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.”