GREEN BAY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Brown County

Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Reflecting on Thanksgiving time performances of 2020

Critic At Large

A year makes a significant difference

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – This Thanksgiving week is very much different than 2020.

One big difference is on the holiday performance scene.

Right around Thanksgiving is when a great variety of performances pop.

It’s the time of the year when thousands of people are swept into being on stage or enjoying an outing as a family.

Not so in 2020.

A few reminders of the COVID-19 impact:

Last year, The Dance Company of greater Green Bay couldn’t put on the famous “Nutcracker” ballet for the first time in 42 years.

The Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra performed in the Weill Center but without a live, in-person audience, only virtually.

St. Norbert College’s popular Knights on Broadway show troupe created a video of its annual high-demand show.

UW-Green Bay and UW-Oshkosh Theatre programs put on terrific productions, but they were recorded for the screen.

Many musicians and actors performed wearing masks in various settings.

Troupes such as the professional Play-by-Play Theatre of greater Green Bay improvised, offering four one-act plays on a weekend, virtually.

By this time last year, COVID-19 had wiped out almost 800 productions and 2,635 performances in Northeastern Wisconsin.

I estimate the tolls are at least 1,679 productions and 5,259 performances as of last week.

Two companies in the region continued performing live, in-person shows, though with audiences of restricted size due to protocol – Frank Hermans’ Let Me Be Frank Productions and Darren Johnson’s Daddy D Productions.

This year, protocols still are often in place, but much action is returning.

For many performers and performing companies, more meaning is added to their Thanksgiving Day 2021.

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