The Road Back 2.0(22)

Posted January 25, 2022

2022 Trb Jan 26 Web

2022 brings a return to The Road Back. Read on for the latest happenings at the theater, and what's in store for 2022. Photo credit: Colleen Madden, Casey Hoekstra & James Ridge illustrating our measured-yet-enthusiastic approach to 2022. Photo by Hannah Jo Anderson. 

We had hoped there would be no need to continue this column this year. We had hoped it would all be back to normal. Of course, it’s not quite that. So while we anticipate that the 2022 season will look more like 2019 than 2021, we are under no illusion that there won't be challenges.

And so, because you are our people, and this is your theater, we introduce The Road Back 2.0(22). We won’t be here every week, but will keep you up to date on the hidden machinations that will bring the 2022 season to you, and you to it.

We’re in an interesting spot right now. While we are planners by nature, it turns out the virus doesn't give a fig for our plans. (And more than 20 months into this thing, we know you all feel that). As we move ahead with planning the summer to come, Omicron looms large in our daily lives. Though signs point to it being behind us before the season begins, the fact is that we don't know what will come after it, or what safety precautions we'll need when the days get long.

In light of this, we’ve adopted a bit of an 80/20 philosophy. We’re using 80% of our time, resources and brain power to forge ahead with our season as it is scheduled: a nine-play, repertory schedule, most-things-back-to-normal season.

With the other 20%, we are planning for other scenarios. What factors would necessitate changing our schedule? How would we handle having to cancel a performance? Or multiple performances? What will COVID protocols look like for our audience when summer comes?

We can’t know what COVID conditions will be three months from now when our production staff and company begin to arrive. Or five months from now when performances are in full swing. But we’ll do our best to game out the possibilities so when the unexpected happens, we’ll be ready.

In the meantime, we are so excited about how we’re spending that likely and hopeful 80% of our time. Here are a few highlights:

  • The Artistic staff is finishing up casting for the season, including the return of the Apprentice Company. We’ll share updates as offers are accepted.
  • Production Manager Michael Broh and his staff are working to hire about a dozen people to fill out the 2022 production staff.
  • Designs for all of the plays are well on their way to fruition, and plans are progressing for the 2022 design conference, which will take place in person and virtually for more than 100 artistic and production staff members in March.
  • The 2022 Book of Summer is underway and will be heading to the printer in just a few weeks. Can't wait to start planning? The Season Schedule is available now (subject, of course, to change), and tickets will go on sale to returning patrons on March 21!
  • Construction continues on our new artist housing, and they are growing like weeds. The two apartments buildings, named The Laurels, are scheduled to open later this year and will add 16 units (24 bedrooms) to our housing stock for visiting artists and artisans.
  • Many APT apartments are getting face lifts thanks to a large furniture donation from Steve Brown Apartments. Furniture acquired second hand during the Obama administration is being replaced at long last.

And much, much more.

The 20% work is important too, and gives us peace of mind to keep working on the 80%. We look forward to sharing more details on 100% of it in the weeks ahead.