CrossRoads Theatre undergoes renovations

Upcoming performances set to take place in October

Little Women, performed by the CrossRoads Theatre Guild, will open this weekend in the newly renovated CrossRoads Theatre at 249 W. Upton Ave., Reed City. (Herald Review photo/Cathie Crew)

Little Women, performed by the CrossRoads Theatre Guild, will open this weekend in the newly renovated CrossRoads Theatre at 249 W. Upton Ave., Reed City. (Herald Review photo/Cathie Crew)

REED CITY — The CrossRoads Theatre in Reed City has undergone significant renovations while being closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The theatre has been closed for the past 18 months, but organizers have been keeping busy updating the facilities, guild chairman David Ball said.

“The inside has been totally redone,” Ball said. “We were shut down, so we decided we would go in and do some work on it. We had a lot of volunteers helping us out.”

Ball said that the renovations included removing all the pews and replacing them with theatre seating, removing the carpet and refinishing all the floors and rearranging the reception area.

In addition, he said, they have added more lighting for the actors on stage and have redone the area behind the stage so the actors can sit and be comfortable while backstage.

“During the shutdown we have been concentrating on the interior of the building,” Ball said. “The building used to be a church, and we wanted to get rid of the pews because they were kind of a hinderance for the audience. We also had a new projector donated to us, so we put up the new projector and screen.”

Funding for the upgrades was provided through grants from the Osceola County Community Foundation and Great Lakes Energy, along with a $5,000 grant from the COVID-19 relief fund, as well as from ticket sales and donations.

In addition, the theatre guild held a fundraising drive to raise money for the new seats, Ball said.

“We have some really patriotic donors,” he said. “People have really stepped up to the plate and said, ‘Hey, you’re closed, so here is some extra money for you.’

“We have had around 50 people donate various amounts of money,” he continued. “With that, and the $5,000 grant from the COVID relief fund, we have been able to stay above water.”

The CrossRoads Theatre Guild will present its first live performance in over a year this month - "Little Women" by John D. Ravold, based on the novel by Louisa M. Alcott, in association with Concord Theatricals in New York City.

“We will be opening up this weekend,” Ball said. “This will be the first play since we took the pews out. We wanted to get the information out there to the public so they can come and see what we have done.

“I have 20 members of this company that I am directing, and they are all ecstatic about doing this play and being open to the public,” he continued. “The interest level is high, and opening night is close to selling out.”

Evening performances will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 8-9. Matinee performances will be at 2 p.m. and Oct. 2, 3 and 10.

Tickets are $5 reserved and $10 at the door. All other performances are $10 for both reserved and at the door tickets.

Reserved tickets are available by phone at 231-465-4044.

COVID protocols will not be mandated during performances.

“If patrons wish to wear masks, they may,” Ball said. “Social distancing will not be in place.”

Ball added that the theatre is a great outlet for the community, and that attendees range from little kids to people in the 80s and 90s.

"This is a unique opportunity," Ball said. "We are the only stand alone theatre in the area. We have people from Ludington, Traverse City, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo come to our theatre. Everybody comes that knows about it. We will probably have 100 to 200 patrons a night for this play."

CrossRoads will be working on several other upcoming performances over the next year including the CrossRoads Christmas production, which consists of four plays written by local artists about Reed City.

"That has always been well-attended," Ball said. "The last time we did six performances and had over 600 people attend."

In addition, they will be working on an Easter performance for February, and plays are planned for April, July and November of next year. Casting calls for all productions are open to the public.

Anyone interested in becoming involved in the CrossRoads Theatre Guild can call 231-465-4044, or visit the CrossRoads Theatre Facebook page for ongoing updates and information.