ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester Broadway Theatre League makes its long-anticipated return to the Auditorium Theatre with “CATS” September 21-26.
“CATS” will mark the first appearance of a touring off-Broadway production at the Auditorium Theatre for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020.
Cast member Christopher Salvaggio discussed the return to performing — including the first performances on Broadway in New York City — Thursday during News 8 at Noon.
“It’s so exciting,” he said of the return to Broadway. “A lot of my friends are there watching the shows and it just really is good to be back. It’s such a piece of New York City and its culture. Something’s been missing and now it’s back and everything feels right.”
For Salvaggio, “CATS” will mark his first performance since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020. “I performed my last show right before the whole world shut down, the day before. I got sent home and I was living with my parents for over a year, not performing, and it feels good to be back. It’s crazy. It almost doesn’t feel real and it probably won’t until we get there and have our first audience and really get to feel the energy in the room, but it’s a really overwhelming feeling. I get chills every time I think about it.”
Salvaggio lives in New York City but is Rochester born and raised. He graduated from Greece Arcadia High School. “It’s a dream! This is my first touring production and to get to kick it off here where my entire family and friends can come to see me means the world, it’s overwhelming.”
From the cast and crew to the audiences that will see the shows in Rochester, the return of live performing will come with something new – COVID protocols. Audience members will be required to wear masks regardless of their vaccination status, in both the lobby and theatre areas during entry/ext and throughout the performance. Salvaggio said he feels confident about his safety and that of his fellow company members. “It’s our top priority. It’s been the first thing we talked about since day one is safety and our protocols – for us and for everyone that comes into contact with us. We work with a bunch of locals at each theatre and obviously our audiences. We have an amazing COVID team that has taken every single precaution. All of our entire company is vaccinated. All of us are tested regularly. All of us are masked except when we performers are on stage in our makeup so we do everything we can and I feel very, very safe.”
As it relates to the show itself, Salvaggio said the energy for this version of “CATS” should be sky-high. “It’s one of the greatest shows ever produced and this one is especially special. It’s the revival production from 2016. So it’s the CATS we all know and love but with an enhanced new look, an eye toward storytelling, further fleshed out characterization, new choreography that gives a nod to the original – it’s everything we love about CATS but bigger and newer!”
For tickets, protocol information, and more about “CATS” visit RBTL.org.