CLEVELAND — Nearly a year to the day that Playhouse Square shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the performing arts non-profit organization behind the revered district announced Wednesday that 'The Choir of Man' will begin a month-long run of shows in mid-June.
Citing pent-up demand and a growing supply of available vaccines, Gina Vernaci, the president and CEO of Playhouse Square, said the timing was right for smaller, socially-distanced audiences to return. The Choir of Man, dubbed the "ultimate feel good show," will be performed at the Mimi Ohio Theatre beginning June 11.
"Health and safety are first. We are absolutely under the best advice in the world about how we can bring everyone back in safely and in a healthy way," Vernaci said. "That will make for a joyful night."
Vernaci said the organization has been advised by staff at University Hospitals and Cleveland Clinic on how to open again while ensuring theatregoers are safe and healthy. As part of the new guidelines, audiences at The Choir of Man will be capped at 250 people that will be seated in social distanced pods of 2, 4 or 6 attendees. Masks will be required and hand sanitizer will be offered. The health and safety guidelines may change as opening night draws closer, Vernaci said.
“The Choir of Man” features top dancers, singers and instrumentalists celebrating a range of popular artists from Paul Simon and Adele to Queen and Katie Perry.
"We all have been cooped up in our houses for a year. We're going to be very happy to get back out and to do it in a very safe way," Vernaci said. "This is tremendous news for everyone at Playhouse Square and for everyone around Playhouse Square, including all of the restaurateurs, the parking lot operators, the Crowne Plaza hotel... What we do in the theatres is the driver of their business."
Perhaps it was fitting that the announcement of The Choir of Man's return to Cleveland came on St. Patrick's Day, given the fact that the show is primarily based in an Irish Pub. There will be 35 performances from June 11 through July 11. Vernaci expects tickets, which are currently on sale, to go quickly.
"We're human beings. We're supposed to get together. One hundred years ago, people were lined up around the block to get in [following the Spanish Flu pandemic]," Vernaci said. "I think it is so ironic that, here we are 100 years later, reopening the theatres coming out of the same exact conditions as we had when the theatres were built."
Playhouse Square's KeyBank Broadway Series will return in the fall.
Socially-distanced ticket reservations for “The Choir of Man” are $59 to $79. Tickets will go on-sale beginning March 17 at 11:00 a.m. Limited capacity seating will be sold in pods of two, four and six for each performance. Guests can get tickets by calling 216-241-6000 or by visiting playhousesquare.org.
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