After 16 months of small audiences, virtual shows or nothing at all, performance venues in the Eugène region are making a comeback.
Local theaters and their leaders all approach the reopening process differently, with a variety of deadlines and restrictions to consider. But what they all have in common is a palpable and urgent excitement to reunite with audiences and the joy of live theater.
The Oregon Contemporary Theater is hosting two performances this summer. Blackout: a one-woman show will be played by Hailey Henderson, a Seattle-based actor and recent college graduate. The autobiographical piece, which explores the consequences of sexual and emotional abuse, will run at 2 p.m. on July 17 and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on July 18. Dream of a summer night will be performed by the Tall Tale Players, a group of new artists, at 7:30 p.m. on July 16, 17, 22 and 23, and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. on July 24. Tickets for both can be purchased on the OCT website or at 541-465-1506. Masks are expected for unvaccinated people.
The OCT plans to announce its 2021-2022 season in the next four to six weeks. The season will start at the end of September and end in June.
The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts is back to “business as usual,” according to executive director Jim Ralph, with several performances scheduled for 2021-2022. The next step is Reel music, The Shedd’s 30th annual Oregon American Music Festival, which runs July 22-31. The program is an exploration of music in cinema and will be presented in the form of a series of concerts, lectures and film screenings. Tickets can be purchased online, at 541-434-7000 or at the box office (9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday).
Actors Cabaret d’Eugène will reopen on September 10 with a three-week race of Broadway forbidden, a parody of great Broadway musicals such as Hello Dolly! and Rental. As a first step, ACE plans to require masks and slightly limit seating positions. Tickets for Broadway forbidden will be available at the Cabaret des Acteurs box office at the end of July.
Very Little Theater has taken the time to step away from the spotlight to make improvements to its 70-year-old building. The community theater is expected to resume operations in January 2022.
Cottage Theater is also currently under construction and will return to the public with 50 additional seats and fresh furnishings. The Cottage Grove Theater tentatively plans to reopen in late fall. Less provisional is his plan to open with a production of Mom Mia! Susan Goes, executive director, says it’s the perfect production to celebrate the brand new space.
“We’re really, really, really excited to get back into the work of producing shows and having people here to enjoy them,” Goes said.