When the lights go on at Theatre West in Lincoln City for “The Cocktail Hour,” 623 days will have passed since actors last performed on the theater’s Jack Coyne stage. “The Cocktail Hour” completed two performances in 2020 before the COVID pandemic shutdown occurred; the play resumes today (Friday), Nov. 26.
Sandy Gruber, a Theatre West board member in charge of publicity, said the director and two cast members are the same as from that earlier production, but two new cast members will also be on stage. “This is a continuation of the play but also kind of brand new, with new actors bringing their energy,” she said. “We had planned to bring it back in mid-August, but then the third COVID wave hit.”
The cast is vaccinated and comfortable to be back on stage, she added. And Theatre West will be running at half capacity — with 35 seats, open seating — to provide social distancing. “We want to finish the play without anyone getting sick,” Gruber said. “By selling only half of the seats and having self seating, we’re able to do social distancing and keep people apart.”
Masks and proof of vaccination are required.
The Theatre West board had been watching as other theaters reopened and seemed to be working fine without complaints. “We said we have to try going forward to finish the play so we can start fresh in January with a new season,” she said.
And that’s what they’ve done. The 2021-22 season for Theatre West starts with the continuation of “The Cocktail Hour,” Nov. 26-27 and Dec. 2-4 and 9-11, all at 7:30 p.m. A 2 p.m. matinee is on Nov. 28.
The season continues Jan. 6–8, 13-15, 20-22, and 27-29 with “Marjorie Prime,” already in rehearsal, and goes on to “Outside Mullingar,” March 17-19, 24-26 and 31, and April 1-2 and 7-9; “Savannah Sipping Society,” May 26-28 and June 2-4, 9-11 and 16-18; and “Epic Proportions,” Aug. 4-6, 11-13, 18-20, 25-27 and Sept. 1-3, 8-10. Details are available at theatrewest.com.
“I think we’re gelling quite nicely and are ready to perform, with the actors eager to see people in front of them as they put on a show at last,” Gruber said. “We’re all aware that people are nervous about being in an enclosed space, but we’re doing all we can to keep people safe. I’m someone who stayed home these past months, but I will go see the show.”
Gruber added that Theatre West is contributing to the holiday spirit by stringing lights on the building for the season. “I hope that shows we’re excited,” she said. “We want brightness along Highway 101!”
For more information about Theatre West or to purchase tickets, call 1-541-994-5663 or visit theatrewest.com. The theater is located at 3536 SE Highway 101 in Lincoln City.