LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – For the first time since the onset of the pandemic, the iconic Pantages Theatre in Hollywood will welcome audiences Tuesday for the opening night of “Hamilton.”
On March 13, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold nationwide, the Pantages was forced to shutter mere hours before its “Hamilton” production was set to open for its second run at the theater.
“We were literally rehearsing and were due to have our first preview performance with an audience on the night of Friday the 13th, that March 13th,” actress Sabrina Sloan, who plays Angelica Schuyler, told CBSLA this past May. “At around 2 p.m. in the afternoon, as we were getting pumped up, we kind of got the news. And I think we all that maybe, a couple weeks delay, and cut to, a year-and-a-half later. And this particular cast has not performed together once in front of an audience. So it’s really thrilling to be able to finally do that.”
Some theatergoers felt much the same.
“I feel really excited. It’s kinda nerve racking. I have chills going down. It’s kinda crazy,” said Isabella Juarez, who showed up for opening night.
“It’s definitely a lot of changes,” said Bianca Juarez, “but I’m definitely glad they have regulations so it keeps me safe.”
The Pantages Theatre announced last month that all ticket holders will be required to show proof of vaccination.
Guests under the age of 12 or those who need medical or religious accommodations must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours. Children under 5 will not be admitted.
All guests must also wear masks.
Upgrades the theater has installed since reopening include hand sanitizing stations throughout, upgraded air filters and a touchless ticket system.
The theater’s General Manager Jeff Loeb said all cast members and staff are vaccinated as well and that everyone is thrilled about opening night.
“After 523 days of an extended intermission we actually get to open our doors for the first time tonight, and I have to tell you, the whole staff, the cast, the crew – everybody is electric,” Loeb said.
“Hamilton” tells the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton and is wildly popular for combining hip-hop, blues and jazz along with a very diverse cast, which is what brought Kiesha Geyen all the way out from Temecula.
“I like that it’s all races and it’s so diverse. And I think that really speaks to how far we’ve come, to be able to see such a diverse cast,” Geyen said.
Opening night’s show was packed out. There are, however, still tickets for upcoming shows, which run until January 2.
All shows will have a limited number of $10 lottery tickets. For information on how to enter, click here.