Theaters continue making connections amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Pamme Jones, executive director of the Ridgefield Theater Barn, invites you to get creative and

Pamme Jones, executive director of the Ridgefield Theater Barn, invites you to get creative and “Steal the Ghost Light” with a video submission. Entries can be up to five minutes long; favorites are posted on the theater’s home page and social media. This is the setup she uses for her Facebook Live sessions, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 8:45 p.m.

Pamme Jones / Contributed photo

Theatergoers miss live theater with all the excitement and emotions that reach out and connect with audiences while theaters are temporarily brought to a horrible halt due to COVID-19. However, many of our theaters want to keep their connections with patrons whom they depend on and so they have been providing entertainment mostly by live streaming and video events.

While it’s easy to argue that streaming and videos are just not the same as live productions, these theaters are trying to keep their connections. It’s important for them to know that audiences are still checking in. That’s why it is so important to support theaters that are taking a hard hit in these difficult times. Look at what they’re doing to keep you with them. They are very creative and loyal to their audiences. Actually when you’re watching these events it’s like you’re being an audience of one and the performers are entertaining just for you. That’s pretty special.

Most people will check in to a theater’s event if there’s something really important that they want to see. Usually one person connects via laptop, iPad, cell phone, or computer. That means the experience is most often one on one and can be pretty intimate.

Of course, performing in front of a camera is far from entertaining a live audience, but thespians and entertainers must do what they love. They are passionate about their work. Granted some events are superior to others, but all the presenters are doing their best.

There’s no sense in writing about events that you’ve already missed, but some are still available and some are upcoming. For instance, the Ridgefield Theater Barn has a format called “Stealing the Ghost Light,” which features actors, theater people and entertainers doing what they do best. The Theater Barn keeps the videos on its website, so you can still catch early presentations as well as more up-to-date events.

Do treat yourself to Scott Brill’s rendering of a scene from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” He is absolutely wonderful. This is a one-on-one dramatic experience you don’t want to miss. Follow this by watching Matt Austin’s hilarious rendering of Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot.” It is priceless, especially if viewed back to back with Scott Brill. Tony & The West Siders do a fine job of “Heartbreak Hotel” and there’s so much more to see and enjoy.

If you go to The Phoenix Stage Company on YouTube, you might still be able to catch Rob Richnavsky’s heartfelt soliloquy of Shakespeare’s “To Be or Not to Be.” It is breathtaking theater. Many of our CT theaters continue to entertain and connect with audiences. This is a good thing. However, some Broadway fans will not be happy to learn that Disney’s “Frozen” will not reopen at the St. James Theatre. As reported in “Playbill,” the show’s last performance was on March 11 when New York’s shutdown for the coronavirus was mandated. “Disney Theatrical Productions intends to resume the musical’s national tour when tenable, with international stagings — including West End, Australia, Japan, and Germany — all pushed to next year.”

The decision was reportedly based on reducing cost and waste. Stay tuned, stay safe, and be well.