SOLVANG, Calif. -- After spending more than 16 months away from the stage, PCPA makes its much anticipated return to live performances for audience members tonight at the Solvang Festival Theater.
On Friday, the curtain rises for Together: A Musical Journey, the first of two shows PCPA is performing this summer at the popular outdoor venue.
The original musical was written by longtime PCPA resident artist Erik Stein, who said everyone is thrilled to have the opportunity to work in front of a live audience for the first time since March 2020.
"As actors, we've always believed that lived shared experiences are vital, but I don't know if we knew how vital until they were taken away," said Stein. "So the idea of getting to be in a room sharing an experience, I forgot that you laugh more when you're seeing a show with a large group of people, you lean in. You experience things bigger when you're experiencing them with a group."
During the course of the pandemic, PCPA continued to perform, shifting into a variety of virtual productions.
Using the slogan, PCPA Plays On, the series of virtual performances proved to be challenging, but was immensely successful.
Now, after spending more than a year performing online, those with PCPA say they are ready to return to the stage.
"Some of it feels just like riding a bike, getting back into normal, and then other aspects, at times I'm hit by this just intense realization of what we used to, and trying to get back into that is a big shift from what the last year and a half has been," said resident artist Katie Fuchs-Wackowski.
While the pandemic is still ongoing, Stein pointed out the Solvang Festival Theater is a perfect place for PCPA to return to live action.
"Because it's an outdoor venue, we are lucky because we are able to really comply very easily with all of the guidelines with the CDC, the State of California, and the County of Santa Barbara," said Stein. "Looking from the stage, there doesn't appear to be the need for many restrictions because we're in an outdoor theater. We still have the concession stand available for people, people can bring in food. People can sit next to each other. People do not need to wear a mask if they've been vaccinated."
As for the opening show, Together: A Musical Journey, it runs 75 minutes and features a number of songs performed by some of PCPA's most well-known actors, including Stein, Kitty Balay* Andrew Philpot, Yusef Seevers, Emily Trask, and George Walker, as well guest artist Annali Fuchs-Wackowski.
"It's a celebration of being in a room together, sharing an experience," said Stein. "We celebrate stories that we know. Stories that we have in common, and we celebrate stories that are new to us."
Together: A Musical Journey runs July 23-August 7.
The second show this summer is Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, a story showcasing the music of legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday.
Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill runs from August 19-September 5.
All shows during the summer season begin at 8 p.m.
Box Office hours are Wednesday through Sunday 12:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
The Solvang Box Office is open 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. on non-show days and 4 p.m. - 8 p.m. on show days.
The latest COVID guidelines will be posted on the web site as we near performance dates.
Currently no masks are required and picnicking and concessions are available.
For more information, click here.