“The show must go on!” This popular adage was altogether abandoned at the start of the pandemic. Live entertainment may be deeply important, but it isn’t worth the risk of spreading COVID-19. Now, as California and the rest of the country begin to reopen, the theater industry is beginning to return as well.
Here in Sacramento, this is taking the form of “Curtains Up: Stages, Screens, and Stars,” a fundraiser for the Sacramento Theatre Company—and also their first show since the beginning of the pandemic. This event features the high school and middle school students in STC’s conservatory program, called YPC, and will have two in-person performances this upcoming Saturday, April 24th.
Although originally scheduled for November of 2020, the pandemic forced the theatre company to postpone the fundraiser until it was safe. According to Miranda Lawson, the Program Coordinator for YPC, making sure the event will be safe, “has been tricky.”
“We are following all CDC indoor capacity limits and there are no public walk ups… This private event is limited in person BUT is open virtually to anyone,” she said. In order to comply with CDC, state, and local guidelines, the majority of the event will be held outside. This includes outdoor performances, a raffle, silent auction, and free food. People may also elect to purchase a ticket to view the event virtually, while still being able to participate fully in all the outdoor activities—except for the food.
Those who want a full in-person experience may elect to purchase the COVID-limited and more expensive “Gold” ticket. This will allow you to see the YPC students perform on the Main Stage indoors. Masks will be required.
The two separate showtimes, one from 2–4 and the other 5–7, are in place to ensure there are fewer people on the premises at any one time. This is different from years prior, when the first show would be from 5–6 and the second 7:30–8, with an hour-and-a-half long break from 6–7:30 to allow people to mingle, eat, and bid on the silent auction.
“Curtains Up” has been a tradition at the Sacramento Theatre Company ever since its first iteration in 2014. The idea for the fundraiser was created by YPC students, and since then, different high schoolers have taken over the responsibility for organizing the event. “They’ve done the outreach for donations, chosen the song selections, conducted meetings, chosen sub-committees, and met with board members,” said Lawson.
In 2014, the fundraiser raised just under 20,000 dollars. In 2019, they raised more than four times that amount. This is done through ticket sales, donations raised before and during the event, as well as proceeds from the silent auction and raffling.
The funds raised through the event go towards STC’s School of the Arts programs, including their Young Professionals’ Conservatory, Pre-Professional Ensemble Company, and School Partnership Program. The partnership program brings acting opportunities to low-income and historically disadvantaged schools in the Sacramento City Unified School District.
“We just want people to enjoy a little snippet of theatrical normalcy and are thankful this event can take place even though it is very limited,” said Lawson. Additionally, the Sacramento Theatre Company is hoping to begin returning fully to normal by the fall.
Tickets for the event can be purchased at sactheatre.org.