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Duluth Playhouse to lift mask requirement as of July 1

After June concludes, theatergoers will no longer be required to wear masks on Broadway — or on Superior Street.

A theater door is marked with a circular blue sign reading STAY SAFE, STAY INSPIRED, STAY CONNECTED: MASKS REQUIRED.
Signage at the NorShor Theatre on Thursday reflected the ongoing mask requirement. The Duluth Playhouse is lifting the requirement as of July 1.
Jay Gabler / Duluth News Tribune
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DULUTH — The Duluth Playhouse announced Thursday that as of July 1, patrons attending the company's performances will no longer be required to wear masks.

The change to the company's masking mandate, a policy implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19, will be simultaneous with the end of the masking requirement at Broadway theaters in New York. Executive Director Wes Drummond and producing artistic director Phillip Fazio cited the Broadway change, and a similar shift at "many other regional theaters," in an email statement to the community.

"After much (thought) and consideration, Duluth Playhouse has decided to switch to a mask optional policy on July 1," wrote Drummond and Fazio. "Duluth Playhouse leadership will continue to monitor COVID-19 transmission rates and follow recommendations from the CDC and MN Department of Health. The safety and comfort of our staff, actors and patrons will always be our top priority."

The company's next production, "Footloose," opens Friday at the NorShor Theatre. The current Playhouse season will conclude with a production of "Clue," rescheduled from this past winter due to COVID concerns during the Omicron surge and now planned for Aug. 12-21.

The next season, which opens with "Once" on Sept. 16, will mark the company's consolidation of programming at the NorShor and neighboring Zeitgeist Teatro as the Playhouse relinquishes its longstanding berth at the St. Louis County Depot.

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A cloak and hat worn by the legendary star during a Tony-winning Broadway performance in 1969 will soon go on public display at the NorShor Theatre.

Arts and entertainment reporter Jay Gabler joined the Duluth News Tribune in February 2022. His previous experience includes eight years as a digital producer at The Current (Minnesota Public Radio), four years as theater critic at Minneapolis alt-weekly City Pages, and six years as arts editor at the Twin Cities Daily Planet. He's a co-founder of pop culture and creative writing blog The Tangential; and a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can reach him at jgabler@duluthnews.com or 218-279-5536.
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