Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre (SSMT) announces its return to in-person performances with an upcoming production of the smash hit musical “Grease.” This will be a departure from the standard season for SSMT, which typically produces three shows each summer.
“For all of us in the performing arts, 2021 represents a bridge year — a way for us to navigate from Point A to Point B,” said SSMT Producing Artistic Director Jeremy Scott Blaustein ’06 (B.F.A. in Musical Theatre). “While a full, three-show season is not possible this summer, a return to the theatre now is necessary not only for our beloved institution (and its many employees), but also for the community we serve.”
Building on the success of Shenandoah University’s return to in-person learning this year, many considerations have been made to ensure the health and safety of cast, staff and patrons. All guests and employees will be required to wear masks that fully cover the nose and mouth (gaiters are not permitted) while inside the building. Patrons will be socially distanced in the auditorium, with maximum occupancy of the theatre being reduced to 30%. Hand sanitizer stations will be available in the lobby and inside the theatre, high touch surfaces will be thoroughly disinfected between performances, and the box office and concessions will be adapted to minimize crowding. Additionally, SSMT is working with consultants to identify added measures that will keep cast, staff and patrons as safe and comfortable as possible. The current hope is that, with these and additional safety measures, it will be safe for actors and musicians to perform without masks. As always, leadership will continue to review the latest research and follow all Virginia and CDC guidelines when planning and implementing the season.
“I am so delighted and proud that our SSMT team has found a way to present a fully staged and indoors live performance while still ensuring the safety of patrons, cast, crew,” said Dean of Shenandoah Conservatory Michael Stepniak, Ed.D. “And I’m so grateful to our patrons, who have remained so supportive and patient. We look forward to a fantastic show this summer!”
With its raucous and rambunctious humor, “Grease” satirically captures the age-old desire for high schoolers to be provocative and rebellious. Featuring memorable hits such as “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightnin’” and “We Go Together,” it remains one of Broadway’s longest-running shows. With this production, SSMT takes a fresh look under the hood of this old favorite, revealing how it has stood the test of time.
“Grease” will run for 37 performances at the Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre, from Thursday, July 1 through Sunday, August 1. Tickets go on sale to the public Monday, May 3 and may be purchased by visiting ssmtva.org or calling the Shenandoah University Box Office at (540) 665-4569. Box office hours are from noon to 5 p.m Monday through Friday. Due to social distancing, seating is extremely limited. If it is determined that seating capacity can be raised at a later date, SSMT will announce that additional tickets are on sale. This production is rated PG-13: some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.