FACT VS. FICTION ABOUT MUSICALFARE’S NEW THEATRE

Posted on April 4, 2024

FACT VS. FICTION ABOUT MUSICALFARE’S NEW THEATRE

There has been a lot of false information spread by a small group of Amherst residents about the new MusicalFare Theatre.  In the following, we will clarify the facts from the fiction about this exciting new project for our Amherst community. 

FICTION: MUSICALFARE IS ONLY PAYING $1 A YEAR FOR THE NEW THEATRE

FACT: MusicalFare is responsible for 1/3 of the overall cost of the 10 million dollar theatre and will be paying the Town of Amherst 3.3 million dollars toward the project.  MusicalFare will also be assuming tens of thousands of annual new costs for utilities, insurance and offsite rental of office, rehearsals and storage spaces.

 

FICTION: MUSICALFARE IS A PRIVATE ORGANIZATION

FACT: MusicalFare is a 501c3 not-for-profit charity.  (The Buffalo Bills are a private organization.)   No one owns MusicalFare or directly profits from it.  Our financial records, tax returns and audited financials are all public record.

 

FICTION: THE 2024 AMHERST TAX INCREASE WAS DUE TO MUSICALFARE’S NEW THEATRE.

FACT: No 2024 tax dollars were used toward the new theatre.  A bond was approved in March 2024 by the Amherst Town Board for the costs of the new theatre.  No payments on this bond will occur in 2024.      

 

FICTION: THE TOWN OF AMHERST CAN’T AFFORD TO INVEST IN MUSICALFARE THEATRE.

FACT: MusicalFare currently has a 2.8 million dollar annual economic impact.  We hired 138 employees in 2023.  In the new and enlarged theatre our economic impact will conservatively grow to 4 million dollars a year.  That’s a 120 million dollar impact over the 30 years of our lease in return for an investment by the Town of Amherst of 6.66 million dollars.   

 

FICTION: MUSICALFARE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO RAISE ITS SHARE OF THE COSTS.

FACT: MusicalFare has currently raised 2.7 million dollars in pledges and commitments from its “silent” campaign.  The public campaign will begin in Summer 2024.

 

FICTION: MUSICALFARE HAS INSISTED ON SOLE CONTROL OF A PUBLICLY FUNDED BUILDING.

FACT: MusicalFare produces over 200 performances a year.  Our lease stipulates that we will work with the Town of Amherst on their events at the theatre.  MusicalFare is also offering free tickets, when available, to all Amherst middle and high school students and is creating a special “Mornings at MusicalFare” performance for each production for residents who don’t want to drive at night or for whom a morning performance time is preferable.  We are working very hard to ensure the new theatre can be attended by all Amherst residents and becomes a community resource.

 

MusicalFare is a 30-plus year Amherst Arts organization which produces the highest quality theatre in an intimate setting that differentiates us from Shea’s.  Keeping MusicalFare in Amherst continues Amherst’s ascent as a cultural center for the Arts.   

Buffalo News Article: "New MusicalFare Theater to be built in Amherst Central Park"

Posted on February 28, 2024

New MusicalFare Theater to be built in Amherst Central Park

by Mark Sommer, The Buffalo News, 2/28/24

One of Western New York’s leading producing theater companies will move into a new $10 million, 15,000-square-foot theater built by the Town of Amherst.

The Amherst Town Board on Monday night unanimously approved a 30-year, rent-free lease for MusicalFare Theatre near the former Westwood Country Club clubhouse.

MusicalFare will be responsible for one-third of the construction cost and utilities.

The theater, now on the Daemen University campus, is expected to open in September 2025 for the start of the 2025-26 season. Groundbreaking will occur by this summer.

“MusicalFare is already rooted here in the community, so it’s just a natural fit,” Town Supervisor Brian Kulpa told The Buffalo News on Tuesday. “I’m thrilled to have them as a centerpiece for us. Everyone involved is just wonderfully talented in terms of operations and understanding how to connect with the community.”

Randall Kramer, MusicalFare’s co-founder, artistic and executive director, said the theater has operated on the Daemen campus, also in Amherst, since 1991, and is thrilled by the move to the new Amherst Central Park.

“I think it’s a great investment for the town because they can create a really world-class theater – a small regional theater but of very high quality,” Kramer said. “If we can be successful in making it a real community gathering place, then that’s the kind of thing that starts to give communities a soul.”

Many Amherst residents enjoy and support the arts – about 50% of MusicalFare’s ticket buyers are from there – but the town has few performance spaces, with only one other professional theater company, O’Connell & Company at 4110 Bailey Ave.
 
That’s why Kulpa suggested to Kramer that the theater company consider relocating to the center of Amherst.
 
The theater will sit on 170 acres that belonged to the Westwood Country Club. The town acquired the site at North Forest Road and Sheridan Drive last April. The theater is being designed by David Schoell, of Natural Architecture in Hamburg, with engineering by Wendel Companies in Williamsville.
 
“Amherst is redefining itself regionally, and as part of that we are putting park spaces and cultural performances in the limelight,” Kulpa said.

The new building, at the southern end of the park where Kulpa hopes to add other cultural offerings, will allow the main stage to expand from its current 136 seats to 220. Plans call for eight to 10 rows that will fan out from the front of the stage, rather than being straight across, as they are now. The cabaret will expand from 97 seats to 120, with an expanded bar space.
 
“We want to still keep things intimate, because we keep hearing from everybody that that’s what keeps MusicalFare special,” Kramer said.

MusicalFare was founded in 1990 and the following year began staging the first of more than 200 musical productions to date at its current home at Daemen.

“They had a building that was unoccupied, and after a number of years we were bringing 25,000 people through the campus to see it, and they thought that was a great marketing,” Kramer said. “Former president Marty Anisman used to call us ‘Daemen’s football team.’”

Three expansions took place over the years, with lobby carpeting and expanded seating in 2001, the addition of a backstage scene shop and reconfigured backstage dressing rooms in 2008, and a cabaret, full-service bar and box office added in 2014.

The cabaret and more spacious bar area, Kramer said, “changed the entire experience” by giving patrons a reason to come early and not feel crowded, and to stay after the show to hear music. It dramatically boosted concession sales and other revenue. Kramer plans to reprise that experience, only with more space and fast-prepped foods including sandwiches and pizza at the new theater.
 
Daemen President Gary Olson notified Kramer in August 2018 that the landlocked university wanted to take over the use of the building after the 10-year lease expires in 2025.

The decision to bring MusicalFare to Amherst Central Park wasn’t without detractors.

Some expressed concern about the potential for noise and heavier traffic that could disturb people who live near the park. The theater won’t be built near residences and the 220-seat theater will draw fewer people than the 400-member country club once did, theater representatives have said.

A non-compete clause in the contract, which prevents other theater companies from performing indoor performances in the park, also rubbed some people the wrong way.

Kramer said theater performances can be performed outside and “we support that 100%,” but after putting $3.3 million into the building, the company felt it was only fair that they had exclusive rights to its theatrical use.
 
Kulpa said he agreed after examining leases structured similarly and signed between the City of Buffalo and Shea’s Performing Arts Center and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as community theaters including the Public Theatre in New York City.
 
Another clause allows middle and high school students to be able to sit in unsold seats for free if they arrive a half hour before curtain.

A clause will also require one Friday morning performance during the run of a show for seniors and others who might find it harder to get to evening performances.

The town will have use of the theater for community events when not in use by the theater.

Kramer plans to offer more than 200 shows a year. He is excited the new theater will beckon visitors from a busy intersection. The current site is tucked into the back of the Daemen campus, and signs aren’t permitted.

“I can’t wait to see what we do in there,” Kramer said. “We’ve been in spaces that had resources, but not to have it be our own and be able able to count on it.”

Kramer said $1.9 million of the $3.3 million has been pledged or received to date. He expressed confidence the theater company will meet its target by September 2025.

Original architectural drawings called for rehearsal, office and storage space that are no longer in the plan, he said, so the company looks to raise another $700,000 to cover those costs.

MusicalFare plans to launch a public capital campaign to raise the additional $2.1 million when the groundbreaking occurs.

Questions About MusicalFare's New Theater? Get Them Answered Here!

Posted on February 28, 2024

· MusicalFare’s current annual economic impact is 2.8 million dollars. With the increased seating capacity in the new theatre, MusicalFare’s annual economic impact will be over 4 million dollars. Over the 30 years of its lease that will create a 120 million dollar economic impact for Western New York!

· MusicalFare has currently raised over 1.9 million dollars in pledges and contributions for the new theatre. Its capital campaign goal is 4 million dollars.

· In the new theatre, MusicalFare will be offering free tickets, when available, for Amherst middle and high school students, one half hour before any show.

· In the new theatre, MusicalFare will annually offer an open house for the community with tours of the facility and performances.

· In the new theatre, MusicalFare will be offering a special Friday morning performance per production for senior citizens who prefer not to drive at night.

· In the new theatre, MusicalFare will be offering ½ price previews for Amherst residents.

· In the new theatre, MusicalFare will be offering an internship program for Amherst students.

· MusicalFare will not own the building, the Town of Amherst will. Much like the city of Buffalo owns Shea’s. This is a common practice with municipalities.

· MusicalFare will be responsible for all utilities, heating and insurance costs for the building.

· MusicalFare is a not for profit organization, and not a private entity, and employed 138 theatre artists, musicians, designers and technicians in 2023. We are the largest producing theatre in WNY.

· Traffic around the new theatre will not be an issue. The former Westwood Country Club had 400 members. MusicalFare’s mainstage has a capacity of 220.

· The MusicalFare building will be near the Sheridan and N. Forest border. It will not be near or border any homes.

· MusicalFare is a 34-year Amherst Arts organization which produces the highest quality theatre in an intimate setting that differentiates us from Shea’s. Keeping MusicalFare in Amherst allows Amherst residents the benefit of not having to travel downtown and continues Amherst’s ascent as a cultural center for the Arts.

We look forward to welcoming you to the new MusicalFare Theatre!

MusicalFare's Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Outreach (DEIO) and Land Acknowledgement Statements

Posted on July 10, 2023

MusicalFare Theatre Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Outreach (DEIO) Statement
Updated July 2023

MusicalFare Theatre is driven by the transformative power of music and arts, and we understand that inclusive, equitable and diverse stories and storytellers are instrumental in helping our Western New York theater community thrive. At MusicalFare Theatre, all are welcome and celebrated regardless of gender, age, race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, education, or ability.

We are not neutral. Hate is not welcome here. We believe Black Lives Matter. We believe LGBTQIA+ lives matter. We reject anti-Semitism and anti-Asian hate. We reject white supremacy and any forms of racial, cultural, societal, and political oppression, and we support the ongoing fight for equity.

We also recognize the systemic inequalities in the arts and know that our words are only as valuable as their accompanying actions. We pledge to be constant learners and will strive to create a culture of listening and self-challenge.

We as an organization cannot fulfill our mission and truly commit to our core values unless all voices are protected and elevated equally. We are committed to standing together with, listening to, and elevating the diverse experiences, viewpoints, and voices of our community – onstage, on our creative and administrative staff, and on our board – now and always.

MusicalFare Theatre’s DEIO Efforts:

2021: MusicalFare launched a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee as part of our capacity planning, which is dedicated to developing and sustaining concrete DEI policies and actions to help move us all forward.

2022: MusicalFare hired Davida Tolbert as the organization's DEIO Coordinator and MusicalFare implemented DEI selection framework for the upcoming 2023 season.

2023: Relationship started with Resource Council of WNY. Financial support was given through MusicalFare audiences to the Red Ribbon campaign, multiple meetings were held and plans are being formulated for MusicalFare to work with after school students and possibly seniors.

Currently, MusicalFare has already begun to establish new relationships and partnerships within the WNY community to build upon our desire to present opportunities for growth, inclusivity, advocacy for members of our community who have been excluded and/or underserved, togetherness and equality.

 

Our Land Acknowledgement Statement:

It is with gratitude and humility that we acknowledge that we are working, performing, and gathering on the ancestral homelands of the Haudenosaunee people, who are the indigenous peoples of this land. We acknowledge the Haudenosaunee as the original caretakers of this land, and honor the sovereignty of the 6 Nations—Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca and Tuscarora, and their elders both past and present, as well as future generations. We show our respect for treaties made on this land and deep regret for the mistakes both past, and present.

We acknowledge that an overwhelming number of us are using technologies not available or accessible in present day indigenous communities.

We will strive to do the necessary work to ensure that MusicalFare becomes a more inclusive space for all, and to never cease our ongoing learning in the spirit of collaboration and reconciliation. Nya: Weh. Thank you.

MusicalFare's Annual TWO DAY TICKET SALE

Posted on June 12, 2023

On Tuesday, June 13th and Wednesday, June 14th, MusicalFare will be holding its annual TWO-DAY TICKET SALE!*

On these dates ONLY, patrons can purchase General tickets to Friday or Saturday 7:30pm performances for any of the 23-24 Mainstage Season shows at the discounted rate of $40 (including fees) by entering the code TWODAY.

That's a $15 savings, per-ticket, off of our normal ticket price!

Discounted tickets can ONLY be purchased on June 13th and June 14th by phone (716-839-8540) during box office hours (12pm-6pm) or online AT ANY TIME on those dates.

And there's NO LIMIT to the number of tickets you can buy!

On June 13th or June 14th, pick a show (or shows!) that you're interested in and click the "Order Tickets" button. Once you pick a date from the calendar, you'll be shown the option to enter the TWODAY code.

*Offer only valid for Fri/Sat 7:30pm performances in the 23-24 Mainstage Season. Prior sales excluded. You must enter the code to receive the discount. If purchasing by phone, simply tell the box office representative the code.

ALL SALES ARE FINAL - No refunds or exchanges. Ticket prices revert to our usual $55 price (including fees) on June 15th.

Buffalo News Review of DISASTER

Posted on April 18, 2023

From The Buffalo News - 4/16/23
By Melinda Miller

MusicalFare's 'Disaster!' is an homage to the '70s

“Disaster!,” the musical happily destroying the MusicalFare stage now through May 14, is an irreverent homage (both figurative and literal) to the music and movies of the 1970s. Remember the 1970s? When disco was king and disaster films ruled at the box office?

Yes, those ’70s – the decade owned by Donna Summer and Irwin Allen, full of music made for dancing and celebrity-filled casts collected for chaos. Hard to believe it has been half a century since the Poseidon flipped on Shelley Winters and Newman and McQueen battled that Towering Inferno, but here we are.

Now “Disaster!” brings it all back, smartly muting the flames and flooding in favor of a rollicking dance mix and melodramatically riotous mayhem and romance. The action is set on a cruise ship-turned-casino whose cash-strapped owner has cut corners everywhere – except on the aquarium full of piranhas. What could go wrong?

One place director Randy Kramer went very right was in putting together the large cast of triple-threat performers who deliver nearly three dozen hits from way-back-when in ways we’ve never seen before. Playwrights Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick have a blast using songs like “Never Can Say Goodbye,” “Knock Three Times,” “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” “25 or 6 to 4” and many more as unexpectedly campy dialogue, and these actors are relentless in making it work.

While there isn’t a sour note in the bunch, there are some standouts: Ricky Needham, as a toned-down version of his early season character in Kavinoky’s “Rock of Ages,” is just getting better and better, especially in a hysterically heart-wrenching version of Nilsson’s “Without You.” Gabriella Jean McKinley, so powerful in Ujima’s “Toni Stone,” swings for the fences again as Levora, a Tina Turner-Donna Summer combo with a voice to match.

It's also clear we don’t see enough these days of Kelly Copps and Jennifer Mysilwy, whose song, dance and comedic chops all earn the spotlight, and, frankly, I will go to anything that features Arin Lee Dandes, who gets special props in this show for playing a pair of twins.

Rounding out the cast: Kyle Bassett-Baran as “the bad guy,” Kevin Craig (fresh from his great one-man show at Second Generation), the versatile Alex Anthony Garcia, sometime “Golden Girl” Michael Gilbert-Wachowiak, Stevie Jackson and Kristen-Marie Lopez, both seen this season in “Beehive,” and MusicalFare regular Jon May.

Also: Maria Pedro and Emily Yancey, as two very different women who are “torn between two lovers,” and Bob Mazierski and Jenny McCabe in about half-a-dozen roles each.

If ever there was a decade worth spoofing, it was the 1970s, and it’s “Still the One.” “Disaster!” leaves you laughing and may even make you feel like dancing (one song that somehow didn’t make it into the show!).

Now Hiring: House Manager/Box Office Representative (part-time)

Posted on August 26, 2022

MusicalFare Theatre is seeking a part-time House Manager/Box Office Representative for its 2022-2023 season. Our season opens with NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT which runs from September 7th-October 9th. Performances are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7pm, Fridays at 7:30pm, Saturdays at 3:30pm and 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm. We are looking for someone to cover 2-4 shows per week.

House Manager:

*Prepare the space—Making sure the house, lobby and restrooms are presentable for our audience before, during and after each performance.

*Manage the Ushers- meet and greet with them, assign them their jobs.

*Check patrons into the theatre.

*Work with our box office staff if there are any ticketing issues

*Work with our production stage manager to start the show on time.

*Seat all late comers.

*Responsible for the safety of the audience, in case of an emergency.

Box Office Representative:

*Sell tickets/subscriptions before the show and during intermission.

*Work with the house manager to solve any ticketing issues.

*Answer/return phone calls that come in during the performance.

*Looking for someone with great people skills, computer/Ipad skills, and must work well with others.

To apply, please email Kristy Cavanagh at kcavanagh@musicalfare.com by Monday 8/29/22.

Buffalo News Article - MusicalFare Theatre: Postponed Shows Get New Life

Posted on September 7, 2021

By Janelle Harb - The Buffalo News - 9/3/21

After a year of virtual cabarets, MusicalFare Theatre opens its 2021-2022 season with four previously postponed shows and a new musical.
“Camelot,” the new addition and first show of the season, was chosen because of its inherent protocol friendliness. “The composers and main authors of the show rewrote the show to a smaller cast so it can be done with eight people,” said MusicalFare's Marketing Director Doug Weyand.

“We wanted to go and make it a production that’s relevant to our time, so we have very diverse casting,” Weyand said. “[We’re] staying true to our mission statement at the same time as providing high quality musical theater entertainment.”
 
The other musicals include the astounding true story “All Is Calm,” the topical “American Rhapsody,” the comedy “The Other Josh Cohen” and 2014 Tony award-winner for best musical, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.”

“All the shows in the season, none of them have large casts,” Weyand said, citing that the maximum number of cast members in a show is 10. “Sometimes we would normally do shows that have like 25 people in them, but we’re taking it slow with people coming back to the theater.”

Weyand recounted how the audition process induced emotions among returning players. “Everyone was just like ‘oh my God, I’m so happy to be here, I’m so happy to be auditioning’ and actors hate auditioning,” Weyand laughed. “People were like tearing up at auditions, it just felt so good to sing in front of people again.”

During the pandemic, MusicalFare pivoted to a digital format through use of the cabaret space in its lobby for more than 30 livestreamed performances. “We used to do little cabaret performances on weekends where there wasn’t a mainstage show,” Weyand said. “Because of [the shutdown], we did them as livestreams and we basically turned our entire cabaret space into a television studio.”
 
The space went from having a one-camera livestream setup to now six, including overhead and moving cameras. “Our upcoming cabarets now will be in-person and livestreamed so we’ll be combining those two things,” Weyand said, which audiences can once again expect to see between mainstage musicals.
 
Weyand emphasized the unspoken bond that live theater creates and society is currently missing. “It’s one of the very few things where you can communally get together with people who you don’t know necessarily and you can laugh or cry and have an emotional response,” Weyand said. “It’s something that everyone needs in their lives, it’s enriching, and it’s communal, and it’s just flat-out fun.”

Buffalo News Review - LOVE, LINDA: THE LIFE OF MRS. COLE PORTER

Posted on June 29, 2021

MusicalFare's 'Mrs. Cole Porter' showcases the talent, charisma of Debbie Pappas - by Anthony Chase - Buffalo News digital (6/29/21)

ow starring in the one-person show, “Love, Linda: The Life of Mrs. Cole Porter” at MusicalFare Theatre, let us sing the praises of Debbie Pappas, a charismatic performer with a lush singing voice and irresistible stage presence. Pappas has been a fixture on Buffalo’s musical theater stages for … let me be a gentleman and just say “years.”

I first saw Pappas in the 1980s, playing Joan in “Dames at Sea” at Ruben’s Backstage. Since then, she’s played a litany of musical theater roles and has won three Artie Awards. Not all musical theater performers make smooth transitions from ingenue to their later careers, especially not singers. Pappas has accomplished this with finesse and retains the supple and expressive voice that has always been the hallmark of her stage performances.

A few years ago, I spoke to Pappas after she had done yet another audition for yet another production of “Fiddler on the Roof.” Tzeitel, the eldest daughter had been a go-to role for her, and a new production of “Fiddler” meant almost guaranteed employment. This time, however, Pappas was not hired. She peeked at her audition card, and was horrified to read “Too old,” scribbled beside her name.

Well, for an actress, the teen years rarely endure past the age of 35, and while Pappas might have become too old to play the Tzeitel, the daughter, she would not be too old to play Golde, the mother; or Princess Puffer in “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”; or Margaret Johnson in “Light in the Piazza”; or Trina in “Falsettos”; or the Stepmother in “Cinderella”; or Greta in “James Joyce’s ‘The Dead.’” She began to land and conquer these roles, one by one.

Indeed, Pappas now reveals in her credits that her most thrilling role to date is the real-life role of grandmother. (I suspect this admission is motivated by a combination of pride and an awareness that audience members will read the word “grandmother” and exclaim, “Impossible!”)

With “Love, Linda: The Life of Mrs. Cole Porter,” MusicalFare has provided a showcase for her magnetic allure and remarkable talent. As the lights come up, Pappas is revealed in a stylish Art Deco living room, wearing a sleek evening gown of cornflower blue and midnight blue that compliments the decor. The gown is punctuated with a generous three-strand pearl necklace and large pearl bracelet. Her hair, deep brunette, is done in a classic Gatsby era style.

Pappas has been called upon to portray one of the most beautiful and fashionable women of the early 20th century.

Linda Lee Thomas had divorced her abusive first husband by the time she met Cole Porter in 1918. The couple would marry the next year, even though Porter was ten years her junior and as openly gay as it was possible to be in those days. The two would come to define jazz era glamor and sophistication, first in Paris, then in New York. At the same time, Porter’s reputation and popularity as a song writer would soar.

In the show, Pappas, as Linda Porter, narrates the story of her famed marriage with charm and humor, while highlighting its major events by singing 18 Porter songs. Sometimes the song selections are expected, as when she opens with “When a Woman’s in Love.” Sometimes the choices are surprising, or take on heavy irony, as when Linda describes how she coped with her husband’s most ardent male lovers by singing his seemingly innocent, “Let’s Be Buddies.”

Pappas demonstrates the value of experience with a performance that is well-paced and builds to a rewarding crescendo. She saves the full power and fluidity of her voice for the most unlikely vocal highlight of the evening, Porter’s “Wunderbar,” from his late-career masterpiece, “Kiss Me Kate.”

I’m not sure, but it’s possible that Pappas forgot some lyrics on the opening night. It was during Porter’s playfully risqué “Let’s Do It,” with its famously endless list of double entendres. The complex lyrics she starts to sing are not by Porter at all, but by Noël Coward, written for his Las Vegas act. At one point, she turned to the audience and entreated us to provide the next rhyme. It was an amusing bit, but then I thought, “Has she actually forgotten the words?” Then I thought, “Who cares? She’s fabulous! This is divine!”

The production has been directed by Norm Sham, who is married to Pappas. Music direction is by Theresa Quinn. The smart set and lights are by Chris Cavanagh, who has also provided expert sound. Kari Drozd designed the costume. Susan Drozd designed the wig and make-up. The total effect is wunderbar.

MusicalFare Re-Opening Article from Amherst Bee

Posted on June 28, 2021

By Samantha Flavell - Amherst Bee - 6/23/21

Live performances by MusicalFare return June 23 with the production of “Love, Linda: The Life of Mrs. Cole Porter,” a one-woman musical that recounts through song and story the life of Linda Lee Thomas and her life with Cole Porter.

After a hiatus from live shows due to COVID-19, the theater community is eager and excited to get back on stage and veer away from virtual performances in favor of once again performing in front of a live audience.

“Being back is something that obviously everyone has been looking forward to. Not just the company; everybody in the theater community is happy to be getting back on stage and getting to do what they haven’t been able to do,” said Doug Weyand the marketing and production coordinator for MusicalFare. “I mean literally every artistic person has been sitting at home, unless they did a livestream somewhere along the line. But they haven’t performed in front of a live audience.”

With COVID restrictions easing and the number of vaccinated individuals increasing, MusicalFare is excited to welcome audience members back and ease back into live performances starting with this one-act, one-woman wonder.

“The cast for this, it’s a one-woman show. We purposely did that just to get people more comfortable because you don’t want to throw 20 performers at them. So, we’re doing a small show; it’s only an hour and five minutes long,” Weyand said. “There’s no intermission so it’s not like you’re going and sitting through the first act and then you have a 15-minute wait and then you have another act. So, you don’t feel like you’re there for a long time either. So, it’s giving people the entertainment that they want but keeping it restricted to a certain extent.”

Linda Lee Thomas, or Mrs. Cole Porter, is played by Debbie Pappas. Throughout the one-act musical Pappas enlivens her character to recount the life of Thomas and Cole Porter celebrating their love that blossomed through the unconventional relationship.

The musical showcases the fact that even though Porter was gay, the companion- ship and love between him and Thomas lasted through 35 years of marriage and a glamour-filled life. The musical scores are all music and lyrics of Cole Porter and include titles like “Love for Sale,” “Night and Day,” “Let’s Do It” and “Let’s Misbehave.”

“It’s a quick, nice, lovely little piece that is just going to enchant people and give them an hour’s worth of entertainment where they won’t have to watch TV,” Weyand said. “Obviously go at your own comfort level but all the theaters in town, including us, are taking all the precautions and are eagerly and enthusiastically awaiting their return. There is nothing like being in a room and experiencing something communally. It’s your first chance to get back out there, give it a try and see how you feel.”

Performances will be held at 7 p.m. today, June 23, and tomorrow, Thursday, June 24, as well as at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, June 26, and 2 p.m. Sunday, June 27. There is no 7:30 p.m. Saturday performance for this production.

There will be one non-vaccinated performance held on Thursday, July 1. No proof of vaccination will be required but all patrons are required to wear face masks at all times and observe social distancing. Seating will not be assigned but will be limited to approximately 33% of capacity with social distancing between seats. Vaccinated individuals are able to attend this showing as well.

All other performances of “Love, Linda” will be for vaccinated individuals and proof of vaccination such as a New York State Excelsior Pass or vaccination card with a photo ID will be required to enter. Seating for vaccinated-only performances will be at 76% capacity.

“We did a survey of our subscribers before we even announced the show coming in and like 97% of them wanted to come back immediately; 97% of them only wanted to come back if everyone was vaccinated in the audience. So basically that’s why we’re doing the vaccinated-only production. At least for this production, it will probably adjust as things move along into September for the beginning of the season,” Weyand said. “We’re only selling the vaccinated performance to 76% [capacity] of our seating. We’re allowed to sell it all the way but we’re choosing to do it to 76%. Because that way there is still some distancing between people. Because you don’t know how you’re going to feel the first time you’re back in the audience.”

Tickets are $49 and the performance is sponsored by Beechwood Continuing Care.

“I’m really, really hoping that people will take the chance and will enjoy the lovely performance that we’re putting on,” Weyand said.