Shelton's Center Stage returns to stage with 'Godspell'

SHELTON — Performers will once again be under the spotlights at Center Stage Theatre.

The theater, after a year gone dark because of the pandemic, has announced its 2021 season live lineup with “Godspell” opening the run beginning next month at the theater’s 54 Grove St. location.

Godspell will run from June 11-27, followed by “The Wedding Singer” from July 23-Aug. 1; “Nunsense A-Men!: from Sept. 3-19; “Boeing Boeing from Oct. 8-24 and Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” from Dec. 3-19.

Center Stage is following all state and CDC pandemic guidelines. There are sanitizing stations located throughout the facility and social distancing arrows and circles are clearly marked to maintain crowd control as well as separate entrance and exits for safe traffic flow.

Between all performances, staff will be sanitizing chairs and high touch surfaces. Patrons will be asked to remain in their seats during intermission. There will no longer be a concession stand, and the box office is now housed behind a window.

Cast members will always be masked and will maintain social distancing when not on stage. Dressing rooms will be spread out and socially distanced with a limited number of cast members in each. Costumes and props will be sanitized between performances and, when microphone changes are necessary, they will be sanitized.

From an audience perspective, seating is socially distanced from both the cast on the stage as well as from each other. All audience members are required to wear masks the entire time they are on the premises. After the performance, audience members will be asked to leave immediately to eliminate congregating.

Center Stage was forced to temporarily close its doors for live theater in March 2020. At the same time, its education programming for the semester shut down since the organization was not prepared to switch to virtual programming, its spokesmen said.

“Over the summer, we were able to welcome back students in-person for our annual summer camp but did so at about 25 percent capacity,” Center Stage Board Chair John Corraro said. “We were also able to host an outdoor comedy night and outdoor presentation of our Junior Musical — “Clue Jr.” — and Spring Cabaret for students grade four to eight.”

Fall 2020 saw the reopening of schools and the reopening of the theater’s education programming though at reduced capacity. Corraro said the theater was able to host students safely and provide a creative outlet and connection during a difficult time.

“We were able to present a play — “Almost, Maine” — in person and virtually to close out our previous season as well as our annual Teen Musical Theater Workshop performance,” Corraro said. “We have just completed a successful spring semester of classes and are gearing up for the presentation of our Junior Musical — “Legally Blonde Jr.” — and our Spring Cabaret.

“As restrictions are lifting and we are able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, we are thrilled to be opening our 2021 Season in June with “Godspell,”” Corraro said.

This past semester, the theater had 10 regular weekly class offerings ranging from dance to production design to acting and vocal techniques. It also offered four masterclasses in auditioning, American Sign Language, dance and voice as well as an adult dance class and an adult ASL masterclass. In total, the semester included about 80 students.

“At the heart of Center Stage’s mission is building community,” Corraro said. “While we have not been able to do so through in-person, live-theater, we have been able to provide that community for our students almost uninterrupted.”

During the past year, Corraro said, the theater stayed connected with patrons and subscribers through offerings from the “Center Stage Vault,” where it shared videos of past Center Stage shows. In addition, the theater offered a virtual event in June o2020 — “Center Stage at Home” — which featured past Center Stage performers and a curated party box with donations from Jones Winery and Casinelli Pastries

“In a time when students struggled in isolation,” Corraro said, “we were able to provide a safe place for them to do what they love with their friends and peers.”

For additional information, to purchase tickets for an individual show or a season subscription to attend all five performances, visit centerstageshelton.org.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com