While the pandemic has forced many small theaters across the country out of business, thanks to the kindness of its patrons, the foresight of its leaders and a few generous grants, Lawton Community Theatre has held firm.
Despite having to cancel the last half of its 2019-2020 season, and postponing the summer benefit concert, the theatre’s crew is in high spirits after a successful summer production of “The Lion King Jr.”
“We’re doing great considering everything that is going on in the world,” Chance Harmon, LCT’s managing director, said.
Normally, the theatre would be announcing its upcoming season, but there is nothing normal about 2020. So, instead of announcing a 2020-2021 season, the theatre has decided to take things slow.
“We’re just going to go show by show,” Harmon said. “We’ve done well. We have wonderful supporters and patrons donating and helping sponsor us. We’re trying to be frugal and still safely do live performances, and thank God for McMahon Auditorium. They’re so great to work with and it’s the perfect venue for social distancing.”
The theatre partnered with McMahon Auditorium to perform “The Lion King Jr.” And will partner with the auditorium again for its upcoming “socially distanced” showing of “Always ... Patsy Cline.”
“It is a great show that has been successful all over the country. It has two cast members and a band, so it is great for social distancing,” Harmon said.
In addition to serving as the theatre’s first adult show since the start of the pandemic, “ Always ... Patsy Cline” will also be Harmon’s directorial debut at LCT.
“I am a country music fan at heart and a huge fan of Patsy Cline,” Harmon said. “ I am thrilled about it. Anytime I’ve been connected with this show it’s been a sellout. And the story is wonderful ... I think we all need a little country music right now.”
Rehearsals for the musical will begin on Tuesday at the John Denney Theatre and the full production will be held at the McMahon Auditorium beginning Oct. 15.
Beyond that, future shows will be announced as they are planned, Harmon said.
“I think we are looking at probably doing smaller shows. Most of the shows we usually do require a huge cast and we can’t rehearse with a huge cast,” Harmon said.
One thing Harmon is looking forward to is the potential for a Christmas show.
“I think we are all probably going to need a little Christmas this year,” Harmon said.
In the meantime, the theatre will be participating in Lawton’s upcoming census week on Sept. 3. From 1-6 p.m. census workers will be on hand to help locals fill out the forms.
“Lawton needs to be counted,” Harmon said. “We’re happy to help.”
The theatre will also participate in Texhoma gives on Sept. 10, an event designed to raise money and awareness fro over 200 nonprofits.
As he looks to the future, Harmon is cautiously optimistic.
“We’re just going to be as safe as we can be and make decisions that are good for our patrons,” Harmon said.
Tickets for “Always...Patsy Cline” are now available online at lawtoncommunmitytheatre.com or by calling the box office at 355-1600. Reserve seating will not be possible for shows scheduled at the McMahon Auditorium.