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Arts and Entertainment Tuesday, Apr. 7, 2020 1 month ago

Asolo Rep broadcasting free online concert Wednesday

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Live, one-night-only Ground Floor show to be streamed on Facebook, YouTube
by: Klint Lowry Arts + Entertainment Editor

Who could use some live entertainment about now?

If you just absentmindedly raised your hand, boy, could you ever. Of course, we all could, but since it's going to be a while before any of us is going to see the inside of a theater, Asolo Repertory Theater is bringing the theater to us.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, Asolo Rep will present "A Night at the Bluebird Café," streamed live on Asolo Rep's Facebook page, facebook.com/AsoloRep, and on YouTube, at https://www.youtube.com/user/asolorep.

The show will feature cast members from the musical “Knoxville,” which would have been in the middle of its world premiere run had the COVID-19 virus not interrupted life as we know it. "Knoxville" has since been rescheduled to be part of the 2020-21 season.

“A Night at the Bluebird Café” is another show that is getting a second chance. In early March, Asolo Rep had just opened its new black box theater, an intimate but versatile 60-seat performance space. With the new space, it also had just launched something called the Ground Floor Series, one-night-only presentations of readings, works-in-progress and diverse, original works that wouldn't find their way onto a larger stage.

"We're creating a speakeasy experience," Asolo Rep Associate Artistic Director Celine Rosenthal said when the new series opened. “Audiences can get a drink, see a piece of art performed at a very high level, and then share their reactions with us. Once you're here, you're an Asolo Rep insider. ”

For now, audiences will have to be content with being insiders at home. The initial Ground Floor Series season had five performances scheduled, but only the first one, "The German Party," got its chance to christen the theater before everything had to shut down.

“A Night at the Bluebird Café” had been scheduled for April 13. Now, instead of the performers and audience gathering for a “speakeasy experience,” people can tune in, settle into their comfiest chair and take it easy at home as Sara Aili, Hannah Elless, Nathan Salstone, Joel Waggoner, Matt Szlachetka and Micaela Diamond take the “stage” from their respective living rooms with song stylings that will still be intimate, just in a different sense, with the same song list, including some original material.

"We were so thrilled to offer this performance as part of our inaugural Ground Floor Series," Rosenthal says. "It really captures the fresh and diverse nature of performance the Ground Floor series is meant to promote. When we found out we were going to have to cancel that in order to help stop the spread of the virus, we thought that was the end. But this fantastic group of artists has come together to keep the music playing and in a way that really captures the intimacy and communal nature of the original format. "

And if anything is lost, it is made up for by the fact that the concert will remain available on Facebook and YouTube afterward.

Freelance writer Marty Fugate contributed to this story.

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