Performing arts groups say shows will continue
Ticket holders for this weekend’s three Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra concerts at Waikiki Shell need not worry – the show will continue.
The same goes for the final season performances of the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival outdoors at the historic site and archives of Hawaiian Mission Houses.
An executive order issued Tuesday by Governor David Ige requires organizers of professionally sponsored events for more than 50 people to obtain county approval to ensure the implementation of appropriate safe practices, among other COVID-related rules. 19.
Additionally, the City and County of Honolulu require that organizers submit a mitigation plan at least 10 days before the event, although for events taking place between now and August 20, they must do so as soon as possible.
Most performing arts groups have observed COVID-19 protocols before, so Ige’s latest order is not expected to disrupt scheduled events much.
“Henry IV, Part One,” which opens Friday for two weekends, is the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival’s first in-person production since 2019. The 2020 festival season was presented in virtual form, as were the two previous shows of the current season.
âIt was so wonderful rehearsing a show in person with the cast,â said Tony Pisculli, co-founder of the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival, who runs the all-female cast of âHenry IV, Part Oneâ.
The cast members are vaccinated and rehearsed with masks, Pisculli said, and although they will perform without masks, the cast will wear them offstage. âOur distribution tries to be as safe and mitigate as much as possible,â he said.
Hawaiian Mission Houses said on Wednesday that in light of Ige’s tenure, it was reducing the number of tickets available and would check guest temperatures and require masks. Since the venue is outdoors, the seating configuration is flexible and groups will be able to separate from each other.
Social distancing and masking are a bit trickier for musicians from the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra, which hosts three âRhapsody & Rachmaninoffâ concerts, with conductor JoAnn Falletta and solo pianist Lisa Nakamichi, scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the outdoor site.
âWe pivot and we adapt. We plan to move forward with our Starlight (Series) final here this weekend, but we’ve already made some changes, âsaid Dave Moss, Executive Director of HSO. âWe’re limiting our capacity to 500 in total (per gig). The Waikiki Shell can accommodate 8,200 people, so there will be extreme social distancing. “
In addition, spectators are required to wear masks and no food or drink will be sold as in previous weeks.
âThe orchestra is just under 90% vaccinated. Those who are not vaccinated should always get tested twice a week, âMoss said. âAll of our string players wear masks, and the antlers are only unmasked when they are playing, and we always have distance on stage, because the Waikiki Shell stage is quite large. So we’re lucky to have that and to be outside.
When asked how wood players deal with putting on and taking off their masks, Moss replied, âIt has become very natural for them. We have been doing it from the start.
When the symphony resumed performing in May, audiences were limited to 200 per concert. The biggest crowds over the summer were around 2,000 for last weekend’s concerts featuring music from rock bands Queen and Led Zeppelin. Under the level 5 rules, they could have reached 4,500.
Moss said HSO was planning 10 community concerts later this month, but canceled those events due to the governor’s order. He is also concerned that “even after four months of successful live performances with an in-person audience,” it may be some time before the indoor concerts return.
Neither the Diamond Head Theater nor the Manoa Valley Theater have any shows scheduled this month. Both groups require members of the public to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter and wear masks.
MVT’s Kip Wilborn has said he is consulting with the mayor’s office, but for now he is proceeding as if the musical “Be More Chill” will open on September 2, although that can certainly change.
Deena Dray, executive director of DHT, said that since its policy is that everyone must show proof of vaccination or a negative test result, the theater group will be able to have a 100% capacity when âOliver! Â»Opens September 24.
Star-Advertiser editors Steven Mark and John Berger contributed to this report.