As canceled or postponed arts events pile up, the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts has announced stricter vaccination requirements.
Beginning Feb. 1, the St. Paul venue will require not just vaccination (or a negative test result within 72 hours of the performance) but also proof of a booster. The theater now requires more omicron-resistant non-cloth masks such as N95s, KN95s or surgical masks. The policies apply to all Ordway, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Opera and Schubert Club performances at the venue.
The new policies are a response to the insidiousness of the omicron variant as well as the kinds of programming offered by those organizations, collectively known as the Arts Partnership.
Shows at the Ordway include singers, musicians who blow into wind instruments and dancers who breathe deeply. "All of that is part of what we understand about how the virus transmits," said Ryan Taylor, president of the Arts Partnership and president and general director of the opera.
Taylor acknowledged the inconvenience of the new rules but said they're in response to patrons' urging the venue to find ways to perform while keeping artists and audiences safe.
The rules to do not apply to next week's musical "An Officer and a Gentleman," largely to give patrons notice to figure out how to comply in a time when tests may be in short supply.
The variant continues to vex other performing arts schedules. The touring production of "Come From Away," now playing at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, has canceled two more performances — Friday night and Saturday afternoon — but intends to resume the 8 p.m. show Saturday, having gained a little time to work new performers from the Broadway, London and Toronto productions into the cast. The musical runs through Jan. 23.
Park Square Theatre is postponing its revival of musical drama "Marie and Rosetta," having previously canceled some performances. Originally scheduled to begin Jan. 19, the drama about music pioneer Sister Rosetta Tharpe is "suspended" with hopes to present it later.
"We have been hearing the anxiety from our patrons, as well as facing challenges in the rehearsal room due to COVID-19. As we prioritize the health and safety of both our artists and audiences, everything is telling us to take a breath and return when we can do so," said executive director Mark Ferraro-Hauck.
Yellow Tree Theatre is pushing back "In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play." Scheduled to debut at the Osseo theater Feb. 4, the comedy will now run June 2-26.
Two events at St. Paul's Landmark Center have been shifted. The dance/culture program "Urban Expedition: China," originally scheduled for Sunday, will now take place Feb. 20. "Black Sea Odyssey," featuring Ethnic Dance Theater and originally planned for Feb. 20, will be a virtual event in March.
Among clubs in the Twin Cities, about 1 in 5 live music gigs planned for this weekend have been postponed or canceled, mostly at the performers' request. The shows called off include Samantha Fish at First Avenue on Saturday and Tina Schlieske at the Dakota on Saturday (which was replaced with Ginger Commodore's tribute to Sidney Poitier that same night).
Other concerts called off in the upcoming days include annual tributes to Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton at the Cabooze and Turf Club, respectively; rapper Sean Anonymous' birthday bash at 7th St. Entry; Best Coast's tour date at the Fine Line, and Kiss the Tiger's residency gig at Icehouse.
At Crooners Supper Club in Fridley, three shows have been canceled — Jennifer Grimm on Friday, Songs of Laurel Canyon and Lynne Rothrock on Saturday, and Robert Robinson on Sunday. The venue will be closed until Feb. 3 for remodeling.
Staff writers Chris Riemenschneider and Jon Bream contributed to this report.