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Behind the Scenes at GODSPELL - "The whole industry needs this"

unclevictor
Chorus Member
joined:6/2/15
Chorus Member
joined:
6/2/15

This is so not ok.  

This looks absolutely ridiculous.  

I work in the arts, I am beyond supportive of the arts, but something about this seems so wrong.  

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temms
Broadway Star
joined:7/21/04
Broadway Star
joined:
7/21/04

The president of Actor's Equity and the Massachusetts State Health Department disagree with you.

I was supposed to work at BTG this summer doing another production which ended up being postponed, but I was involved in the discussions of how to safely do a musical right now in the world. They sincerely hoped to have done more than one show and had many different possible scenarios, but in the end decided to only do Godspell which even though it cost me work personally I think was the right decision.

I'm confident that this is being done by artists in a theatre that cares deeply about the health and safety of its employees and patrons and has used their non-commercial status to take some chances that other places wouldn't be able to; i.e., wholesale moving the production to a tent outside the venue and severely limiting the audience. Godspell is itself a very adaptable show and from moment one the concept was to do a production where everyone has to stay six feet apart - essentially, how do you find community and faith while physically distanced? 

It's all an experiment but someone has to be the first. In a way I'm glad I'm not one of the guinea pigs but it also is crushing my soul to not be working, even moreso than crushing my wallet. If this ends up being a bad idea I'm certain the plug will be pulled immediately, but this is happening in a part of the country where infections have been trending downward and the work really has been done to get to a place of safe reopening, unlike virtually everywhere else.

I'm following it closely and there are a lot of unanswered questions, but this is not being done lightly or frivolously or with anything but the strictest of standards on every level. And even that may prove to not be enough, but I can't imagine a safer or better scenario in which to take the first baby steps into how we might move forward. For Broadway to ever reopen, places like BTG will have to bite the bullet and get things moving. No commercial producer will attempt anything at all until something like this proves successful.

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Sutton Ross
Broadway Legend
joined:7/20/13
Broadway Legend
joined:
7/20/13

Im seeing this this weekend, I am beyond weirded out and excited. 

She/Her
SouthernCakes
Broadway Legend
joined:7/29/19
Broadway Legend
joined:
7/29/19
Do we need Godspell THAT bad? Oof. I’d rather just wait for a vaccine.
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LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
Broadway Legend
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As thorough as Paulson's article is, the whole thing just makes me sad.

"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
unclevictor
Chorus Member
joined:6/2/15
Chorus Member
joined:
6/2/15
No no no no and no.
It still looks absolutely ridiculous
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George in DC
Understudy
joined:5/21/19
Understudy
joined:
5/21/19

I want live theatre to back so badly, but not this badly. There are so many things wrong with this for me. I will be interested to hear from people who see it but, I wouldn't go.

Alex Kulak2
Broadway Legend
joined:9/11/16
Broadway Legend
joined:
9/11/16

Like the NYT article says, I think this production is an important and necessary test. Contact Tracing will show if this lead to new cases, or if the mitigation efforts can control the spread of the virus.

At the daily COVID briefing in Illinois, they mentioned a recent case study of two hairdressers who tested positive. Contact tracing found they had interacted with 139 clients, but since they both wore masks, not a single client got the virus.

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missthemountains
Leading Actor
joined:9/13/11
Leading Actor
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No show is worth potentially getting COVID for. I know someone has to be the first, but the first group should be on after a vaccine, or until the death rate is significantly lower at the very least. Because what happens if everyone gets it? It's an insurance nightmare. It's truly life or death circumstances. 

We shouldn't be encouraging people to gather in large groups and go to theatre right now. I'm sorry. It's not right. As painful as it is, we need to wait.

 

unclevictor
Chorus Member
joined:6/2/15
Chorus Member
joined:
6/2/15
IF this production was being done INSIDE with the correct # of crew members (SM’s, props people, carpenters, dressers, hair, makeup) and social distancing precautions were taken, then I’d say YEAH, let’s see if it works. Let’s test this out, but nothing about this outdoor production is that. The actors are quarantining together! Come on!
Someone commented that this production is necessary and a test. NO NO NO it’s not.
This is ridiculous
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blaxx
Broadway Legend
joined:6/28/05
Broadway Legend
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Behind the Scenes at GODSPELL -#12
Posted: 8/7/20 at 12:22am

I heard from a good source that they're rewriting the songs:

- God Save the Audience
- Prepare Ye (the way to the morgue)
- Cases rise Day by Day
- Turn Back, No Mask
- By My Side (but six feet apart)
- Learn Your Distance Well                                            - Oh Bless You, now go home                                        - All for the Pest 

Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it is "artistic". - JANICE
Updated On: 8/7/20 at 12:22 AM
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raddersons
Broadway Star
joined:11/14/13
Broadway Star
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Behind the Scenes at GODSPELL -#13
Posted: 8/7/20 at 10:32am

I'm of two minds. On one hand, I think it's a very important experiment that needs to be done. The government has made no indication of bailing out any arts institutions -- theater needs to save itself. The production is done outdoors where there is a significantly lower risk of spread, and for the most part seems like they are working hard with equity to maintain standards that can allow the production to proceed safely. If the show can operate safely... what's the harm?

On the other hand, some of the measures seem kinda pointless. Making sure the actors are maintaining a distance on stage, and certain rules about singing distances and masks... but then putting all of the actors in the same house? Maybe there are house rules that we don't know about (they can only see each other and congregate outside, etc.). I think it would be one thing if they decided to totally isolate the actors where they act as one bubble, but that's really not possible given the designers that need to come in contact with them.

I have a friend who has an extra ticket... I'm toying with the idea of going. I just miss theater so much, and considering this is outdoors and maintains distance between audience members, I don't see much risk for myself.

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ACL2006
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joined:2/11/06
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Behind the Scenes at GODSPELL -#14
Posted: 8/7/20 at 11:02am

I mean, someone had to be first. It's a bit late for other theaters to consider doing this at an outdoor venue. Unless it's Florida, Texas or Southern California, this may be the only professional show that gets put up this year in the US.

A Chorus Line revival played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013. Another non-equity tour launched on January 20, 2018. The tour ended its US run in Kansas City and then toured throughout Japan August & September 2018.
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George in DC
Understudy
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Behind the Scenes at GODSPELL -#15
Posted: 8/7/20 at 11:30am

Maybe not Equity, but there is more tlive heatre happening around the USA now. The American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Va is presenting "Otello" and "Twelfth Night" both outside and indoors.
Personally, you could not pay me to see this.

https://americanshakespearecenter.com/

 

Edit: Apparently ASC historically has hired both Equity and non Equity , and now some actors were forced to turn in their Union Card to participate:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/once-more-unto-the-breach-shakespeare-returns-to-the-shenandoah-valley/2020/07/08/7b2d3482-bd4c-11ea-80b9-40ece9a701dc_story.html

Updated On: 8/7/20 at 11:30 AM
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ACL2006
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Behind the Scenes at GODSPELL -#16
Posted: 8/7/20 at 11:44am

There's also the Surflight Theater in New Jersey that hired only non-union actors for their productions of Cabaret & Mamma Mia. They set-up an outdoor space which was actually knocked down on Tuesday due to the storm. 

 

There are a few non-union theaters that are doing shows now. Highly doubt there's much in terms of protocol or even if they are outdoors.

A Chorus Line revival played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013. Another non-equity tour launched on January 20, 2018. The tour ended its US run in Kansas City and then toured throughout Japan August & September 2018.
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Kad
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joined:11/5/05
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Behind the Scenes at GODSPELL -#17
Posted: 8/7/20 at 12:18pm

unclevictor said: "IF this production was being done INSIDE with the correct # of crew members (SM’s, props people, carpenters, dressers, hair, makeup) and social distancing precautions were taken, then I’d say YEAH, let’s see if it works. Let’s test this out, but nothing about this outdoor production is that. The actors are quarantining together! Come on!
Someone commented that this production is necessary and a test. NO NO NO it’s not.
This is ridiculous
"

I don't understand this reasoning at all. Outdoor productions with appropriate distancing are going to be safer than anything done indoors regardless of precautions taken. Those involved quarantining together as a bubble is safer than them being left to their own devices to wander around- and they're being regularly tested.

Although this article details some of the precautions, I can assure you that they are far more extensive than what was described. Equity has set an extremely high expectation for safety measures, which is why only two companies have been granted approval thus far- and it's no coincidence that both are in the Berkshires, a less urban area with fewer people coming in from densely populated areas.
 

"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."
Updated On: 8/7/20 at 12:18 PM
SouthernCakes
Broadway Legend
joined:7/29/19
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Behind the Scenes at GODSPELL -#18
Posted: 8/7/20 at 1:24pm
There’s a lot of theater happening - but it’s 99% all non-union. Just look at Florida!
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Sutton Ross
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Behind the Scenes at GODSPELL -#19
Posted: 8/7/20 at 2:04pm

Ew

She/Her