Hairspray opening night at the Morris on two-year anniversary of COVID shutdown

NOW: Hairspray opening night at the Morris on two-year anniversary of COVID shutdown

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SOUTH BEND, Ind.,--Two years ago, today, the lights went out for Broadway at a South Bend staple.

The Morris Performing Arts Center shut down, and the production of the Lion King was cut short after performing only 10 of 24 performances. While the cast and crew left, the set for the Lion King remained on stage, collecting dust until it was eventually picked in July of 2020.

The theater remained closed until April 2021. It reopened at partial capacity for symphony performances and eventually opened back up to full capacity in August. Broadway returned to the stage in November 2021.

And two years since the curtains closed at the South Bend staple, Broadway is alive and well with this weekend’s performance of Hairspray.

The Director of Booking and Event Services, Jane Moore is excited to get Broadway back in South Bend.

“In 2020, we had to reschedule a bunch of different tour dates--especially with Broadway. We had to miss a season unfortunately because everything was shut down, but we’re back with a full season this year. We’re very excited the lights are on, and people are singing and dancing on stage,” said Moore.

The auditorium is open at full-capacity; Moore communicated that the Morris is taking every precaution necessary to keep audience members safe. Staff members are thoroughly cleaning in between every performance. The venue recently obtained a nationally-recognized certification for cleaning and sanitizing.

"We fully sanitize the theater--every square inch of this place between every single show we have. We're taking every precaution we can to make sure that this is a safe, enjoyable experience for people that come here."

For touring Broadway shows, like Hairspray, extra precautions are taken, including testing stagehands for COVID and requiring masks regardless of vaccination status.

And, as Broadway returns to the stage, more people are hitting the town. Nationally-acclaimed musicals draw people into the city.

Years of restrictions have people anxiously wanting to get out and turn a performance into an experience by drinking and dining at local restaurants before shows or staying downtown for the weekend.

"I think people are really excited that the theatre is open again. People are happy to be here to have a wonderful night out—Maybe dinner beforehand, we have drinks available here at the theater. It’s a really good night out, and it feels good to be out again,” said Moore.

if you’re interested in seeing Hairspray this weekend tickets are still available for Friday and Saturday nights and the Saturday and Sunday afternoon shows.

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