By Michael Moran
Long before Mrs. Doubtfire, Tootsie and Some Like It Hot, there was Charley’s Aunt. The stage comedy is a situation in which a male finds himself dressed as a woman – in this case, impersonating the aunt of a college pal. Charley’s Aunt, though, of another era…is also surprisingly fresh in our socially distanced restaging of the show as a live radio broadcast. This classic production is full of side splitting laughs that you will talk about long after the curtain closes. Charley’s Aunt is on stage at Cultural Park Theater in Cape Coral from Feb.4 through Feb. 14.
As the Cultural Park Theater reopened in accordance with and exceeding all guidelines for the performing arts, the safety of our audience, workers and performers has been and remains paramount. While we cannot be able to bring the risk to zero, we use every tool we have available to ensure safety. Sadly in doing so, we did find we had to close our second weekend of Little Shop of Horrors as our precautions are robust, and with patrons and performers safety first in mind, we felt the need to do so.
As we move forward you can expect …
We will screen every customer at the door.
There will not be exceptions. We will take your temperature with a touchless thermometer if your temperature is less than 100 degrees you may enter the theater. If you do not pass the screening we will offer to transfer your tickets, however we cannot refund them.
All customers and non-performing staff will be masked.
We do expect the use of cloth masks from our patrons covering their nose and mouth, including while they are seated watching the show, with exceptions for eating and drinking. If you have an ADA covered condition that prevents you from wearing a mask you are required to inform us prior to purchasing a ticket so that accommodations may be made if possible. We will not be able to make accommodations at the door as it may require the blocking off of certain sections of seats around you and your party.
We have fewer seats
We’ve measured distance around seats to ensure social distancing and we are operating at a 25% capacity so shows are likely to sell out quicker.
Our house will be open 45 minutes before the show, no matter what. We ask that you arrive a half hour before the show and immediately take your seat. Because we will be opening the house 45 minutes before the show, no matter what, you may see some technical problem solving that happens before every show that we would normally keep behind closed doors. This may be the tail end of a mic check, or the refocusing of a light. We hope you actually enjoy this added experience as it’s unusual for an audience to see!
Things will be a little different
We have removed most of the furniture from our lobby and ask that people only use our lobby to use our restrooms or to visit concessions. We ask that you remember to take your own trash from your seat when you leave and dispose of them in a trash can in our lobby. Please do not leave cups or torn tickets in your seating area.
We have some sad news about the remainder of our 2021 season. Due to several reasons, we cannot stage our spring musical Jekyll and Hyde. In compliance with our own and state guidelines for COVID-19 safety, we are only able to open at 25% capacity to allow for social distancing. We had planned our year, and our budget, hoping for over 70% capacity. We ran the numbers over and over again to try to make “ekyll and Hyde work and it just doesn’t. The only solution would have been to more than double the cost of our tickets, including re-asking subscribers. That didn’t seem fair. The show will be replaced with extra concert series performances,and we sure hope you choose this option as we desperately miss our audiences and our performers need you there. For those holding tickets for Jekyll and Hyde you may transfer your tickets into a donation or transfer your tickets into a gift certificate that never expires.
If a refund is your only option, please let the box office know. The Cultural Park Theater is located at 528 Cultural Park Blvd. Call the box office at 239-772-5862. Visit online at www.culturalparktheater.com
Michael Moran is executive director of the Cultural Park Theatre Company.