CLEVELAND — Each September, Cleveland Public Theatre holds its party of the year, celebrating a brand-new season and fundraising for the cornerstone of the Gordon Square Arts District.
Last year CPT’s “Pandemonium” featured 300 artists performing on 25 different stages throughout the District, with a thousand people dancing late into the night. Pandemonium typically takes a year of planning.
But who could have predicted what 2020 would bring?
“In late February we could see things were going to start changing pretty quickly," said Raymond Bobgan, CPT’s Executive Artistic Director. "And we were already moving quickly to provide safety for our employees."
Bobgan and his team quickly re-imagined a performance reflective of where we are right now. Businesses are reopening. Communities are gradually coming alive. All of this happening at a time when our nation grapples with social change and racial equality.
Fittingly, this year’s celebration is called “Awakenings.”
“We as a country are awakening to so many things that have been true, that have been part of the foundation of our country that we need to awaken to, to really grow and be calm," Bobgan said. "The kind of place where all of us can be free from oppression."
Awakenings will showcase new pre-taped performances, all done under rigorous safety measures: Limiting rehearsal times, maintaining distances and proving theater can still happen, even in some of the most extreme circumstances.
“Safety was a high priority in making this TV special. Safety’s always been of the utmost importance to Cleveland Public Theatre. We limited significantly our rehearsal times. If someone had their mask off for a short time, maintaining a 12-foot distance. Most of those moments took place over less than two minutes and masks were immediately back on. We did a lot of research and had a lot of great consultation for this. Nothing is totally safe, but I think we did it in a way that was really responsible,” Bobgan said.
Awakenings: A Celebration of Cleveland Public Theatre is a two-part event, happening Saturday, Sept. 12. A one-hour TV special will air at 7 p.m. on WKYC and wkyc.com. At 8:15 p.m., a casual virtual After-Party kicks off to celebrate CPT and PAN Awardee, Micki Byrnes.
“It’s not just a celebration of CPT. This is a celebration of Cleveland and of performance of what is possible,” Bobgan added.
Ticket sales for the Virtual After-Party will end at 4 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, Sept. 12.
Check out ticketing information here.