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Omicron strikes again: Selma Arts Center postpones ‘The Spongebob Musical,’ while Good Company again delays the opening of ‘Guys and Dolls’

In the latest example of the Omicron variant walloping the local theater scene, Selma Arts Center is postponing its production of “The Spongebob Musical.” The production was originally scheduled to open Friday, Jan. 21. It will open Thursday, Jan. 27, instead.

Also breaking today: Good Company Players is once again delaying the opening of “Guys and Dolls” at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater. The show was originally supposed to open Jan. 13 but was first postponed to Thursday, Jan. 20. Now the company is postponing the opening once again, this time to Saturday, Jan. 22.

Meanwhile, the GCP production of “Months on End” at the 2nd Space Theatre was able to open on Thursday, Jan. 13, after being delayed from its original opening date of Jan. 7.


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The biggest issue: Cast members are testing positive for Covid-19.

“We did have Covid cases amongst the cast, and unfortunately we do not have understudies,” says Miguel Gastelum, co-director of Selma’s “The Spongebob Musical.”

Even when an actor is asymptomatic, a positive result sets in motion a quarantine schedule that can range from between five to 10 days. Because many of the understudies in a GCP show are “in-cast” — meaning the performers play smaller roles while covering larger ones — things get complicated when someone playing a major role has to call out sick. In that case, an understudy will cover the major role, and another understudy will shift into the role of the first understudy. As you’d imagine, you can only do that a limited number of times before the system breaks down. (GCP isn’t the only theater company facing such difficulties; many shows on Broadway have been forced to go dark because of a lack of coverage after too many positive test results.)

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“Months on End” was able to make it through its delayed opening weekend by using three understudies, says Dan Pessano, GCP managing director. Things are looking brighter for that show this weekend, with only one understudy scheduled to go on for the four performances scheduled Thursday through Sunday.

With “Guys and Dolls,” however, GCP lost the numbers game when it came to the rescheduled Thursday and Friday opening-weekend performances. Too many cast members were waiting out their mandatory quarantines. By Saturday, however, there will be enough to cover the roles.

GCP does not plan to extend the run of “Guys and Dolls” to make up for missed performances. (Because of the company’s tight schedules, extending one show would rob performance time from the next.) However, there might be some flexibility to add Sunday evening performances at some point during the abbreviated run if there’s demand.

Selma’s run of “Spongebob” is scheduled to go through Feb. 5.

“We are looking at potentially adding additional dates, but we are not 100% certain how that will look,” Gastelum says. “It’s all dependent on cast members’ availability.”

Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

donaldfresnoarts@gmail.com

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