COVID surge forces changes for local theatre groups

Missouri

ST. LOUIS – Just days before opening, the spike in Covid cases has led the St. Louis Black Rep to postpone its next production, “Dontrell, Who Kissed The Sea,” until the summer.

“We were very happy to not have to cancel it and we were able to get dates to move the performance into July,” said Ron Himes, the Black Rep’s founder and producing director.

The move came after a meeting with Washington University, home to the Edison Theatre, where the company performs.

“I think that just the way that the numbers were going up at this time, we felt that, out of an abundance of caution, it would be the best thing to do,” Himes said.

The Black Rep was able to open their season in September and they hope to be back for more performances soon.

“We’re hoping that this spike will take a downward turn spike by the end of this month. Our next production is scheduled to open Feb. 9 and so we begin rehearsal for it. And we’ll see,” Hines said.

The Muny is plugging ahead for its 2022 season; but due to ongoing COVID concerns, all auditions will be handled virtually.

“Therefore, actors are all going to have to submit their audition tape, whether it is a dance, a song, or a scene,” said Michael Baxter, The Muny’s artistic associate.

Auditioning via video submission may be new to some, but the outdoor theatre is providing tools and direction to help everyone have a positive experience.

“Through great correspondence by email, tutorials of how to put together and self-tape, all on our website.  How to even upload a YouTube link to the Google Drive, we are here to care and love everyone through this process.”

Despite the challenges, The Muny is thrilled to be actively seeking actors for the summer, hopeful that the show will go on.

“We are always thinking positively, right. We are always hoping that there are brighter days ahead,” Baxter said. “And these are the solutions we are thinking about today to get us to that more positive place.”

The Muny is now accepting audition videos for The Muny Kids and Summer Youth Chorus. The deadline is Jan. 21. Visit their website for more information about audition windows for Muny Teens and Equity and Non-Equity actors.

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