Broadway productions are slated to take the stage later this year and Proctors will help make that happen.
This fall three productions, including “Hadestown,” “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations” and one show that’s yet to be announced, will tech, or undergo technical rehearsals, at Proctors.
“The Broadway tech process is coming back to life and it’s coming back to life right here on our stage this fall,” said Jean Leonard, Proctors’ chief of staff, during a Monday press conference.
Teching a show involves everything from building the sets and designing the lighting to creating the costumes and rehearsing. They tend to be labor-intensive and often last several weeks, as is the case with these three productions. “Hadestown” will tech at Proctors from Sept. 9 – Oct. 2, the yet-to-be-announced show from Oct. 2 – Nov. 11 and “Aint Too Proud” from Nov. 11 to Dec. 4.
Proctors has been a site for teching Broadway productions for the last eight years, including Disney’s “Frozen” among a host of others.
The Empire State Music and Theatrical Production Tax Credit has helped the venue bring in teching productions over the last few years.
The credit provides an incentive for production companies to tech at upstate entertainment venues. According to Leonard, it’s allowed Proctors to compete with other eligible theaters across the Northeast.
“We’re the closest ones. We’re two and a half hours from where Broadway sings the loudest and we are an easy train ride up,” Leonard said.
“The Empire State Music and Theatrical Production Tax Credit will bring 300 temporary jobs and more than $8 million of direct spending to downtown Schenectady this fall,” said Assemblymember Phil Steck in a statement. “The economic impact, usually calculated at three times their direct spend, will be substantial.”
The techning productions will also lead up to the return of Proctors.
“This is part of a somewhat long and purposeful and intentional, slow unfold to our reopening,” Leonard said.
In March of 2020, the theater closed down because of the pandemic and postponed or canceled all of its productions, including touring Broadway productions. Shortly after the shutdown, Proctors also laid off 80% of its workforce. While it has hosted some virtual productions and been used for community events, live theater and musical performances have been largely absent from the stage.
In the last few weeks, the venue announced new dates for some of its previously scheduled Broadway shows, including “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” which is slated for a week-long run starting Dec. 7.
While Schenectady audiences won’t get to see “Hadestown” or “Ain’t Too Proud,” at Proctors this fall, they will get a chance to see the unannounced show in October, which will be the kick-off to live theater events at the venue.
“There is still a fair amount of work to do,” Leonard said. “We are slowly, as I said before, getting back to the business of what we do, as we get to the summer we will have our premier education programs in all three venues. We will begin to hire and rehire and get the buildings polished up and ready to go so that we are ready for audiences and our techs this fall.”
Several other theaters across the state including in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Elmira, will also host a total of 11 Broadway techs this year.
Proctors is the only theater in the Capital Region slated to host teching Broadway productions.
“It shows not only that Proctors is coming back but the arts and entertainment industry is rebounding in this country and we’re just so fortunate to be part of that,” said Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy.