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Patchogue Theatre to come back ‘bigger and better,’ and at full capacity

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Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts will join Main Street’s bars, restaurants and retail shops this fall in returning to normal after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since last year, the theatre’s board and staffers have been playing the waiting game, shifting schedules while monitoring health, safety and state guidance, according to theater director Michele Rizzo-Berg.

“We’ve just been rescheduling shows and moving shows,” Rizzo-Berg said. “When we were given the word that restrictions were lifted we were obviously able to move forward and let people know we can get back to full capacity.

“We’re gonna open up our season and we’re gonna start letting everybody back in and have some fun.”

Friday, Sept. 24, will mark the theatre’s opening night.

Already booked is a special performance by The Moondogs, a Beatles tribute band. The cover band with perform the Fab Four’s eponymous ninth studio album, commonly referred to as “The White Album,” in its entirety. Then trough December, Patchogue Theatre will host a variety of other tribute shows, from to Motown to Led Zeppelin to Linda Ronstadt to Michael Jackson.

Non-tribute performances on the docket include a Toad the Wet Sprocket concert and a comedy show featuring Robert Kelly, Ron Bennington, Rich Vos and Jim Florentine.

A month before running it’s own shows, the theatre building will host The Gateway’s production of Disney’s Newsies, slated for Aug. 25.

In the meantime, the theater will make its presence knows on Main Street this summer.

“We are going to be having entertainment outside under our marquee for the Sundown Festival on July 22, Aug. 5 and Aug .19,” Rizzo-Berg said.

Dave March will perform July 22, Anthony’s Acoustic Jam on Aug. 5 and Pete Mancini on Aug. 19.

“These are free to the public, they can come by, they can say hi, and they can pick up an upcoming schedule,” Rizzo-Berg said. “We’re excited to have those artists performing out front for us, to welcome us back to the community and say, ‘We’re gonna be live. We’re gonna be open.'”

Rizzo-Berg also said Patchogue Theater is looking to grow its team before it reopens to the public.

She is looking for part-time workers. “Right now our main focus is going to be looking for bartenders,” she said. “We may have some positions available in the box office soon.”

The theatre is also recruiting ushers and ticket collectors through its volunteer program.

Although Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts was closed for over a year during the COVID-19 pandemic, the time was not wasted. The theater was already slated for more upgrades when the Village Board, which owns the property, unanimously voted to adopt Johnson Control’s energy overhaul plan this past February.

“We’ve had our roof replaced, touchless sinks put in, touchless toilets in the bathroom, we’ve made adjustments with the lighting in the theater,” Rizzo-Berg said.

“We’re the same theater, we’re just gonna come back bigger and better.”