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Theatre Baton Rouge to reopen with "American Son"

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After months of being closed, Theatre Baton Rouge is getting ready to reopen its doors next weekend with a new COVID-19 safety plan.

“We’re literally taking every precaution that we have researched and gotten advice about. Again, we just want to make sure we’re protecting our people as we open this,” said Managing Artistic Director, Jenny Ballard.

Temperature checks and deep cleanings of the auditoriums using HEPA filters and UV lights are just some of the steps they are taking to ensure the safety of patrons and staff. Ballard says a volunteer from Oschner will also be outside doing medical-grade screenings before shows. 

Of the 327 seats available, only 40 will be sold for each showing so patrons can properly social distance from one another. 

Actors began rehearsing in August over Zoom, and gradually moved to in-person practices with masks and face shields. 

"No doubt, COVID has thrown an extra level of challenges with this production but one of the things we've done is rehearsed with masks, checked tempatures and being extra safe all around,” said Guest Artistic Director, Greg Williams Jr.

COVID-19 isn't the only challenge the actors are taking on. Their opening play, "American Son," deals with themes surrounding racism and police brutality, but is rated R.

The crew hopes to inspire the community to have more open discussions about social issues, in order to be able to better understand one another. 

"And that's what we need right now. We need to listen to each other, understand each other, and then maybe we'll be able to treat each other better," said Mercedes Wilson, who plays "Kendra" in the show.  

"American Son" opens September 24th and runs through October 4th. Tickets will be $25 for students and $30 for adults. 

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