Circle Theatre Is Bringing Live Performances to Your Living Room

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The music doesn't stop for the Grand Rapids theater community. That's why Circle Theatre Grand Rapids is offering free original live-streamed programming during the coming weeks.

The programming will stream on Facebook Live and include Petty's Circle Fireside Chats and an exciting Living Room Concert Series. These experiences, as well as others to be announced, are designed to be at-home experiences that can be watched in real time as well as on-demand.

7:30 p.m.

Two concerts each week "at home" with Circle performers, hosted by some of the theater's most familiar performers as well as those new to the Circle family in 2020.


7 p.m.

Hosted by Petty LuPone, GR's own Broadway babe of a drag queen, Petty's Circle Fireside Chats will bring current and former Circle performers, staff, volunteers, patrons, and friends on a weekly show where audience members hear favorite Circle stories, a little music, and more.

Noddea Skidmore, Director of Creative and Audience Development, notes Circle Theatre—like most all arts organizations—is in a challenging place where it must generate revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, to stay afloat during this unprecedented time. The organization chose to create the Circle Virtual Events Series to entertain the community at home, while also creating an opportunity for a revenue stream.

"It's so important to us to also be ready to open our doors and welcome our community into our space and provide live entertainment when the CDC and State of Michigan deems it safe to do so," said Skidmore. "However, that takes capital. It takes money to build sets, to construct costumes, to cover marketing expenses, pay musicians, directors, and designers, and the list goes on."

The postponement of Circle's Season Kickoff fundraising event, American Graffiti In Concert, along with the cancellation of the first musical of the season Disaster!, (already rescheduled for 2021), means Circle is losing out on $85,000 in revenue between now and mid-May.

"Those funds are crucial to keep our organization operational. So, if we can't entertain our patrons in our theatre, we want to entertain them at home!" Skidmore said, adding that a ticket to a Summer Concert Series show costs $18, while tickets for musicals and plays range between $26 and $30. "If those who are tuning in and watching can invest what they'd spend as an audience member, that's really going to help Circle's revenue stream."

Skidmore reminds us that art, in its many forms, is what has gotten us through countless hard times throughout history.

"And let me tell you, theater—and its people—are resilient!" she said.

"It's so convenient to escape into streaming television shows and movies, and trust me, I do, too. But there's something very real and raw and refreshing for people to see familiar faces on their laptop and phone screens—not as a character but as REAL people—and to hear those familiar voices sing a song and say 'It's OK, we're going to get through this together,' in real time."

The people of Circle Theatre are storytellers who usually get to tell the stories of characters and others from another time. Today, they are helping to tell our own stories.

"And there's something extra beautiful about our community connecting with that as well."



Upcoming Schedule

April 7 | Living Room Concert
Khari Neal (ABC: Boy Band Evolution)

April 8 | Petty's Circle Fireside Chats hosted by drag queen Petty LuPone
Special Circle guests Rebekah Levine, Carly Uthoff, Craig Avery, and more.

April 9 | Living Room Concert
Carly Uthoff and Craig Avery of Brena (Hits of the '80s: Vol. 2)

April 13 | Living Room Concert
Lucas Story (Freebird: Classic Rock of the '70s)

April 14 | Petty's Circle Fireside Chats hosted by drag queen Petty LuPone
Special Circle guests to be announced.

April 16 | Living Room Concert
Kyle Jurassic (Circle alum most recently touring with Rock of Ages and regional productions of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. Circle credits include Rock of Ages, Catch Me If You Can, Altar Boyz, Little Shop of Horrors, and more!)

April 20 | Living Room Concert
Matty Owen (Disaster!)

April 22 | Petty's Circle Fireside Chats hosted by drag queen Petty LuPone
Special Circle guests to be announced.

April 23 | Living Room Concert
Host to be announced.

April 27 | Living Room Concert
Host to be announced.

April 28 | Petty's Circle Fireside Chats hosted by drag queen Petty LuPone
Special Circle guests to be announced.

April 30 | Living Room Concert
Host to be announced.

Visit Circle Theatre Grand Rapids to keep up with Circle's Virtual Events Series and learn more about how you can help Circle Theatre during this time of need.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for West Michigan Woman.

Photos courtesy of Circle Theatre Grand Rapids.


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