Coming to a theatre near you: Patchogue Theatre plans for reopening


With hopes to open as soon as possible, Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts director Michele Rizzo-Berg said the reopening will focus on featuring local artists, though a lineup has not been finalized.

“Local artists are the ones who will benefit the most from the reopening,” she said, also noting that though they are legally permitted to reopen, they are taking their time to make certain it is done properly. “We want to ensure we are safely able to allow people back into the space.”

The Village of Patchogue’s recent Johnson Controls dollar-neutral energy savings project with eventual cost savings is starting with work at the theatre. The theatre-portion of the project will feature lighting interior and exterior, weatherization, roof replacement, temperature control upgrades and rooftop unit replacement, as well as water conservation upgrades and solar. Most notably, the new roof will house a new air unit with “bi-polar ionization”; basically, an indoor air-quality enhancer, perfect for COVID-19 quality control.

According to New York State guidelines, theatres are now able to open up to 33 percent capacity capped at 100 people. The Patchogue Theatre, pre-COVID, is capable of holding 1,106 in their main house.

Despite the substantially smaller crowd allowed into the venue, Rizzo-Berg said prices will be kept in line with what typical guests were used to paying, though there might be an inevitable, but minimal, raise. Also, she said, if they feel there is a need to add additional shows for an artist, based on sales, they will look into that option.

“Truthfully, this theatre has so many unique spaces that we have the potential to host events in the lobby, the loading dock and in the main house,” she added, noting that people will be more than able to attend safely and socially distanced.

As for the calendar, she said, the theatre is still working on getting local artists, singer-songwriters, podcast hosts and different kinds of entertainment options set up.

“I don’t want to hint at anything, but once we get back to things people are going to be excited,” she promised. “We are looking forward to having people back, though we want to ensure we do it safely. It’s our utmost importance to make our community proud."

Regardless of proof of vaccination, people will be required to wear a mask. The first event back to the open theatre will be announced sometime in the near future.

“The theatre has always been vital to our downtown business district and it’s important now more than ever,” added deputy mayor and theatre board member Jack Krieger, anticipating the reopening of the theatre. “Our No. 1 priority is the health and safety of the staff, guests and talent. So, before we open our doors, we will have everything in place to safely welcome them back in.”

Krieger is also the village board liaison to the theatre.

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