Bristol Valley Theater, the Finger Lakes’ award-winning live, professional theater will reopen for live performance in summer 2021. The Naples theater, who was forced to close its doors for live performance in March 2020 due to the Covid 19 pandemic, will return this summer with six live, in-person plays. To produce the shows safely and keep both staff and patrons safe, the season will take place outdoors, among other health and safety precautions.
“We can’t express how excited we are to return to live performances this summer, and how grateful we are to our audience and community for supporting us to get us to this moment,” says Bristol Valley Theater Executive Artistic Director Karin Bowersock. “There will be some changes to our usual motis operandi to ensure everyone’s safety, but truly there’s nothing we wouldn’t do to be able to bring live entertainment to Naples.”
This past weekend, Bristol Valley Theater announced their 2021 summer season with a free, virtual announcement event streamed on BVT’s YouTube page. The event highlighted the changes to the season, as well at the six plays chosen for the 2021 summer season.
The season will be performed outdoors with a stage to be erected in the BVT parking lot. Seating will be distanced and audience capacity limited to 50 patrons per performance. Facial coverings will be required for all staff and guests on BVT property. There will also be a virtual streaming option for all shows (made possible with streaming partner www.showtix4u.com) so that patrons have the option of watching from home if they are not yet comfortable with a public gathering. There will also be no concessions sold this summer and the program book will be virtual to cut down on contact.
The theater will also employ other precautionary measures designed to keep BVT artists and staff safer and more distanced during rehearsals and performances. Each play in the season will have a limited cast size of only one or two actors, and the performances schedule will shift to repertory, where two plays will perform at the same time, on alternating evenings each month. Running in repertory from June 9th through the 26th, BVT will present Florida Girls by Nancy Hasty and Just the Ticket by Peter Quilter.
Florida Girls takes place in Claryville, Florida in 1965. Things get ugly as sisters Christine and Dee Dee Van Helms compete against each other in the Miss Claryville beauty contest. One actress plays 15 characters and three generations of the unforgettable Van Helms family, thrown into hilarious upheaval as pageant day draws near. Just the Ticket is the story of Susan, played by actress Pamela Feicht, an eccentric and charmingly dotty 60-something, who’s decided to celebrate her birthday by repeating a journey to Australia she made with a group of girlfriends when she was 20. This time, she travels alone – carrying the same hopes and dreams, but with 40 years of extra baggage.
Running in repertory from July 14th through the 31st will be Mala by Melinda Lopez, and Dead Air, a world-premiere mystery/comedy written by BVT Executive Artistic Director Karin Bowersock.
Played by Mary Mendez Rizzo, Mala is a first generation daughter on the universal journey to care for and say goodbye to a mother who is reaching the end of life. With humor and hope, Mala balances her mother’s care, her own family and career, and her search for closure. An irreverent and life-affirming exploration of how we live, cope and survive in the moment and what it means to put our loved ones first, right to the very end. Dead Air stars married couple Brian Ziemann and Zak West. It’s five minutes to airtime at Station WCUP Radio, and Sid and Tom have accidentally destroyed the recording of Make Mine A Mystery, the station’s most popular mystery show. The only way to save the day is for them to spin their own tale of mystery and murder, live on the air.
Lastly, running in repertory from August 18th through September 4th will be Neat by Charlayne Woodard and ‘S Wonderful: An Evening with George Gershwin, a world-premiere play written and performed by Michael Radi.
Neat, starring Judie Annozine, is a lovingly crafted memory play about a young Black woman’s coming of age in Albany, and the profound influence of a most unlikely family member; her brain damaged Aunt Neat. What begins as a nostalgic personal remembrance blossoms into a magical and inspiring evening of pure joy, compelling insight and hopefulness. In ‘S Wonderful: An Evening with George Gershwin, BVT favorite Michael Radi steps into the shoes of iconic American composer George Gershwin for an evening of song and reflection over his lifetime of work. Michael takes his place at the piano to bring George’s music and passion to life, including beloved hits like Summertime, Rhapsody in Blue, Embraceable You, and Fascinatin’ Rhythm.
Subscriptions–both virtual and live–will go on sale on March 8th, and individual tickets–both virtual and live– will go on sale April 3rd. Subscriptions and tickets can be purchased online at www.bvtnaples.org or by calling the Box Office at 585-374-6318.