The John W. Engeman Theater in Northport will open its doors to the public on July 10, beginning a series of performances that will last throughout the summer, and marking the first time the venue will host a performance since March of 2020.
Tickets are available, and there will be “over 20 live events” between July and September. Musical residencies are expected to resume in September. The theater will operate at 100 percent capacity, but for now, proof of vaccination against Covid-19 is required. Masks will not be required inside the venue.
Engeman owner Kevin O’Neill said staying afloat during the pandemic has been “a challenge.” O’Neill said he became concerned about Covid-19, and the effects it would have on the theater industry, in early February of 2020, after seeing how the virus affected China and Europe, more specifically Italy.
Once Covid lockdowns began here in the United States, Engeman relied on numerous methods to get by and make sure employees were paid. They used a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan, they took out an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they used cash on hand from the theater, and at times O’Neill used his own money. The theater also applied for the ‘Save Our Stages Act’ that was included in the December 2020 Covid relief bill. They have yet to hear if they have been approved or denied. Throughout the entire process, employees have always been paid, O’Neill said.
Although the theater won’t actually reopen until July 10, O’Neill said that so far he hasn’t had any trouble getting employees to commit to coming back to work. Vaccinations for employees are “not forced, but encouraged.” O’Neill said that the vast majority of employees are vaccinated. O’Neill said he thinks it’s possible that in a few months, people that aren’t vaccinated will be allowed in the theater.
To view show schedules, purchase tickets, and find out more information, go to www.engemantheater.com