoo with “Madame Butterfly.”
“The zoo has a large outdoor pavilion. It would normally hold about 2,000 people,” Starkey said. “The zoo is significantly involved in the planning of this. We are doing three evenings of a concert version of ‘Madame Butterfly’ with singer, orchestra, chorus and lights and theatrical elements. The architecture and acoustics of the space are extremely attractive.”
Starkey said he expects seating will be for 350 people per show. People can sit in chairs spaced apart or at bistro tables.
“It’s designed to have a wide range of interest and price points,” Starkey said.
For more, visit indyopera.org.
Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre will reopen with “Smoke on the Mountain” May 4 to June 20. Beef & Boards reopened for a month in July 2020 but closed in August because of capacity reductions.
Westfield Playhouse returned to live performances with 50 percent capacity earlier this month.
Indianapolis Ballet will present four performances of “Grace to Grandeur” April 16-18 at The Toby at Newfields with 30 percent capacity, an estimated 160 seats.
Actors Theatre of Indiana Drive-Ins will return with outdoor shows at Carmel’s Monon Square Shopping Mall planned for May 14, June 18 and July 16. ATI debuted the series in September 2020. The May 14 concert will feature themed music of cars and surfing.