Crowds return, curtains up after COVID-19 cancels opening night for big show in SJ

Amanda del Castillo Image
Friday, January 21, 2022
'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' back on stage in SJ
Opening night of Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" in San Jose was canceled, but thanks to understudies, the show is back on.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Meeting enhanced safety measures and spending more time confirming the status of any scheduled event, is all part of life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I know I was checking every day to see if, 'Oh, something's coming through the email. Did they cancel it?' Or, 'Is it still gonna happen,'" Bay Area resident Stephanie Goodwin told ABC7 News on Thursday evening.

Opening night for Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" was scheduled for Tuesday at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown.

However, Broadway San Jose took to Twitter only hours earlier, announcing breakthrough COVID-19 cases within the touring company had forced the cancellation.

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Season pass holder, Debbie Garin, said she's familiar with shows making the move to cancel.

"These have all been cancelled and rescheduled," Garin said, looking at signs for previous shows scheduled to come to the Center for the Performing Arts. "And some of them aren't coming back. Which was sad because we enjoy coming to these."

Curtains were back up by Wednesday night, but not without concern from few on social media. One Instagram user asked in-part, "Why is only one performance cancelled if someone has COVID?"

Broadway San Jose responded to the post and explained, "The show has multiple understudies covering the roles and the company gets tested every morning to ensure that no one else is positive."

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New Ballet held a preview performance of the San Jose Nutcracker. The official return to live audiences came just in time for the holidays.

Additionally, the audience has measures members must meet.

"We have to show our I.D. and our vaccination card. Wear masks the whole time. So, I feel really comfortable," Garin continued. "Cause you are packed in there."

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Beyond that, the promise of hand sanitizer stations, touchless entry with mobile tickets, even MERV 13 filters and efforts to maximize outside air.

In December, Broadway San Jose General Manager Gretchen Feyer told ABC7 News the company also stopped food and beverage inside the theatre to make sure there is no excuse to take off masks.

These steps were enough to keep Glenn Fleming feeling safe ahead of Thursday night's show.

"I have a walker. So, that's been new since the pandemic. It's a little challenge to have a special needs situation," Fleming explained. "And they do very well."

On Twitter, Broadway San Jose said future performances of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" are scheduled to go on as planned.

ABC7 News reached out to Broadway San Jose for comment, but did not hear back.