Katie’s Column: When Curtains Closed

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Photo courtesy of Katrina Tilden

By the time you are reading this article it will be almost 11 weeks since we have started social distancing. Doing this has immensely helped our area flatten the curve and save so many lives. Everyone also has something that this virus has taken away from them. This includes high school graduations, trips and various monumental life moments. Many people throughout the world have lost loved ones to this virus and have suffered more than anyone could possibly imagine. Social distancing is necessary but it is also hard for everyone in some ways. 

I was in the middle of a musical theatre production when everything started closing. This was the closing production for my theatre group, Empire Performance Studio; something I had been a part of for five years. We had known that this was our last show together since around November of last year and we knew this would be a very emotional show for all of us. Many of the kids have been there for most of their lives and many of us have found some of our favorite people who have become a kind of family for us. 

Before we closed unexpectedly, the two weekends of shows we had were wonderful. College students who used to perform with us were all home because New York colleges had all closed before California’s did. They performed in the ensemble and improvised their way through the show. I was finally performing as my dream role since second grade, Gertrude McFuzz from Seussical the Musical, and was able do so with some of my favorite people.

The last hugs, last look at the walls of the black box, last mic check and the last bow all happened without us even knowing it. The last night of our show ended up happening a week earlier than expected on March 15. We all left without knowing we wouldn’t see each other for a very long time. We weren’t able to say goodbye to a place so important to all of us and it was heartbreaking. 

Live performers and everyone else who works in entertainment are struggling with the rapid spread of the epidemic as Broadway is closed until at least September, performances in LA county are canceled until 2021 and the future is uncertain for everyone involved. My heart goes out to everyone who was in rehearsals and never got to perform shows that they have worked so incredibly hard on like the North cast of Urinetown, Riverside Children’s Theatre’s Matilda and all of the other local theatre companies who didn’t even get to have an opening night. The theatre company I performed in may be closed for good but I can’t wait for the next time I am able to perform on stage once again.