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Smyrna Opera House to reopen in August

Andre Lamar (andre.lamar@doverpost.com)
The Smyrna Opera House on the corner of Main and South streets.

After going dark for four months, the Smyrna Opera House is eyeing a return Aug. 22. Sanitation stations will be available for patrons on every floor. Guests will be required to wear masks and socially distance.

During this phase of the coronavirus safety precautions, attendance for seated events at the historic theater will be capped at 125, in contrast to its normal 285-seat limit, Opera House managing director Brian Hill said.

The Aug. 22 event will feature a one-man show by pianist/singer Lee Alverson in “One Man, One Piano, One Night.” Alverson will first tackle the music of Billy Joel, playing the icon’s greatest hits. That’ll be followed by “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On!” where he’ll cover music by Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, Little Richard, The Beatles and many more.

Hill said the Smyrna Opera House only intends to break even with ticket sales for the foreseeable future, until COVID restrictions ease.

“Right now we’re not looking to make money. We’re just trying to do what we’ve continued to do and have shows for the public,” he said. “We still want to have shows to stay relevant, so people still know we’re out here and we are a place for them to go.

“As things keep getting better, maybe people that are at a higher risk right now will come back later on as the situation gets better,” Hill added.

The second show the venue has on its schedule is a Beach Boy tribute by The Jersey Beach Boys Aug. 29. But that show is subject to change right now, because it sold out in March and is already over capacity.

Hill said he’s trying to decide the best way to handle this situation; and patrons will be informed about the direction they’ll take when it’s announced on the website soon.

Nonetheless, the managing director said he’s currently thinking about an option that will allow him to keep the current show date.

“We can add an afternoon show and have two shows and divide the crowd,” Hill said. “What we’d do is we’d call our ticket-holders and ask them which show they would prefer coming to and explain the situation to them.”

The third event on the schedule will be “Takin’ it to the Streets -- The Doobie Brothers Tribute Show” Sept. 19.

Smyrna at Night canceled

Technically the third event scheduled for the SOH were performances for the fifth annual Smyrna At Night Sept. 5, presented by the Town of Smyrna and Gable Music Ventures.

Danielle Pope, executive assistant for the town, said that event was canceled last week, but performances will be held virtually. Organizers are still trying to figure out how the event is going to translate virtually.

While those details will be announced soon, Pope said they’re considering having performers (those who are available to participate) submit videos and/or perform live from their own homes. Pope said they’re expecting to only have a fraction of content shared online of pre-recorded videos and/or live streams of performances

The town’s executive assistant said COVID was the reason they’re converting Smyrna at Night into a virtual block party.

“Considering the governor hasn’t updated his state of emergency to a phase three, and with all the numbers rising, we just figured if we’re going to have thousands of people [downtown] -- because of safety concerns, it’d be best to not have it, so that we don’t become a hot spot,” Pope said. 

Opera House crosses fingers

With the end of the shutdown presumably in sight for the Smyrna Opera House, barring more restrictions from Gov. John Carney, Hill said he’s looking forward to reopening the doors of the historic theater next month.

“We’re trying to get some sense of normalcy back at the Opera House,” he said. “We have a lot of people that come to almost every show. They support us and we’ve had several people call and inquire about when we were gonna reopen and have shows. So I think there is a need for our lane of entertainment out there.”

IF YOU GO

WHAT Smyrna Opera House

WHERE 7 W. South St., Smyrna

MORE INFO smyrnaoperahouse.org or 653-4236