Augusta, GA (WJBF)- During the course of the pandemic, theaters went dark for months. Companies have been trying to find creative and safe ways to bring the arts back.
Most local theater companies are filming their performances–but one is now performing live.
Musical Theater Workshops has partnered with the Fort Gordon Dinner Theater for a production of the timeless classic “Tuck Everlasting.” Those involved said that doing this show safely, has been a challenge.
“The music from the Broadway show is glorious. Just beautiful. And the Dancing is so much fun. So you get a little bit of everything,” said Mickey Lubeck, Artistic Director of Musical Theatre Workshops.
Fort Gordon Dinner Theater did its first in person play with a Christmas show in December.
Artistic Director of Musical Theater Workshops, Mickey Lubeck said the dinner theater reached out to her group to produce “Tuck Everlasting” after hearing about their summer workshop of the show.
“And Dan, well, Steve Walpert and others heard about it and was like, ‘Oh, my goodness, this is a good show,'” said Lubeck. “And then when Dan has this availability, he came out and said ‘Mickey, how would you like to come out here and we’ll co-produce your show?’ And of course, I said yeah!”
Lubeck said the theater has strict rules in place to keep the cast and audience member safe during performances.
Each night the theater is sanitized and fogged top to bottom. People must wear masks whenever they are up and moving around. And tables are spaced, so that only friend and family groups sit together.
Olivia Pontoo plays Nana Foster and she sais rehearsing during a pandemic has been tough.
“Being masked up. Trying to do as much as you can away from each other, but realizing that you’re having characters that have to interact.,” explained Pontoo. “So really, just trusting the process and just kind of trusting each other that we’re all doing the right things, and taking care of ourselves. And when we have to go out among other people, that we’re masked up and continue to wash our hands and do what we can to stay safe.”
Much of the cast from MWT’s summer workshop returned, but some characters were recast. Pontoo was one of those recasts and she said anytime an actor replaces another–it’s difficult.
“I was called by Mrs. Mickey Lubeck and asked would I replace a cast member. And was like oooo those can be big shoes to fill. Usually theater family, once you start doing a production, you really do become family, you know, because you do spend a lot of time together, so they were warm and welcoming,” Pontoo smiled.
Pontoo said this production of Tuck Everlasting is special because race wasn’t a factor in casting.
“I think the beauty of it also, if you notice, is that we have a interracial cast, which I think is just beautiful. And I just really appreciate Mrs. Lubeck, Ms. Mickey, for doing that, because it’s just about the story being told. And so it doesn’t matter the races of the characters being played, the beauty of the story still comes through.”
There are still three performances left of Tuck Everlasting at the Fort Gordon Dinner Theater–February 19th and 20th at 8 PM and February 21st at 3 pm.
For tickets and dinner times, just call the Theater Box Office at 706-793-8552 or CLICK HERE for their website.