Ah, the joys of staffing a pit . .. during a pandemic

Like most theatre geeks and pit musicians, I have welcomed the decline of Covid and celebrated the reopening of locals theatres. I had the privilege this past year of MDing four shows, and we squeaked by with no issues until show number four, Godspell, in May 2022.

As you probably know, Covid’s Omnicron variant had mutated and surged during recent months. Just before tech week, one of my 3 guitar players (pit calls for 3!) tested positive, so couldn’t do the gig at all. I was able to find a replacement, but her couldn’t do all of the dates (3 rehearsals, 6 performances). As we started tech week, our producer and one of our sound guys tested positive. They were mildly sick, and we were able to proceed with tech and my pit. On the morning of opening night, my bass player tested positive. After hours of working the network, I was able to find someone to sit in that night and the whole first weekend. No rehearsal time. He did fine.

But, Miss ‘Rona wasn’t through with us. Sunday morning of the first weekend, one of the main actors tested positive. We canceled that day’s matinee. The next day, another actor tested positive and then another on Wednesday. We postponed the next/final weekend to the following weekend. Of course, I lost my very excellent drummer due to other bookings, and my guitar players shrank by the day. Turned out that my “new” bass player also plays drums, so he took over that book, while my original bass player, recovered from Covid, came back.

The show must go on, though, and on it did, and the audiences loved it.

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