EAST LANSING, Mich. — The live entertainment industry has seen dark stages for nearly 11 months due to the pandemic. But this fall, the Wharton Center for Performing Arts is anticipating that the curtain will finally lift again.
The Wharton Center is aiming to reopen in September.
"We've been spending 11 months canceling shows and moving them," Executive Director Mike Brand said.
However, he says there are a few things that need to happen before they can reopen.
“Gov. [Gretchen] Whitmer has to open the venues, of course, in the next few months," he said. MSU President Samuel Stanley "has to open Michigan State University because it’s basically closed to large gatherings at this point. And there has to be enough people, both in the industry and in our audiences all across that United States that have been vaccinated.”
Brand also said precautions will be put in place such as sanitizing the theater before shows, during intermission and after shows, as well as possibly wearing masks.
“I think our staff will be wearing masks, and we’ll encourage people to wear masks in the beginning," he said.
If reopening goes as planned, this will be the first time two show seasons have been combined. Shows that will be coming to the stage include:
- Pretty Woman - Sept. 14-19
- Cats - Jan. 4-9, 2022
- Frozen - Jan. 27-Feb. 6, 2022
- Dear Evan Hansen - May 17-22, 2022
- Davina & The Vagabonds and Hot Club of Cowtown – November 4, 2021
- The Klezmatics – November 10, 2021
As this long intermission comes to an end, Brand says he's excited to bring more staff members back and get back to a little normalcy.
“That’s going to be so exciting to get up in the morning and be normal," he said.
Updates on the Wharton Center's reopening can be found on the theater's website and social media pages.