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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, McKeesport Little Theater is looking for ways to keep its programs in the public eye and raise funds.
The non-profit theater is planning several events, including a “drive-through” spaghetti dinner on Oct. 17 and a series of one-act and radio-style plays to tap the talents of its volunteers and actors, says Jennifer Vertullo, vice-president of the MLT board.
Based on Coursin Street in the city’s library and cultural district, MLT was preparing to celebrate its 60th anniversary season this year. Instead, the 2020-21 season has been canceled.
“Within the theater, we are cleaning and tending to the much-needed housekeeping projects that always seem to get tossed aside as we rush to convert our theater from one set to another,” she says.
Unfortunately, Vertullo says, “while those things are important, they aren’t doing much to bring in revenue or to keep us in touch with theater patrons.”
The MLT board has been forced to get “very creative,” she says, in finding new ways to bring people together without having them risk spreading COVID-19.
From 2 to 7 p.m. Oct. 17, MLT will hold a drive-through spaghetti dinner at the Jacob Woll Pavilion in Renziehausen Park. Board members, directors and actors and MLT juniors will fulfill carryout orders in the horseshoe-shaped driveway that surrounds the pavilion.
For $10, guests will receive a large portion of spaghetti with marinara sauce, meatballs, salad, dinner roll and a beverage. There also will be a bake sale, Vertullo says.
Guests will remain in their cars to place and receive their orders. Federal CDC and Allegheny County Health Department guidelines will be followed when preparing and distributing orders, she says.
“This drive-through dinner is just the beginning of what we will offer this fall,” Vertullo says.
In a few weeks, she says, MLT will formally announce its “Outside the Box Office” series of radio plays and one-act plays that will be recorded, then streamed online. Viewers will pay for a code that allows them to view the events, Vertullo says. The payments will help take the place of in-person ticket sales, she says.
There are also plans for holiday portrait sessions on the MLT stage, Vertullo says.
For more information about McKeesport Little Theater, visit www.mckeesportlittletheater.com.
Originally published September 23, 2020.