Like many businesses that rely on public participation indoors, Haddonfield Plays & Players was forced to close in March because of COVID-19.
Due to the shifting nature of safety guidelines for outdoor gatherings, the organization even had to scuttle its planned outdoor Beach Blanket Movie Night, originally scheduled for late July.
“It was heartbreaking to have to cancel the remainder of our 2020 season due to the pandemic, but we are excited for the bright future that we have ahead,” said Stephanie Wood, director of marketing for the theater.
First up is a two-night, special engagement on the evenings of Sept. 25 and 26, to kick off the theater’s late-year slate with “Love, Loss and What I Wore,” from the minds of sisters and screenwriters Delia and Nora Ephron.
It will be an outdoor performance, on a special stage constructed on the property. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs, blankets, and of course, face coverings. Social distancing throughout the designated seating area will be required.
In what may be the most unfortunate circumstance of all, no intermission snacks or beverages will be sold to paying customers.
“We’ve gotten creative in how we can bring theatre experiences to life during this time, including this live outdoor staging, a cabaret telethon fundraiser and virtual OnStage theatre education fall camp programming for kids ages 4 to 17,” Wood revealed about the remaining 2020 schedule.
The telethon is expected to be held some time in the near future, with details to come soon on what shape it will take.
Plays & Players also planned a holiday spectacular which would have been a stage version of the 2003 movie, “Elf,” starring Will Ferrell as the titular, overly cheerful North Pole denizen. However, that has also been taken off the schedule.
Keeping the theater alive and continually engaging for all age groups in the borough and beyond still remains the organization’s primary goal. Wood estimated the playhouse nestled in the southern end of town welcomes roughly 10,000 people every year, from patrons to actors, students, directors, staff and the all-important stage crew.
“Haddonfield Plays & Players has been part of the cultural fabric of the community for 86 years,” Woods stated. “Our contribution goes beyond the intrinsic value of our award-winning plays and musicals and renowned theatre education program.”
Even though the theater has yet to present its 2021 slate, HP&P President Dave Stavetski already looks forward to the coming calendar year.
“We are close to announcing our 2021 season, which was designed to feature award-winning shows with dramatic personal storylines, favorites of off Broadway and regional theaters,” he crowed. “And of course, each production will be accompanied by the rich arrangement of sound and lighting that you’ve come to expect.
“We are in a great position to offer the best in theatrical entertainment.”
Tickets for the upcoming performances of “Love, Loss and What I Wore” are available here: https://tix5.centerstageticketing.com/sites/haddonfield/.
For a full listing of shows and updated information regarding the telethon and more, visit https://www.haddonfieldplayers.com/.