January virtual production at Farmington Civic Center postponed

Summer season at amphitheater also on hold

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
Actor Nick Drivas rehearses a scene from the Four Corners Musical Theatre Company's production of "Disaster!" in February at the Farmington Civic Center.

FARMINGTON — Not even virtual theater productions, it seems, are immune to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Farmington city officials said Dec. 16 that the Four Corners Musical Theatre Company's virtual production of "Now. Here. This." that was scheduled for a two-weekend run next month has been indefinitely postponed.

City spokeswoman Georgette Allen said the production will not be rescheduled until Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's public health orders regarding mass gatherings are changed.

The recorded production at the Farmington Civic Center was supposed to have been streamed Jan. 14-17 and Jan. 21-24, but the governor's limits on mass gatherings made it impossible to put together enough cast and crew members to perform the play, even without an audience.

The production was supposed to have represented a return to action for the Four Corners Musical Theatre Company, the Farmington-based troupe Civic Center supervisor Randy West put together after becoming the facility's manager in 2019.

The company saw its inaugural 2019-2020 season cut short in March by the pandemic after just a handful of shows. With the Civic Center remaining closed since that time because of the pandemic, West hatched a plan this fall to resume some of its offerings on a virtual basis, and the production of "Now. Here. This." was supposed to have been the first locally based presentation on that list.

Matt Aaron andd Natalie Szczerba of the Four Corners Musical Theatre Company rehearse a scene from "Disaster!" in February at the Farmington Civic Center.

The production was to have been shot and recorded under strict social-distancing protocols, with the professional actors who make up the company being kept in a separate bubble from the rest of the cast, which was to have been made up by local actors. Plans called for shooting footage of the local cast members at locations around Farmington and editing that material into the final product.

More:Farmington Civic Center kicks off series of virtual offerings this weekend

The final version of "Now. Here. This." was supposed to have been streamed for paying online viewers in January. West previously said he planned to augment those webcasts with live Zoom presentations that featured the cast and crew before and after the production.

With no end in sight to the pandemic and New Mexico's COVID-19 infection rate remaining high, there is no indication of when the production might finally take place. Allen said even the company's productions scheduled for the summer at the Lions Wilderness Park Amphitheater are on hold until the city can make firm scheduling decisions.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.