Peach State ready for limited live audiences

Dorrian Baber | Submitted PhotoRehearsals have been underway a couple of weeks for Peach State Summer Theatre's production of 'The Marvelous Wonderettes: Dream On.' The show opens June 16.

VALDOSTA – Peach State Summer Theatre is going live.

Due to the pandemic, PSST! had been planning a 10-performance, live-streaming run of “The Marvelous Wonderettes: Dream On” from June 16-26; however, earlier this month, the professional theatre company announced live-streaming continues but it's allowing a limited number of people to attend as a live studio audience.

“This will be a unique opportunity,” H. Duke Guthrie, PSST managing director and Valdosta State University Theatre & Dance professor, said in a statement. “We’ve seen a lot of streamed performances over the past year, and now we are opening the doors for audience members to see how it all comes together.”   

Participants in the live audience must be fully vaccinated. People may wear masks but they will not be mandatory, according to Valdosta State University, which runs PSST! under its theatre and dance department. Seating is limited to accommodate camera operators and equipment.

“This will be very similar to being part of a live studio audience for a late-night talk show or primetime comedy,” Guthrie said. “There will be camera crews moving around the audience and on stage with the performers. It will be different from our pre-pandemic performances but it will still offer audience members a memorable experience.”  

Traditionally, PSST! offers three musicals during the summer months and has done so for decades as Peach State Summer Theatre at Valdosta State University and at Jekyll Island.

Last year, as with so many things, PSST! canceled its season because of the pandemic. This year, Peach State Summer Theatre management opted to offer a one-show season.  

"The Marvelous Wonderettes" seemed like the best choice given regular PSST! audiences are familiar with the format, characters and its inclusion of familiar pop songs. And it has a small cast of only four performers.

Peach State staged the first in the series of "Marvelous Wonderettes" musicals back in 2013 to rave reviews and packed audiences. "Dream On" was scheduled for 2020 before organizers had to cancel the entire PSST! season last year due to the pandemic.

"The Marvelous Wonderettes: Dream On" is a sequel with the girls returning to their high school in the late 1960s and then again in the 1970s for their 20th class reunion, featuring hit songs from both eras.

"The Wonderettes" performances regularly sold out Sawyer Theatre in the past.

Guthrie said PSST! hopes to return to a traditional three-show season with dozens of cast members in 2022.

“I think everyone has their fingers crossed that the pandemic is under control by the time we start planning for PSST’s 2022 season,” he said in a statement. “As of right now, it looks like things are headed in that direction, and we remain hopeful that trend will continue.”

PSST! is the official music theatre of Georgia. The Valdosta Daily Times has been PSST!'s corporate sponsor for more than a decade.

More information: Call the VSU Theatre & Dance / PSST! box office, (229) 253-2914, 1-4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Tickets are available online at ShowTix4U.com and are $35 for individual streaming access on a single device, $35 for the live audience experience, and $60 for household streaming access. 

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