palace theatre

Staff including technical coordinator Brooks Young disinfect the seats at the Palace Theatre in Manchester prior to a performance back in July 2020.

The “intermission” is ending at the Palace Theatre’s downtown Manchester venues.

Both the Palace and its nearby Rex Theatre are planning to reopen both stages on June 1, according to David Rousseau, director of marketing and sales.

The Palace closed its doors during the COVID-19 pandemic on March 13, 2020, and while scaled-down and socially distanced children’s shows resumed in the summer, the venues were shuttered again in early December, with the already rehearsed Christmas Spectacular called off.

It’s been a long, dark year, but Rousseau is looking forward to the reopening.

“It’s depressing when you come to work and nobody is here,” Rousseau said. “There’s nothing to look forward to at night, no crowds in the Marquee Club or waiting outside in the lobby.

“I’m really looking forward to welcoming back patrons,” he said. “It’ll be so exciting and so much fun to see people having a good time again.”

Palace members will get first notice of the main theater’s professional season lineup in mid-April. It will be announced to the general public on May 1.

But there’s already a growing lineup of reduced-capacity shows starting June 4 and running through next fall at the Rex Theatre on Amherst Street. Look for comedy shows by Kelly MacFarland, Juston McKinney, Joe Yannetty, Tony V, Corey Rodrigues, Christine Hurley and Jimmy Dunn.

Musical performances will include The Spain Brothers, plus musical tributes to Kenny Chesney, Elton John, Linda Ronstadt, the Cars, Journey, Santana, U2 and Billy Joel. There also will be some silent-film specials with live music and a visit from medium Debbie Wojciechowski.

The children’s nine-week summer series will also return.

Usually, the Palace accommodates audiences of up to 840 and the Rex, 300. Following state guidelines for social distancing, the numbers right now are 235 and 100, respectively — something Palace officials hope will increase as the summer season nears.

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