The governor is ready to lift the state’s mask mandate. But the Smith Center for the Performing Arts is not.
Guests will continue to be required to wear face coverings and show proof of their vaccination status at major Smith Center locations, Reynolds Hall and Myron’s, at least for now. That’s the current policy at the Smith Center even as Gov. Steve Sisolak lifted the mask mandate in public spaces statewide on Thursday.
Ticket holders for shows at both venues should expect to follow existing requirements at the Smith Center, until performing arts center officials determine their own pandemic safety policies. Fans should expect to wear masks and show proof of vaccination at upcoming performances by the great songwriter and pianist Jim Brickman through Saturday at Myron’s, as well as the Las Vegas Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance of the Beethoven’s 4th and 5th symphonies Saturday at Reynolds Hall.
The President of the Smith Center Myron Martin said Thursday that lifting the venues’ mask requirement isn’t as simple as simply following the governor’s guidelines. Broadway touring shows at Reynolds Hall are under contract requiring specific COVID safety protocols to be in place. These measures generally require the public to be masked.
“We’re deepening our contractual obligations right now,” Martin said Thursday afternoon, about four hours after Sisolak’s announcement. “We just have to make sure that we stick to what we signed on with these shows touring Broadway. Instinctively, I think we will soon be able to lift the restrictions. But we have to see if the shows allow maskless performances in other cities while they’re on tour.
The pandemic continues to undermine live performance, of course. The most recent touring show to play at Reynolds Hall, “My Fair Lady,” dropped five shows in Orange County due to a COVID outbreak before playing Las Vegas Jan. 25-30.
A key element in establishing policies at the Smith Center is that touring productions at the 2,050-seat Reynolds Hall are under cast equity contracts. The union should be involved in talks to change performance metrics during a pandemic.
Martin also contacts touring artists booked at Myron’s. If a performer has signed on to perform in the comfortable 240-seat venue with a masked audience, both parties would have to agree to change the requirements. Martin must also consider the team working at both sites when deciding how and when to change security protocols.
In the entire country, the Smith Center is the most in tune with Broadway theaters, in terms of operations, architecture, and genre of performances. Martin, acutely aware of Broadway trends as a voting member of the Tony Awards, referred to the recent lifting of mask mandates across New York State.
Just as New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced the end of the state’s mask policy, Broadway theaters reaffirmed their own guidelines to require masks and proof of vax through April 30. There is obviously no appetite on the Great White Way to risk the progression of productions which have seen improved sales even during the omicron surge.
The Broadway League, the trade group representing producers and theater owners, has released that all 41 Broadway theaters in New York will require vaccinations for audience members, performers, backstage crew and theater staff at the less until the end of April. This is independent of the Governor’s own political decisions.
“When you see this, it reminds you how important it is to protect the cast, the crew, the employees, everyone in the building,” Martin said. “But I am optimistic we will be able to cross this uncharted territory and have a safe environment for our shows. There are many nuances involved in this process.
And if we’ve learned anything, pandemic politics and nuanced decisions don’t always mix.
No hiding of Luke’s zeal
A man who is undoubtedly ready to drop the mask is a country superstar Luke Bryan. The “American Idol” judge and the Strip’s first resident headliner opens his run at Resorts World Las Vegas on Friday night.
Bryan opened a Zoom press conference Thursday morning announcing, “Nevada just lifted its statewide mask mandate, so we can drink beer and party in Vegas like we’re supposed to. do it.” Then he laughed. It looks like a good time show, played between Bryan’s trips to the blackjack tables.
oscar bonman visits two Las Vegas sportsbooks on Friday, which for him is a great way to start the day (especially if you’re kicking off some Bombay Sapphire martini action). Goodman is due to bet the Super Bowl between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. at the Westgate Superbook, where he has in years past joined broadcast personality and sports betting expert Brian Blessing for a radio chat before wading to the counter.
After that appearance, Goodman also heads to Circa Sportsbook for an interview on sports network VSiN. Last year we backed Goodman’s bet that Antonio Brown would score a touchdown for the Buccaneers. Maybe Brown is on this year’s prop bet list, but I couldn’t find him.
cool blocking alert
An original Pip? A former Prince backup singer? And the woman who embodies Kelvis? All this, and more, Monday night at the Nevada Room. It is Kelly Clinton Holmes accommodation, Bouba Knight of Gladys Knight and the Pips, and the protected Prince Elisa Fiorillo in a special Valentine’s Day edition of “The Sit In.” Dinner is at 6:30 p.m., the show at 8 p.m. It’s a big event, $75 per person, $135 per couple (excluding fees), a six-course dinner, glass of champagne and entertainment included. Go to vegasnevadarooms.com for more information.
John Katsilometes’ column airs daily in Section A. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at [email protected] To follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.