It’s been a long time since anyone took to the stage at Shea’s Performing Arts Center. But on Tuesday, the theater announced plans to reopen its doors in September.
Shea’s officials aren't detailing COVID safety guidelines inside the theater yet, as they anticipate recommendations will change. But they say the planned reopening will follow official guidelines and will only happen if it is safe to do so at 100% capacity.
"It'll be only a situation that people will feel safe. And if we can find our way, they're great. If not, and we have to make the necessary accommodations," said Albert Nocciolino, Shea’s Broadway partner-producer, in an interview with WBFO Tuesday.
By accommodations, he means the theater could reschedule shows again if needed.
At 100% capacity, Shea's has just over 3,000 seats. Shea’s President Michael G. Murphy emphasized the theater will follow all precautions to make it safe.
“We will follow all guidelines in September that are coming forth from the CDC, New York State, Erie County, we will make sure that everyone is safe when they come into the theater. We have to be able to operate at 100% capacity. But we'll have to see what that means for everyone at that time, as far as the protocols," said Murphy.
As of right now, Shea’s has a full season planned, kicking off with Disney’s Frozen on September 10, and wrapping up with Ain’t Too Proud, the Life and Times of the Temptations on May 15, 2022. Hamilton will also be featured in this season over the Christmas and New Years holidays, from December 14 to January 2, 2022.
Murphy believes people will be excited to finally see Hamilton rescheduled and get out of the house.
"It'll be two years later and being able to get together and also go to Shea's, see Hamilton together, go out to a meal, before or after the show, people are really looking forward to being able to be together," said Murphy.
Murphy explained why theater coming back is something people can look forward to, and how it can provide a sense of hope during a difficult time.
“It allows us to look at ourselves in a different way, to see how someone else is experiencing something that maybe we've experienced, and gives us a different perspective, maybe gives us hope," said Murphy.
Shea's is following much of the theater industry in shooting for a fall reopening.
The upcoming season is as follows:
THE NEW M&T BANK BROADWAY SERIES: This series includes all of the productions we announced in March 2020.
- DISNEY’S FROZEN: September 10 – 24, 2021
- TOOTSIE: October 10 - 16, 2021
- PRETTY WOMAN- THE MUSICAL: November 30 - December 5, 2021
- HAMILTON: December 14, 2021 - January 2, 2022 Special Subscriber Option: Subscribers have the option to include Hamilton in their Subscription Package. Subscribers will have first access to purchase single tickets to Hamilton before the public on-sale.
- OKLAHOMA!: February 15 - 20, 2022
- MY FAIR LADY: March 1 - 6, 2022
- HARPER LEE’S TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD: March 27 - April 2, 2022
- AIN’T TOO PROUD-THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS: May 10 - 15, 2022
- RIVERDANCE: April 8 - 10, 2022 Can be added to the package for an additional cost.
THE RE-SCHEDULED M&T BANK BROADWAY SERIES: This series includes the three productions that did not take stage due to the interruption to our 2019-2020 Broadway series.
- THE BAND’S VISIT: November 2 - 7, 2021
- ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE: November 16 - 21, 2021
- ANASTASIA: April 19 - 24, 2022
For more information, Shea's can be reached at 716-847-0850 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. You can also visit Sheas.org.