KALAMAZOO, Mich. — While live performances and concerts have been put on hold for the time being, a west Michigan theatre is offering a new experience, giving behind-the-scene tours to keep them afloat.
The tour takes you behind-the-scenes to learn about the areas backstage, and then takes you to the stage to view the theatre as a performer would.
"When the pandemic hit, we were really trying to find ways to stay in the community, stay relevant, keep people interested and aware that we are still here. We still want to be," said Kalamazoo State Theatre House Manager and Special Events Coordinator Rachael Reinholtz.
The Kalamazoo State Theatre was built and opened in 1927 and has been a staple on the Kalamazoo mall ever since.
While they've been closed because of COVID-19, they decided to get creative to keep them going while still following social distancing guidelines.
"We had to find ways to have smaller capacity, how could we do that? Tours. We could have minimal people in here," said Reinholtz.
With no concerts or other performances, the tours are also a way to keep money going in but more importantly give people things to do.
"Every theatre and every little bit helps right now especially with our industry. Our industry was hit ridiculously hard with COVID-19, so any kind of revenue that can come in is definitely going to benefit the theatre," said Reinholtz.
While many have seen the inside of the theatre, the tour offers a different perspective and shows you things you wouldn't see at a performance.
"You get to go backstage and see the dressing rooms where all of the performers, who have ever graced the stage, have hung out before and after. We take them to the projection room where we’ve got some of the original equipment. It's so cool. They get to go through the building and see the marquee room," said Reinholtz.
Even the original organ is in the theatre along with one of the original statues that they say once went crowdsurfing at a 'Red Hot Chili Peppers' concert.
"Right now, we don’t have a concert and crowd, but this place is just very, very special. I hope that everybody would take a chance to come visit," said Reinholtz.
If you're interested in touring the Kalamazoo State Theatre, tours are held on Mondays, Fridays and select Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Other dates and times may be available upon request.
Tickets cost $27.50 per person. To book, call the box office at (269) 345-6500.
Click here for more information on the Kalamazoo State Theatre.