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BWW Interview: Blue Gate Hospitality VP, Andrew Rohrer, Talks A Safe Return to The Theatre and THE GÜT LIFE

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The Güt Life is currently playing until September 25th at the Blue Gate Music Hall, in Shipshewana.

BWW Interview: Blue Gate Hospitality VP, Andrew Rohrer, Talks A Safe Return to The Theatre and THE GÜT LIFE

The Güt Life is currently playing until September 25th at the Blue Gate Music Hall, in Shipshewana, Indiana making its theatrical debut. The Blue Gate Restaurant and Theatre is the first venue in Southern Michigan/ Northern Indiana to open back up, and I couldn't be more excited to have a show to see! In the spirit of welcoming back live theatre safely, I thought it would be a great idea to share some of the things that they are doing making it possible to have a safe opening for musical theatre performances. I interviewed Andrew Rohrer VP of Sales and Marketing, for Blue Gate Hospitality, on behalf of the Blue Gate Theatre and Restaurant. He answered some questions for what can be expected for their shows this season, and what is being done to keep the audience cast and crew safe.

Broadway World Detroit: Theatrical venues are large facilities, what is being done to make sure to promote/ follow social distancing in the outer areas of the theatre?

Andrew Rohrer: We have placed signs upon entry and at other strategic locations to remind everyone to respect those around them by staying aware of proper social distancing, and where needed are providing visual guides on the floor and trained staff to help facilitate where possible.

How are the patrons seating being spaced out within their groups, and how do you plan seating based on that?

We realized early that planning the perfect number of each size group (parties of two, three, four, etc....) was extremely inefficient, so we converted over to general admission. When each party arrives we seat them in a set "grid distancing" pattern. We have alternate rows open for seating and then a mandatory number of open seats between each group.

What kind of staffing changes allowed for this to become reality?

The biggest difference in staffing has been to change shows. We chose to start with a new two person show, The Güt Life, instead of a show with a cast of 10 that frequently used the aisles for performer entrances. We also have a number of volunteer ushers who fall into the high risk group that we have replaced with paid staff for the rest of the year.

What kind of sanitizing is being done between shows?

Sanitizing has been the biggest labor increase and also a strong point of focus for safety. Points of contact are being monitored and sanitized by attendants, the venues are thoroughly cleaned before and after each performance, and hand sanitizing stations are provided throughout the venues.

What is the policy on face mask?

We are following the guidance from the State of Indiana as well as our local Health Department, notifying each guest about the statewide mask mandate as much as possible. Under the mandate everyone is required to wear a mask in public when proper social distancing is not possible unless they have a pre-existing condition. Practically, this means people should be wearing masks until seated.

What is your policy for if someone has a ticket, then comes down with the symptoms for Covid, are they allowed to exchange for another show?

Great question, in every communication we emphasize this point, if guests are not feeling well they should stay home. We will happily exchange their tickets or find some other form of refund.

If you purchase a Dinner Theatre ticket, how does the buffet work that is traditionally your pre or post show meal?

Dinner theatre packages are a very popular part of what we do at the Blue Gate. In order to keep everyone safe we have changed the buffet to be served "cafeteria-style" to reduce touch points, but still offer the same wide selection of home cooked favorites.

What is being done to protect the cast members and crew for the various shows, to make minimal contact to catching covid?

The first thing we did was reduce the size of the cast, also built more dressing rooms, and eliminated the post show meet-and-greets. This is a disappointing change but we will certainly bring it back as soon as it's safe.

A Güt Life! is currently playing at the Blue Gate Music Hall in Shipshewana, Indiana Monday- Saturday (Various times) through September 5th. For more information and tickets visit: thebluegate.com/shipshewana/blue-gate-theatre/ or call the Box Office: 888.447.4725

The season also includes: Josiah for President September 14th- October 31st, with The Christmas Tree Ship November 6th- January 2nd. For complete and the most current information on all the shows and safety, check out thebluegate.com and click on the Theatre & Concerts tab.

Connect with Blue Gate Theatre on Facebook at facebook.com/bluegaterestaurant, on twitter at @BlueGateIN, on Instagram at @bluegateofficial/ and online at thebluegate.com/shipshewana/blue-gate-theatre/schedule/.

Connect with Blue Gate Musicals LLC on Facebook at facebook.com/bluegatemusicals/, on Instagram at @bluegatemusicals and online at bluegatemusicals.com to see other shows they have written and license.


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From This Author Brian Hilbrand