An area performing arts school is back with a production of their newest show... on the big, outdoor screen.
Stage Right Performing Arts Center will perform “Legally Blonde” at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25 and Saturday, Sept. 26, but instead of the musical being viewed by a packed house, people can pack into their vehicles and see the show at the Evergreen Drive-In in Mount Pleasant.
“We were actually slated to do this show last April as the closer to our professional season,” said Anthony Marino, the artistic director for Stage Right and the director of “Legally Blonde.”
But before the show could be staged, COVID-19 hit.
“And, well, the world stopped,” he said.
Feeling what everyone needs now is a feel-good story, Marino said a high-energy show like “Legally Blonde” is a good way to start Stage Right’s next season.
Other than some changes to the cast due to contracts not being issued by an actor’s union, Marino said some extra steps had to be taken to ensure the health and safety of those involved in the production.
“We are a school with 150 kids so safety is very important,” he said.
Marino said temperature checks are conducted and health questions are asked for everyone that enters the building, masks are used in class and during rehearsals, hand sanitizer is available everywhere, no more than 25 people are allowed in a room or onstage at The Palace Theatre in Greensburg where the show will be staged, surfaces are cleaned every day and every room is fogged with an EPA-approved COVID-19-killer in-between classes and rehearsals.
“The show is staged socially distanced, and there is no kissing,” Marino said, adding the exception is when the character Callahan gets pushy with the character Elle, but the two actors are engaged and live together.
Despite the restrictions, Marino said the actors were thrilled to be back, enjoying the sense of community the theater provides.
“It has been a blast,” he said, adding that he continued to tell everyone that rehearsals and a show can be done safely. “Masks, social distance and washing your hands are not impediments of art.”
Having an audience in the seats to watch the show, however, was an impediment. That’s where the Evergreen Drive-In comes into play.
Marino said his good friend and fellow drive-in enthusiast Dean Baker works at the Evergreen, and Stage Right has participated at the drive-in for the past two summers to dress as live characters for Disney films and horror films.
For the actors of “Legally Blonde,” nothing will change with the show as it will be staged the way it would always be at the Palace Theatre, but the audience will be watching the show via livestream at the drive-in.
“It’s just as if they are sitting in a very large theatre,” Marino said. “You’ll be seeing it as it happens from the same angles as if you were in a seat, it’s just that your seat is in your car.”
Following “Legally Blonde,” Marino said they’ll plan to stage “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” under a giant tent in the Stage Right parking lot in Greensburg on Halloween weekend.
“We’ll be doing ‘Annie’ in November and that will be able to be live-streamed into peoples homes,” Marino said.
While the show will start at 8 p.m., gates at the drive-in will open at 7 p.m., and social distancing rules will be in effect.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students.
All ticket holders for the original dates for the April show must contact the Palace Theatre box office to indicate whether they are retaining their tickets, exchanging for a different night or requesting other options.
New tickets will be issued once the patron has spoken to the box office, which is available 9 a.m to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday by phone at 724-836-8000 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tickets are also available at the drive-in gate.