ESSEX — Although Community College of Baltimore County academic theatre program students have pivoted with change triggered by the pandemic and found new ways to serve audiences, this month, they will finally resume live performances indoors for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.

“It feels like getting back a lost part of ourselves,” CCBC Director of Performing Arts Anne Lefter said. “Going back into a theater knowing that we can share what we have worked on with a live audience and with the community, it feels like coming home.”

In late October, the mostly student-led theatre group will be performing Steve Martin’s adaptation of “The Underpants,” a German comedy by playwright Carl Sternheim. In the show, a young wife’s bloomers accidentally fall down in public, and her and her husband are scandalized. Following the incident, men show up to rent a room in their flat and fantasize about their love for her.

“The reason the theatre chose this,” Lefter said, “is because, let’s be honest, we all need a little laughter right now.”

Selections for the 2021 season’s theatre program align with the theme, “And Still I Rise,” which is based upon the poem by Maya Angelou and is about rising above the darkness, tests and trials and finding one’s self again, Lefter said.

“(The Underpants) is a terrific play to give people joy and remind people that life is not all doom and gloom,” she said. “It also gives students something fun and fast-paced to rehearse and perform for others.”

Other selections for the season include “Detroit ‘67,” a play by Dominique Morisseau about the 1967 Detroit riot, which will be performed at CCBC Catonsville in November, and “Speech & Debate,” a play by Stephen Karam about high school students who expose a teacher who solicits young boys, which will be performed at CCBC Essex in December. Auditions for all three productions were held in early September.

During the pandemic, students live-streamed shows outdoors and recreated a show as an online exhibition; still none of that “felt like theatre,” Lefter said.

Now that theaters are reopening, CCBC set forth guidance to allow its own theatre program to reopen, and regulations still require audience members and performers to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.

“(The theatre program) has been slow to come back, because we needed to make sure that we were protecting audiences and crews, and that we would not be the reason why anyone walked out sick,” Lefter said. “We feel confident that the safety plans we have put into place ensure that, and we are excited to welcome back an audience.”

CCBC Theatre Schedule

The Underpants by Steve Martin

Adapted from Carl Sternheim

Oct. 21 at 11:10 a.m.

Oct. 22, 23 at 7 p.m.

Oct. 24 at 2 p.m. (ASL interpreted)

Oct. 25 at 10 a.m.

CCBC Essex, Robert and Eleanor Romadka College Center, F. Scott Black Theatre

Detroit ‘67 by Dominique Morisseau

Nov. 4 at 11:10 a.m.

Nov. 5, 6 at 7 p.m.

Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. (ASL interpreted)

Nov. 8 at 10 a.m.

CCBC Catonsville, Center for the Arts, Theatre

Speech & Debate by Stephen Karam

Dec. 2 at 11:10 a.m.

Dec. 3, 4 at 7 p.m.

Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. (ASL interpreted)

Dec. 6 at 10 a.m.

CCBC Essex, Robert and Eleanor Romadka College Center, F. Scott Black Theatre

General admission $10 | Seniors, students, CCBC faculty/staff/alumni $5 | Free for CCBC students with current ID

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