PIP returns to work

Performers engage in their first script-reading session in about a year Sunday afternoon at the Playhouse in the Park. Executive Director Lisa Cope said this session was in preparation for the production of Walt Disney’s “The Descendants,” and attracted about 30 of PIP’s performers.

MURRAY — Like most entertainment entities, the Playhouse in the Park had to cease plays and musicals last year as the COVID-19 pandemic began to grip Murray and Calloway County.

That was a very bitter pill to swallow for the community, which has enjoyed this operation for many years. However, it hit especially hard for the people behind the productions —directors, performers, set designers and others. 

That is why Sunday was very emotional. That was the day several of the actors and actresses engaged in their first actual performance-related function in more than a year as they prepared for one of two productions that will reintroduce PIP to its community

“I cried twice (Sunday),” said PIP Executive Director Lisa Cope, “because we had people there again. And everybody seemed to be emotional as well.

“I mean, when I went to put the key into the lock, that was the first time I had opened those doors since last March. 

“Just to be able to open those doors and see people come in again was huge! But now there’s something we’re having to get used to, being busy again. And I love being busy, but we’re out of practice. It’s been a while.”

Sunday’s session was a script reading for the second of those productions, Walt Disney’s “The Descendants.” That is scheduled for April at the Rotary Club of Murray Amphitheater Performing Arts Pavilion inside Central Park. 

Cope said Sunday’s session drew about 30 performers.

“But we were careful. We were socially distanced and we all wore masks,” she said. “But it was just so great for us to be working again. We had a great time and I think everybody was having fun.

Cope said the other production — a ‘70s-themed musical called “8 Track” — did not require a wide-ranging script reading because it involves a significantly smaller number of performers — four.

“8 Track” is set for a March 25-27 showing at The Barn at White Oaks. 

Cope said ticket information for both shows will be posted later this week on the PIP website, https://www.playhousemurray.org.