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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Local performance scene showing signs of returning to live, in-person shows

Critic At Large

Attic Chamber Theatre details its protocols

Attic Chamber Theatre play poster and Weidner Center for the Performing Arts logo.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Slowly by slowly, live performances are turning up in the calendar for Northeastern Wisconsin.

Touring productions still are stifled by multiple complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s local folks who are getting into the act.

Here is an overview of the happenings. Keep in mind situations can change.

+ Announced today, Attic Chamber Theatre set two plays for the James Perry Theatre at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Fox Cities in Menasha. Info: attictheatreinc.com.

“Jeeves at Sea,” 7:30 p.m. July 13-17, is a comedy from P.G. Wodehouse stories adapted by Margaret Raether. Directing is Tom Stadler, who directed and starred in “Jeeves Intervenes” in 2019.

“The Lifespan of a Fact,” 7:30 p.m. Aug. 17-21, is a farce – a “brainy Broadway hit” – written by a collaborative. Directing is Berray Billington, troupe president.

Along with the play announcements, Billington sends this letter, which provides a view into what the local performance scene is facing:

Dear Friends,

I am writing to you today to update you as to what we have been working on, the challenges we are facing as we examine our reopening options and ultimately, what the summer may look like for Attic Chamber Theatre. We all know that vaccines are being deployed, but even with these miracle drugs, they are not 100% so safety must be the number one concern on all our minds. Our protocols will include the following:

· COVID-19 screening and vaccine reporting. All actors and staff will have been tested for COVID-19 or have record of vaccination completion, Stage manager of shows will take temperatures before each rehearsal and record it. Records will be kept and available for inspection.

· Social Distanced Seating Charts. All performances this summer will be in the James Perry Theatre to allow for optimum social distancing. Six feet between seats is the standard and required. Couples and family units up to four people can be reserved together.

· Smaller Productions – we are looking at a variety of smaller productions which would require minimal production values, crew and no intermission. We have also been busy looking at plays which could work as virtual streaming and audio play readings should we be unable to gather together in person.

· Masking Protocol – All patrons and staff will be required to be masked at all times while inside the theater or restrooms. Failure to do so will result in your removal from the venue.

· No box office – all tickets will need to be purchased in advance and through the website or by phone. No walk-up sales will be allowed. No cash sales, credit card and check only.

· No concessions will be for sale, the lobby is merely a pass-through to the theater. Gathering in the lobby will not be allowed.

We know that whatever we may do in 2021 will not resemble anything we have done before. We ask for your understanding, in addition to your patience, for it is going to take all of us, coupled with infinite amounts of ingenuity and adaptability, to make this work. We promise to keep you informed as we come to conclusions on the summer and autumn before us. Thank you in advance for sticking by our side and continuing to support Attic Chamber Theatre.

+ Announced today, the Weidner Philharmonic will present “Walton’s Façade: An Entertainment” at 3 p.m. May 23 in the Billie Kress Amphitheater of Green Bay Botanical Garden.

According to a press release: The concert will mark the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts’ first in-person live performance in more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To comply with safety policies, the concert will implement staggered admissions and socially distanced seating. Masks will be mandatory for concert attendees when moving from one location to another outside or inside any buildings. More about the Green Bay Botanical Garden’s COVID-19 policies: gbbg.ort/coronavirus/.

“Walton’s Facade: An Entertainment” is a series of poems by Edith Sitwell (1887-1964), accompanied by instrumentals composed by William Walton (1902-1983). Despite being highly controversial for its absurdist avant-garde nature upon its debut in 1922, “Walton’s Façade: An Entertainment” survived its notoriety to become an essential tongue-in-cheek classic. 

Conducted by Randy Meder, featured Weidner Philharmonic performers include Kortney James (flute), Rich Tengowski (clarinet), Sam Stranz (saxophone), Adam Gaines (trumpet), Michael Dewhirst (cello) and Bill Sallak (percussion). Narration is by Courtney Sherman joined by a surprise guest narrator.

Tickets go on sale Tuesday, April 6, at 10 a.m. and may be purchased at ticketstaronline.com. 

The Weidner Philharmonic features University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Music faculty and other accomplished orchestral musicians who live and work in the region.

+ The Grand Oshkosh will host “STEEM – Michael Bailey, Steve March-Tormé and Band” at 7:30 p.m. April 9. Info: thegrandoshkosh.org.

The show first was successfully presented March 4 at the Meyer Theatre in Green Bay. (My review).

The Grand Oshkosh also will host a visiting act from Chicago, “Too Good to Be True – An Evening of Theatre with the Four C Notes” (Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons tribute show) at 7:30 p.m. April 16.

+ Daddy D Productions of Green Bay will host another visiting act, Faith’s Journey: “Branson Gospel” from Branson, Missouri, April 24 (5 p.m. dinner, 6 p.m. show) and April 25 (noon meal, 1 p.m. show) at the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay. Info: daddydproductions.com.

Daddy D Productions has shows of its own scheduled in May, August, September and October.

+ Box in the Wood Theatre Guild of Shawano will present four productions in Franklin Park this summer – 1 p.m. June 12 and 26, July 10 and Aug. 28.

This from the Shawano County Arts Council: “We are hoping to perform different vignettes each weekend but may offer encore performances if the cast is all available.”

Auditions are April 20. Info: shawanoarts.com.

+ The Forst Inn Arts Collective in Tisch Mills has a full slate of performances going in its small theater. Next is “Forst Inn Sings The Beatles,” April 10-11, with both shows sold out.

In the near future is the two-person Bernard Slade play “Same Time Next Year” in seven performances starting April 17.

Much more is scheduled. Info: forstinn.org.

+ Plymouth Arts Center has two events in the works. Info: plymoutharts.org.

“An Evening of the Classics: Joseph Sartori Concert Series” with area performing artists, 7:30 p.m. April 10, and the rescheduled “Sentimental Journey in Song” with Celtic Folk at 7:30 p.m. April 13, 20 and May 1 and 2:30 p.m. May 2.

+ Broadway Theatre in De Pere is continuing its local artist series. Info: birderonbroadway.org.

Next are 7000apart and Emily Holland at 7:30 p.m. April 10 and Erin Krebs Quartet at 7:30 p.m. April 24.

Also scheduled is a youth production of “Peter Pan Jr.” in eight performances April 16-24.

+ Meyer Theatre in downtown Green Bay has hosted live, in-person shows of Let Me Frank Productions show troupe of Green Bay since July 31, 2020. Info: meyertheater.org. The latest is “My Big Fat Pulaski Wedding: 10 Year Reunion”(my review)continuing to April 17. Info: meyertheater.org.

+ The Green Room Lounge is presenting ComedyCity and other attractions on select dates, the next being April 10. Info: thegreenroomonline.com.

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