The Contemporary Theater Company — complete with social distancing and masks — is opening up its patio after a more than three-month hiatus and bringing back some favorite programming and performers.
Although the main stage will remain closed, the outdoor side patio is where a twice-weekly improvised musical will feature old hands in a particular favorite style of this theater, said artistic director and founder Chris Simpson.
“Our best-case scenario,” said Simpson in an interview about the reopening, “is that we will be able to offer positive programming for the community for the rest of the nice weather we have going into the fall.”
Putting aside for the moment the creative figuring for colder weather, Simpson said this summer and early fall event on Wednesdays and Fridays will accompany on Tuesdays and Sundays “Wine and Paint on the Patio.”
Mondays, he said, is reserved for jazz with a trio playing favorites for those long missing the eclectic fare of this theater company.
He said during the recent interview that keeping everyone safe — performers, staff and audience — had to be the focus at the time when empty seats weighed him down.
“We wouldn’t be opening now if we didn’t feel safe doing it,” he said, noting that mask-wearing will be required for all staff and audience members, and social distancing through pre-set table configurations will also be guaranteed for anyone with concerns.
He also said that he strongly advises people to buy tickets online (contemporarytheatercompany.com) on the theater’s website so that people are not disappointed when arriving and finding an event filled to the limited capacities allowed.
For the patio offerings, some fluctuation in time could occur because — unlike with an indoor stage — weather of any kind could suddenly intrude, he said. The starting times listed on the website when tickets are sold will be held as firm as possible, he added.
In the musical improv, each night the audience will come up with a title and will choose approaches from improvisers’ pitches for the show, then a full musical comes to life with melody, lines and actions all unrehearsed.
Tickets are $22.50 each with limited “pay-what-you-can” at the door.
Long-time and new CTC performers expected to appear are Christine Cauchon, Ashley Macamaux, Valerie Tarantino, Sophie Pearson, Charlie Santos, Riley Cash and Jess Leclair.
He said that he expects the theater to accommodate between 24 to 48 people depending on each week’s table designs.
While it’s not the full opening many may yearn for, Simpson said improv is all about being able to adapt.
“We are all excited about coming back. Because we do improvised shows so frequently, we can pop back up quickly. We’re here.” he said.