Hale Center Theater Orem will open Disney’s ‘Moana Jr.’ with socially distanced seating

Graphic courtesy: Hale Center Theater Orem

OREM, Utah, July 21, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Hale Center Theater Orem announced Tuesday it will open Disney’s “Moana Jr.” next month with socially distanced seating, after its production of “Little Women” was delayed due to a cast member testing positive for COVID-19.

“We are thrilled to bring our Hale Academy production of Disney’s ‘Moana Jr.,’ a regional premiere, to the stage, running from Aug. 3 to Aug. 14,” said a Facebook post from Hale Center Theater Orem. “These amazing kids have been working so hard to bring this wonderful show to life, and you won’t want to miss it!”

The post added: “To allow for socially distanced seating, please call the box office at 801-226-8600 to reserve your seats today. The box office is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.” Patrons cannot book tickets online to allow for socially distanced seating to be implemented. 

The Hale Center Theater in Orem was due to open its production of “Little Women” on July 10, with a similar strategy in place that patrons need to call the box office rather than book online.

On July 11, the theater posted on Facebook: “We were informed Friday, July 10 that one of the performers in our upcoming production of ‘Little Women’ has tested positive for COVID-19. Their partner, also a member of the cast, is awaiting their test results. They are believed to have been exposed to the virus at a private function unaffiliated with the theater. They are both currently quarantined and we wish them a safe and speedy recovery.

“While our casts have been rehearsing separately and the affected individual was masked and socially distanced at rehearsal, out of an abundance of caution, we cancelled rehearsals when the initial exposure was reported. We intend to have the entire cast tested for COVID-19, and are looking into doing so now. We are delaying the opening of the show until we can confirm that it is safe to continue.

“We remain committed to the safety of our actors, patrons and staff and will continue to remain transparent and communicative about the goings-on at the theater. For more details about what we are doing to make your visit to HCTO safe and comfortable, please visit haletheater.org.”

HCTO is due to stage “Over the River and Through the Woods” beginning Aug. 28 followed by “A Christmas Carol” beginning Nov. 30; its production of “Singing in the Rain” has been postponed.

Gephardt Daily reported Thursday that the Hale Center Theatre in Sandy temporarily suspended performances of “Mary Poppins” after two cast members tested positive for COVID-19.

A statement from the theater released Thursday afternoon said: “We are sorry to announce performances of ‘Mary Poppins’ are temporarily suspended. Two members of the company have tested positive for COVID-19. The production was halted on Monday, July 13 for a reason unrelated to COVID-19 as previously stated. We have since learned of the two symptomatic company members and have taken appropriate action.

“Contact tracing for all individuals potentially exposed has occurred as per our safety plan and and in close consultation with the Salt Lake County Health Department.”

The show is scheduled to reopen July 28.

“Please allow the box office to contact you for rescheduling of tickets,” the statement said. “We appreciate your patience while we try to bring happiness to families and keep artisans employed during this unprecedented time. We are working continuously with the state and county to do so as safely as possible. Performances of ‘Bright Star’ are unaffected and will continue.”

It appears from seating charts on the Sandy theater’s website that all tickets to future shows beginning July 28 are on sale without groups being required to social distance.

A newsletter sent to patrons June 30 said because the Sandy theater discontinued shows March 12, its production of “Strictly Ballroom” closed early. Upcoming show “Titanic” has also been cancelled due to a compressed timeline in the 2020 season, the letter added.

“We are excited to bring you the rest of the 2020 season! Now playing through Aug. 15, we are completing the run of ‘Bright Star,'” the letter added. “Mary Poppins” will play July 1 through Sept. 5.

Later this season, the Sandy theater will stage “Million Dollar Quartet,” Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express,” Disney’s “Tarzan” and “A Christmas Carol.”

For a full list of safety measures Hale in Sandy is taking, click here.


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