The shows will go on — but not in the same style as before.
The Temple Civic Theatre recently announced its Main Series Season’s six shows for 2020-2021, a list mostly consisting of plays. Changes have been made to both the season and the theatre’s operations to better account for the impacts of the coronavirus.
Dan Becker, president of the theatre’s Board of Governors, said he is excited for the new season, but the theatre has been forced to rethink some of its decisions on which productions to put on.
“The six shows that we picked for the most part are mostly plays because musicals have larger casts and larger crews,” Becker said. “When Gov. (Greg) Abbott started opening things up, we got a little bit more optimistic, and decided to start planning a season where we could continue to make revenue and the audience could continue to enjoy the theatre but also keep it as safe as possible.”
Becker said one of the ways the theatre is planning on preventing the spread of the virus is by putting a transparent barrier in between the audience members and the performers.
Seating for performances will now need to be handled personally by theatre staff as they look to fit in as many attendees as they can while remaining socially distant. To help increase capacity more seating will be placed on the theatre’s thrust stage, making the stage more in line with traditional theatres.
Becker said the theatre’s first play of the season is special because it is the premier of a play jointly written by longtime member Gary Gosney and Marjie Rynearson, the theatre’s founder who died last year. The play, “The Other Side of Nothing,” is about an author and a dentist finding love while having familial problems.
Auditions for the play will be held on Aug. 16 and Aug. 17, with performances held between Oct. 9 and Oct. 18.
The theatre’s second play will be “Last of the Red Hot Lovers,” which centers around a middle-aged married man who wants to join the sexual revolution before it’s too late.
Auditions for the play will be held on Sept. 27 and Sept. 28, with performances taking place Nov. 13 through Nov. 22.
“Inherit the Wind” will be the third play performed by the theatre, with the play having its origins in the famous Scopes trial. The play will focus on a teacher on trial for teaching his students about evolution, with prosecutors coming to support creationism.
Auditions for the play will take place next year on Jan. 3 and Jan. 4 and the performances are set to run Feb. 12 through Feb. 21.
The fourth play, “Leading Ladies,” focuses on two Shakespearean actors who try and pass themselves off as the nieces of a wealthy dying old lady to try and get her fortune. The play’s auditions will take place next year on Feb. 21 and Feb. 22, with performances taking place between April 9 and April 18.
“Steel Magnolias,” the theatre’s fifth play, focuses on a group women whose friend decides to risk pregnancy and her life while having diabetes. Auditions are set to be held next year on March 21 and March 22, with performances held between May 7 and May 16.
The musical, “Guys and Dolls,” will be the theatre’s last performance of the season with it being the only musical as Becker said he hopes the coronavirus will be over by that time. The musical is a romantic comedy set in New York City following a gambler who tries to set up the biggest game of craps in town. Auditions for the musical will take place next year between May 23 and May 24, with performances between July 16 and Aug. 1.
While the theatre could not finish the rest of its season as scheduled, Becker said it does plan on going forward with performances of “Beehive: the 60s Musical” in September with the new restrictions. The play will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 11, Sept. 12, Sept. 17, Sept. 18 and Sept. 19 and at 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 13.
A staged reading of the play “Same Time, Next Year” will be held by the theatre as a fundraiser at 7:30 p.m. on July 31 and Aug. 1 and at 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 2.
The theatre will also be hosting a “Live from Temple, it’s Saturday Night Theatre” livestreamed during which four vocalists, Priscilla Santana, Dr. Sara Baker, John Mischtian and Gabor Nicholson will be singing various songs accompanied by Dr. Ben Irom. The event will be free but the theatre will be taking donations.
To help the theatre buy protective equipment it is also asking residents to go to its website and donate directly. Residents can donate at https://bit.ly/3iLxobs.