FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Phillip Colglazier, Executive/Artistic Director at the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre had a problem with this past weekend’s production of Legally Blonde – The Musical.
Sure, the show must go on, but where?
“Literally we didn’t know where we were going to perform the show until we started our first rehearsal and then were able to announce to the cast we’re taking it to the Foellinger Outdoor Theatre,” he explains.
When the show was planned, Indiana’s Back On Track plan was scheduled to move to stage five by July 5th. Mask mandates had not been issued.
“We found out that it’s best for the actors to have the face mask rather than the shields, because the clear shields would create a reflection of the lights and create more distraction,” Colglazier tells WANE 15.
Placing nearly hidden microphones on the actors’ hairlines gives surprising clarity to the masked cast.
“It’s good quality sound. We’re very pleased that that’s not going to affect the sound quality.”
When social distancing is applied to the space at the Arts United Center, crowd capacity is reduced from 630 to 160. The larger Foellinger goes from 2,571 down to 498 – a number that makes more sense economically.
In years past, theater at the Foellinger was common. The summer shows at the Foellinger helped launch the Arena Dinner Theatre. When Arena found its own space, theatrical shows at the Foellinger became so infrequent, it seems a bit odd to perform in the heat.
“We have tons of water available for all the actors” Colglazier reassures. “Even when it’s 90 degrees, there is a nice breeze that goes through here and it becomes very comfortable. For the actors in the basement area before the show. it’s actually cool. It could be windy, yes.”
The heat should be less of a factor in September when the Civic plans its next show at the Foellinger.
“We got a special grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to do 1776 – an all female version,” says Colglazier.
“It’s right before the election to celebrate the 19th amendment, the hundredth anniversary of women’s right to vote, and to honor suffragettes. We are doing a special panel discussion with (former U.S. Representative) Jill Long Thompson coming back, Sharon Tucker, and Michelle Chambers. The League of Women Voters will also be here. We’ll be trying to get people registered to vote.”
1776 will run September 12th through the 20th. Ticket information is available at fwcivic.org.