San Diego's Jazz

Pat Launer, Center Stage

  • Pandemic Theater Update

    Pandemic Theater Update

    San Diego theatermakers have been surprisingly busy during the pandemic closures.

    Well, not really surprising, since theater folks are endlessly imaginative and keep coming up with new ways to engage and enlighten their audiences.

    Just about every theater company in town has created something for you to watch, via youtube or Zoom.

    There are cabaret concerts, play readings, classes in Broadway-style dance or singing, and full productions of dramas and comedies (some that were filmed before the COVID crisis).

    There are interactive performances, where the audience gets to weigh in. Or productions that encourage you to relax, or to walk around your neighborhood while listening to the presentation on earbuds or headphones.

    There are new hybrids of full staging crossed with Zoom.

    And there are serial shows with regular installments or updates, given the same cast of characters.

    New productions and theatrical experiments are popping up all the time.

    And, in a wonderful display of community and solidarity, 39 San Diego theater companies, from the very largest to the tiniest, have banded together in what they’re calling “One Theatre. One Story.” This new joint venture provides a unified approach to advocacy at the city and state levels, and a group determination of when local audiences will be ready to return to theaters — and what it will take to get them there. Audience surveys are underway.

    While many, many productions have been cancelled, some companies are dipping their toes in the water and announcing shows in late August or early fall.

    Nationwide, pundits and producers are saying that theater as we know it won’t resume until 2021, and even then, with dramatic changes. Broadway has already pushed back its reopening from June to Labor Day, but many feel that even then, theater audiences, and the actors’ union, won’t be ready.

    As always, I’ll keep you posted on what’s happening locally.

    In the meantime, One Theatre. One Story is trying to help keep San Diego theaters afloat. You can help too, by donating to one or several participating theaters, all of which are struggling in these troubling times. Just google One Theatre, One Story.

    It’s a way for you to support theater even during this extended “intermission.” With creativity and perspicacity, all the local theaters are trying valiantly to keep you interested and entertained.

    Aired: 5/31/2020 9:01:00 AM

    Copyright © 2020 Pat Launer

For an archive of all of Pat's reviews, going back to 1990, use the 'search' function at

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