South Bend music theater to provide virtual performances amid pandemic

NOW: South Bend music theater to provide virtual performances amid pandemic

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The pandemic has forced many businesses to get creative in order to keep engagement up. Art 4, a non-profit professional musical theater in South Bend has turned to virtual content since the pandemic began.

“We, and our board, really tried to come up with how we can still engage and still try to flip the model and kind of do something that still provides opportunities for people, and still engagement and still brings art into peoples lives in a time that’s really hard for us all to stay positive through everything,” Executive Director of Art 4 Aaron Albin said.

Art 4 has been switching things up to try and figure out new ways for people to enjoy the arts when so many productions have been canceled. They’ve done a number of musicals and events virtually, and now they plan to pre-record musicals to stream online for the public.

Since April, the non-profit has turned to online content. The new musicals for this upcoming season include Ragtime, the Spitfire Grill, Ordinary Days, and Rent.

The artistic director, Mark Albin said the upcoming 2021 season productions all have a storyline that deals with American life.

“Ragtime takes place in the turn of the century 1900s and deals with police brutality, it deals with racism, immigration, women’s rights,” Albin said.

Rather than perform the productions live, Art 4 will pre-record the musicals to stream virtually. The first production, Ragtime, will be available starting on February 19. Rehearsals start Monday of Thanksgiving weekend and will be done remotely. The crew will then meet in South Bend for a weekend to film the production sometime in January.

“When it comes to the performance aspect of the show, the way that its different is that they are going to perform in front of a camera, they’ll be lip-synching to audio tracks of their own voice that they’ve recorded in advance to make sure that we’re having great sound quality and keeping our singers safe,” Albin said.

Auditions for Ragtime is currently underway, there are over 2,000 applications. If you want to audition or want more information about the production visit https://art4sb.org/auditions

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