By Lisa Hornung
After a year without live performances, the Jewish Community Center’s CenterStage theater is about to take to the stage again.
However, because COVID continues to surge, the company’s first production of the year, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, will be performed outdoors at Farmington Historic Plantation, 3033 Bardstown Road.
For Erin Jump, Arts and Ideas program director, this rare change of venue away from the company’s JCC home, was all about safety.
“We went through a lot of ideas, including performing at the J, performing outdoors, doing a virtual experience,” Jump said. “It just kind of fell into place that an outdoor experience was best for everybody involved.”
Joseph will only play three nights – Oct. 4, 5 and 6 at 7 p.m. – instead of the usual eight. And seating will be limited to 100 – less than half the usual capacity in the Linker Auditorium.
Tickets for Joseph went on sale Sept. 15, with a spike in purchases.
“Not only are we thrilled to be back, but it looks like, just evidenced by ticket sales, that people are excited, too,” Jump said.
Kathy Nichols, executive director of Farmington, said this isn’t the first theater production hosted at the plantation. Last year, Assumption High School performed The Spoon River Project there. Other theater companies have been in touch about using the venue, though they haven’t followed up.
The outdoor space at Farmington, where the show will be presented, has a covered pavilion. Seating for the audience will be spread out, assuring that patrons won’t be sitting shoulder-to-shoulder.
There also will be a bar and concessions stand appropriate for children and adults. Additional ushers will help people find their way. Specifics about parking and seating will be sent to ticket buyers prior to the performance
As in the past, this CenterStage production will be a fully-staged production. All the scenery, costumes and other production elements will be shuttled from the JCC to Farmington, making the show like one staged at the Dutchmans Lane campus.
“Our audience is used to a grand scale,” Jump said. “Our storytelling is so involved when it comes to set pieces, costumes, lights, sound – everything. While all of that does surround CenterStage, it is the quality of the performing as well.”
The outdoors and surrounding fall colors will bring an added dimension to the musical by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Weber, Jump added.
“When we announced [to the cast] that we’re going to Farmington, everyone just cheered,” she said. “As much as people are excited to see a show, our acctors are so excited to perform for others. And I think it just speaks to everyone’s desire to connect with everybody else…. We’re excited to do it.”