ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — This summer, Playhouse Stage Company will operate their musical series at Albany’s Park Playhouse in its traditional first-come, first-served manner for the free lawn seating, and will not restrict capacity.

Sound designer Tommy Rosati and other Playhouse staff had a spring in their step Wednesday morning while they unloaded wooden platforms from moving trucks, beginning the Washington Park Lakehouse’s transformation into the well-known theatre venue.

Tommy Rosati, Park Playhouse sound designer
Free, first-come, first-serve amphitheatre seating will be offered.

“Originally, we were just going to have 200, and we were like ‘okay, we’ll do that, it’s better than nothing,’ but the fact that we can open it up entirely is nothing short of incredible,” said Rosati.

One of the many unique features of seeing a show at Park Playhouse is the free amphitheater seating offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. This year, with full capacity allowed at the venue, that tradition is coming back.

Tickets are on sale for premium seats.

The company originally made plans for all seats to require reservations. But with capacity limits no longer an issue, they can once again offer all of the free spots on the hill, along with tickets for their premium seats. The July musical, Ain’t Misbehavin‘, will feature some veteran local performers. In August, Matilda takes the stage, offering a spectacle for all ages. After the park was dark last summer, the creative minds at Playhouse Stage Co. are working overtime to make these shows special.

“This is the first time in a long time we’re going to have a roof over the stage, and the band is going to be onstage,” Rosati explained. “They’re going to look excellent. We’ll actually be able to see them, and let them get the credit they’ve deserved forever, because they’re usually stuck in the bandshell.”

The live band will be featured onstage with the actors this summer, rather than inside the lakehouse bandshell

The Playhouse will encourage patrons to wear masks when moving about the venue but will not require masking while patrons are seated. Playhouse staff will continue to use enhanced cleaning practices nightly and will take steps to avoid patrons congregating or crowding within box office, concession or restroom lines. 

Tickets for premium seats for both shows are now on sale.

Schenectady Light Opera Company also released more details Wednesday about their 2021-2022 season, which includes Merrily We Roll Along and Violet. The indoor venue will require all production crew members, actors, and volunteers to be fully vaccinated. As of now, SLOC is encouraging audience members to be vaccinated, but it is not required.

“All of the shows are going to be smaller, but one of the things the shows have in common is definitely that the performers need to be very musically strong, Trish Scott-Dembling, SLOC Artistic Director told NEWS10, “so the performances are going to be beautiful.”