Local theater groups gearing for somewhat normal season  

When Theatre Baton Rouge announced its 2021-2022 season in late May—the 76th for the local theater company—creative director Jenny Ballard breathed a long-anticipated sigh of relief.

Like other performing arts organizations, Theatre Baton Rouge was hit hard by the pandemic, losing tens of thousands of dollars in revenue from shuttered performances, and reinventing its operations several times to accommodate each phase of the pandemic. 

Now, Theatre Baton Rouge and other smaller local theater companies like Opéra Louisiane, Playmakers of Baton Rouge and Red Magnolia Theatre Company, are looking forward to what they believe will be a far more predictable season.

“We made it through and cannot wait to get back to normal,” Ballard says. “Everyone pulled together, and we made it work. I’ve never been prouder to be a part of this community.”

Theatre Baton Rouge will stage 11 performances from August 2021 to July 2022, including several musicals, which had been totally restricted during the pandemic due to the high rate of germ spread in vocal performance. Ballard says seat sales in the Florida Boulevard’s main stage theater will return to pre-pandemic levels; all 327 seats will be available to reserve. Its smaller studio theater will also be back to normal.

Live theater, which requires both actors and audiences to occupy tight spaces, looked a lot different this time last year. Live musicals were nonexistent. During the shutdown, smaller dramatic or comedic performances were broadcast over Zoom with minimal casting. In these carefully choreographed productions, even the actors were separated by their computer screens. 

This article was originally published in the July 2021 issue of 225 magazine, read the full story.