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The Shed to start socially distanced concerts

BY EVERYNIGHT CHARLEY CRESPO | Hudson Yards’ nonprofit arts center, The Shed, is getting set to host its first socially distanced indoor concert series of 2021.

“An Audience with…” opens with vocalist/cellist Kelsey Lu on April 2 and continues with musicians from the New York Philharmonic on April 14 and 15, soprano Renée Fleming on April 21, and comedian Michelle Wolf on April 22. All performances are at 8 p.m.

The performances will take place in The Shed’s flexible 18,000-square-foot McCourt space, which features a state-of-the-art MERV ventilation system, 115-foot-high ceilings and socially distanced seating for 150 people, in accordance with New York State health guidelines. The series is part of the state-sponsored program NY PopsUp!

“The exchange between audience and performer is vital to the energy flow of life, and it’s absence has left such a void for us all,” Lu said in a prepared statement. “I’m beyond honored to be one of the first to open up this flow again at The Shed and look forward to feeling everyone’s presence.”

The Shed, right, at Hudson Yards. (Photo by Jean Coleman)

“When I performed in its very first events, I was struck by the architectural innovation of The Shed, especially the amazing flexible enclosure of The McCourt,” said Fleming. “It could not be more ideal for these unusual circumstances, as we finally begin to gather again, safely, for live performances.”

With guidance from the New York State Department of Health, the attendance will be limited to 12 percent of The McCourt’s seating capacity, with the audience seated in pairs and socially distanced 6 feet apart. Ticket scanning will be contactless, and entry and exit will be timed. The Shed will have no intermission, coat check, food or drink concessions or merchandise sales. The artists will perform a single set no longer than 80 minutes and, with the exception of performers who must sing or speak, all performers will be masked and distanced by 12 feet on stage.

The seating plan for the “An Audience with …” series at The Shed. (Photo by Jasdeep Kang)

All ticket holders will be required to adhere to the following guidelines, as detailed by the state Department of Health.

Upon arrival, attendees must present one of the following:

  • confirmation of a negative COVID-19 PCR/NAAT test taken within 72 hours of the event start time, or
  • a COVID-19 antigen “rapid” test within six hours of the event start time, or
  • confirmation of having completed the COVID-19 vaccination series at least 14 days prior to the date of the event

In addition, all attendees will be required to comply with the following:

  • Temperature check prior to entry
  • COVID-19 health questionnaire completed pre-arrival
  • Participation in contact tracing
  • Remain masked and seated except for entry and exit

Tickets go on sale next week. Shed members receive first access. Any remaining tickets will be made available to the general public.

Continuing The Shed’s commitment to accessibility and lowering barriers to entry, 10 percent of tickets to “An Audience with…” will be distributed free to nonprofit partners via The Shed’s Ticket Access Program.

Currently, the Shed is open Thursday to Sunday, with the exhibition “Howardena Pindell: Rope/Fire/Water,”an exhibition about the brutality of racism and the healing power of art, now on view. Other current Shed programs include “Fighting Dark,” an audio walking tour and video exploring New York City’s July 1863 race riots and the power of Black resilience, and “Up Close,” a collection of 10 digitized art shows.

For more of Everynight Charley Crespo’s coverage of New York City’s live music scene, see his blog, the Manhattan Beat.

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