EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) - After shutting its doors March of last year due to the pandemic, the Pablo Center at the Confluence is making plans to reopen later this year.
Because of COVID, the Pablo Center in Eau Claire closed on March 13, 2020, resulting in nearly 100 canceled shows and $5 million in lost revenue from July 2020 through May 2, 2021.
But this fall, the facility will unshutter its doors to host the Broadway musical 'Waitress,' along with hundreds of other in-person events.
"We've planned a really incredible Season 4 with over 400 incredible events. And we feel that in October, we're going to be safe to open with no physical distancing requirements internal to the space. Watching what we're seeing in the state of Minnesota who hopes to remove all of their restrictions by July 1, we feel really comfortable opening in October, and you're going to see Broadway for the very first time," said Executive Director Jason Jon Anderson.
Safety protocols continue to evolve, but by October 1, officials plan to have no seating restrictions and hope to fill every seat.
When it comes to masking, the Pablo Center will ask staff and patrons to follow the guidelines of that time.
Either way, leaders are eager to welcome people back.
"Oh my goodness. After sitting dark for a year and knowing that we get to return and sort of drive revenue back into this community, we are so excited to be back," Anderson said. "We hope the community is excited to welcome us back. For every dollar that's spent inside Pablo Center, $12 are spent in the surrounding community."
The Pablo Center currently has 20 staff members, but it needs 160 by the time it reopens, including workers for the bar, box office, and back of house tech.
Anderson adds that Charlie Berens' performances in December sold out within two days, so they even added a third showtime, but that quickly sold out as well.
For a list of upcoming events, visit pablocenter.org/all-events.
Editor's Note: Pablo staff told News 18 that for all three shows of Charlie Berens, there are actually a few single seats available, which they still consider a sold-out show.