The Loveland Stage Company is finding ways to entertain their loyal audience while closed
By Chuck Gibson
LOVELAND, OH (July 2, 2020) – The marquee reads: Intermission: We’ll be back soon! The Loveland Stage Company Theater has been closed to performances since mid-March when the coronavirus pandemic closed the curtain on life as we knew it.
LSC Theater Box Window message of hope (Chuck Gibson)
The show stopped. The Loveland Stage Company (LSC) performance of “Gypsy” was cancelled after just the first weekend of shows. There was hope the shutdown would not last, but weeks turned into months and the stage door remain closed. The curtain truly fell on the 2020 community theater season in Loveland. Ah, as they say in showbiz: the show must go on. The official cancellation of the live stage productions in Loveland came from LSC President, Dave Marcus in a letter posted on their Facebook page June 27.
His Facebook post of the letter announced the official cancellation of “Little Shop of Horrors”, “Spamalot”, and “The Who’s Tommy” originally scheduled for the 2020-21 LSC season. The letter from Marcus expressed hope they would return to the live stage in May 2021 with the planned production of “Mission Possible”. In the meantime, the community theater performers and audience crave entertainment.
Posters of past LSC shows adorn the wall inside the theater (Chuck Gibson)
“It’s been a strange year for everybody including us,” said Marcus. “The Loveland Stage Company is pretty much a landmark in Loveland. People appreciate it. Our shows are always well attended and they’re popular. There is a lot of good people who volunteer at LSC.”
It’s not just the shows produced by the company and all the volunteers involved. Loveland Stage Company is a good community citizen in Loveland. They have been involved with helping out the Loveland Amazing Charity Race for years. They put on three free shows during the ‘Christmas in Loveland’ citywide celebration every year.
“That’s one of our biggest,” Marcus said. “Christmas in Loveland is always mobbed. We do three half-hour shows and they’re always packed.”
Shows have been cancelled and the stage doors are closed at LSC (Chuck Gibson)
Marcus says they still don’t know if they’ll be able to do it this year because of the virus. They just would not be able to have 200 people in the theater. It is a challenge in this time of safe social distancing.
“You’re supposed to keep six foot distance between people, which is hard enough on stage,” said Marcus. “I also heard, if you’re singing, you need 30 feet around you. We had to close the theater.”
They’re finding other ways to entertain the audience and engage their performers. Longtime choreographer and dance instructor for LSC, Marjory Clegg has already reopened her Saturday morning ballet, jazz and tap dance classes – with safe social distancing – at the theater.
A work bench sits in front of the empty stage at LSC (Chuck Gibson
These are showbiz people. They are creative in nature. An empty theater and an audience at home begging to be entertained got those creative juices flowing.
“One of our members came up with the idea of doing these old type radio programs,” Marcus said. “Maybe you remember some of those. Famous people like Bob Hope and Bing Crosby would be sitting at a microphone in a studio with an audience reading a script. Well, that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
Volunteers put a shiny new coat of paint on the floor and risers in the seating area at LSC (Chuck Gibson)
The first planned LSC radio show will be “The Importance of being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde. Michael Harris-Kiser will direct the first show in July. The show will be posted on the stage company website at www.lovelandstagecompany.org. They hope to produce a new radio show each month. Marcus recognizes some of the advantages of producing virtual radio show style shows.
“We can put it on our website,” he said. “People can sit and watch and enjoy them without any risk. Most of them are public domain, so they won’t cost us anything.”
That is a big deal. Without the usual revenue from ticket sales for live on-stage performances, it presents a real challenge to pay the usual royalties involved with staging a show. Yes, there are rights fees for virtually every show ever performed at LSC.
A freshly cleaned dressing area awaits (Chuck Gibson)
The nice thing, if you want to call it nice, about the COVID shutdown was all theaters had to close and agents refunded royalty fees for all the cancelled shows. That saved the stage company a loss for fees on the shows which were scheduled, but have been cancelled.
At the same time, there are bills to be paid for upkeep of the theater building even while closed. Marcus says they are most grateful for the donations which people have already made to help. They have updated the website to make it easier for people to donate and support Loveland community theater during this challenging time.
There really is no normal revenue stream from the usual supporters of LSC. That’s the reason they hope to produce one radio show every month for viewing on the website.
Revamped and clean “Green Room” awaits the players (Chuck Gibson)
“We’re hoping people will see these shows,” Marcus said. “We hope people will watch them and want to donate some money. We’ve had some fairly decent donations from people who have been supporting us for years. We had to put it together with a lot of input from the board. It’s been an odd year.”
Aside from joining Marjory Clegg’s Saturday dance classes, LSC members volunteered to do a little work on the theater. On that day when the stage door opens and the curtain is pulled back once again, the audience will enjoy a clean-fresh theater. There is a shiny new coat of paint on the floor and
Online radio shows will help make the world their stage for now (Chuck Gibson)
“They really cleaned it up,” said Marcus. “We did the green room. It looks great. It was getting kind of dingy.”
Closing down just as the cast had opened the spring show “Gypsy” was very difficult. Marcus has been in touch with the board via Zoom meetings. He has also had some contact with other members and performers. Pat Furterer, founder and true matriarch of the Loveland Stage Company has been in touch with the people. As you can imagine they sense the difficulty and how much they miss their community theater family. It is family.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Furterer. “I’m a ‘Depression’ baby. I’ve been through World War II, the Polio epidemic, the Polio vaccine. It’s heartbreaking really!”
Just like the audience, LSC performers, cast, crew and volunteers all wonder when the stage door will open at the Loveland Stage Company Theater. For now, they have found a way to use their theatrical skills to bring a little
Pat Furterer, LSC Founder and matriarch (Chuck Gibson)
entertainment home to the audience with the radio shows. They hope to be back on stage someday, but with coronavirus comes uncertainty even for entertainers in community theater.
“Will we ever be back,” Furterer said they’re asking. “It’s an unknown. We just don’t know. We’re hoping for May.”
Watch for updates on the first radio show performance on the website: www.lovelandstagecompany.org