Friday, January 21, 2022

Waitress: The Musical or Theatre During Plague Time

Melinda Palacio


It’s been two years since I’ve seen a movie or concert indoors, thank you Ccovid. On Tuesday, I braved the crowds and the tail end of the Omicron surge to attend the musical, Waitress, at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara. So many events have been canceled and I assumed that the Granada would ensure my safety by making sure everyone was vaccinated, boosted, and not sick. Masks were required at all times. I also hoped that the seats would be spaced out, but my wishful thinking was only that, wishful. I probably should have splurged and purchased the extra seat next to me if I didn’t want anyone sitting near me, guffawing and coughing behind a mask. The theater filled all of the seats from the orchestra up to balcony where I was seated. I will have to wait until Sunday to find out if Omicron got me. Although Dr. Fauci says that eventually everyone will get Covid, it’s a chance I’d rather not take. 

In hindsight, the risk of being in a crowded theater was not worth it. There’s no way to social distance when every seat has been sold or spoken for. The actors deserve a full house, but perhaps a smaller crowd is better than having to cancel the show due to the pandemic. I know I would have enjoyed the show had the theater been less crowded, but I’m more cautious than most people. The pandemic has also turned me more into a hermit than I was before the lockdowns and the restrictions. The vaccines gave me a glimmer of hope that this would all end, but not everyone was onboard with the vaccine. First there was the struggle to find a vaccine and then the struggle to inject doses in people’s arms. Summer travels and winter holidays showed us that the minute we let our guard down and gather freely with friends and family, the virus comes back with a vengeance. 

Let’s suppose that everyone in attendance was protected by a piece of cloth, the musical, regardless of my anxiety over being out and about during plague time, was wonderful and featured music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles. As a fan of Sara’s singing, I wanted to see the show for that reason alone. The songs hold their own. The lead role is performed wonderfully by Jisel Soleil Ayon from Long Beach. She has also played Cosette in Les Misérables and she is nothing short of amazing in this production. If this production comes to a theatre near you and you feel comfortable stepping out during Covid, see this musical or put it on your wish list for a better time. Stay safe everyone.


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thank you Melinda, I appreciate your review. While I have not had the privilege of seeing Waitress and hearing the music and singing and seeing the great acting you describe, I look forward to, one day, seeing for myself. In the meantime your thoughts and reaction to being in the theater in covid times reminds me that my wife's and my self-enforced public isolation is still the right choice. Thank you for the gentle reminder.