ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque concert and theater venues may be able to open soon, but actually booking tours to come here is still dicey. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel for concert and performance venues to open, but with uncertainty as to that official date, it puts venues in a tough place to book artists and tours.
“We’ve been moving shows around, we did lose a few shows and we have a few new ones we’ve added to this season,” said Tom Tkach, director of Popejoy Hall. “We don’t have a perfect crystal ball but in order to stage a tour, national tour, you have to have enough venues and supply chain to sign on board and it’s not something you can do within a week’s notice or a month’s notice.”
Popejoy Hall announced its upcoming shows starting this fall, including Broadway musicals Jersey Boys (Nov. 4-7, 2021), Mean Girls (Dec. 7-12, 2021), Anastasia (March 3-6, 2022), Come From Away (May 11-15, 2022) and the hit, Hamilton (Jan. 25-Feb. 13), rescheduled a year later from its original date at Popejoy. In addition to getting enough of those shows to sign on, they also have to work on safety measures like security screens and touchless podiums to scan tickets.
“Everything has been discussed since last March from putting the orchestra into a bubble to keeping all the actors isolated, but we still have local stagehands, local crew,” said Tkach. “We’re an important part of our community. We’re a part of people wanting to be together and have a shared experience, a live shared experience. That’s what performing arts and live theater is all about.”
Other venues in town are also beginning to book tours. The El Rey announced a show by Dance Gavin Dance and the Sunshine Theater is booking Geoff Tate — both shows set for October. On Facebook, Kiva Auditorium recently announced a rescheduled show for comedian Franco Escamilla, now set for Sept. 3, 2021. Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said the city is already working out how to open outdoor concert venues like the amphitheaters at Isleta and Sandia Casino, which haven’t announced new shows yet.
“All of these kinds of things, we are working through the mechanics for being able to open them for 25% capacity, based on the yellow status,” said Mayor Keller. “Then, of course, they’d go 50% for green and 75% for turquoise.”
As for indoor venues like Popejoy and El Rey, that’ll be a slower process. In green, they can open at 25% capacity and the city is hopeful this can happen by the spring. In turquoise, they can open up at 50% capacity.
Popejoy says they believe much of the state will be vaccinated and venues can open to full capacity by this fall, when many of these shows are scheduled. However, if not, they say they won’t open until that’s an option.