Road To Reopening: Broadway Palm Talks Bringing Performances Back To Ft. Myers

The dinner theatre originally resumed performances at 25% capacity last summer.

By: Jun. 11, 2021

Road To Reopening: Broadway Palm Talks Bringing Performances Back To Ft. Myers BroadwayWorld is checking in with theaters around the country as they prepare to reopen this summer. Next in our series we check in Melissa Vogt, the Director of Sales and Marketing at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre.

Broadway Palm is now celebrating its 28th Season. The theatre entertains over 170,000 guests annually. The facility includes a 450-seat dinner theatre, a 100-seat "black-box" theatre called The Off Broadway Palm Theatre, a 120 seat dining room called the Royal Palm and a 30-seat space just off the main lobby called, the Sabal Palm. The theatre can be found on Florida's Gulf coast between Tampa and Miami.

What has your theater's staff been up to over the past year?

We closed our doors on March 16, 2020 and while we were closed the majority of our staff was laid off with the exception of some of our management team. While we were closed, we hosted live cabarets on Facebook which was so great for team members to focus on and our customers enjoyed them immensely. As a dinner theatre, we were very lucky to be able to adjust our seating arrangement and re-open at 25% capacity on August 20, 2020 and happily brought back the majority of our employees.

How has the pandemic most affected your company?

Definitely financially. Not only did we have to close and had no income coming in, but we also had to cancel productions and refund tens of thousands of customers.

Road To Reopening: Broadway Palm Talks Bringing Performances Back To Ft. Myers
Broadway Palm's production of A BRONX TALE

Have you done any streaming theatre/events?

Beyond our virtual cabarets while we were closed, once we reopened we were able to live stream Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn and On Your Feet.

What have the audience reactions to any digital performances been like?

Audiences who weren't quite ready to be out and about yet were really happy to have the digital option. We also included some fun behind the scenes footage and cast interviews so it gave the streaming audiences a little more to enjoy as well.

What have you got coming up you're most excited to share with audiences?

We're thrilled to have Beehive the 60s Musical opening next week and then we'll be opening Grease on July 1st. We also have our entire 29th Season going on sale June 1st that includes some blockbuster hits such as Singin' in the Rain, In The Heights, Rock of Ages, The Wizard of Oz and more!

How did your venue come up with a reopening plan/covid safety plan?

We designated a member of our management team to all things Covid. He did an extraordinary amount of research and then worked together with key managers to create a reopening plan and health and safety guidelines.

Road To Reopening: Broadway Palm Talks Bringing Performances Back To Ft. Myers
Broadway Palm's production of ON YOUR FEET!

Will there be any adjustments in capacity or seating/vaccination or testing requirements?

We opened originally at 25% and have since increased our capacity to 50%. In the fall, we plan to move to 75% capacity. With the new CDC guidelines we are updating our mask policy and anyone who is fully vaccinate will not be required to wear a mask. We are requesting that guests who are not fully vaccinate wear a face mask when not eating or drinking. Proof of vaccination will not be required, but we ask that customers be respectful and responsible. Broadway Palm staff will be required to wear masks.

Will there be any changes to the on-stage aspects of the shows in response to the pandemic?

All cast members have been wearing face shields while performing, but with the opening of Beehive the cast will be fully vaccinated so we're thankful to eliminate those for this production.

Were there any COVID considerations in programming the upcoming season - selecting titles, etc?

Our current season was pretty much planned prior to Covid.

Will there be any changes to your ticketing policies, flexible rescheduling, etc?

We ask any customers that have been ill or showing symptoms of illness in the two weeks of leading up to their performance date to please call for a complimentary exchange.
How can audience members learn more and stay up to date?

Our Facebook page and website have all of the up to date information.

Here's a link to a list of all of our health and safety measures: