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Charlotte set to be among the first in the country to welcome back Broadway shows

Blumenthal Performing Arts is again hiring after layoffs and financial struggles following a year with no theater.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The curtains have been down on Broadway shows across the country since last March, but theater is about to be back -- and Charlotte is just the second city in the country to make that happen.

But it hasn’t been an easy road.

"You know we're getting back to normal- a new normal," Tom Gabbard, CEO of Blumenthal Performing Arts, said. "I am so glad after a year of really being paralyzed."

Last September after months of being shut down, Blumenthal was forced to lay off almost 200 staffers after losing 90% of their revenue.

This September the theater will finally welcome people back with the mega-hit show Wicked.

"It will be the first big Broadway show either on the road or New York to launch," Gabbard said.

The theater's CEO has worked hard to make it happen.

"I literally have spent the last year searching for solutions all around the world, Zooming as part of international COVID theater think tank," Gabbard said.

Some of the results of that are making sure the theater has a new HVAC system and all staffers are vaccinated. And there will be more staffers soon.

RELATED: Rise up: Broadway shows set to return to Blumenthal in August

"We, fortunately, are in the mode of hiring again -- that’s one of the victories here," Gabbard said.

Part of that is thanks to the Immersive Van Gogh Charlotte exhibit the Blumenthal is hosting at Camp North End throughout the summer.

RELATED: Behind the Scenes of Camp North End's Van Gogh exhibit

"We're hiring a small army of people working on that show -- operates over 70 hours a week so good to see people in the public event business back earning a living," Gabbard said. "It's great to be coming back and I look forward to seeing people back in the theater."

There will not be room for social distancing as they hope to sell out every seat.

They had considered requiring vaccinations for theatergoers but decided against it. If you’re not vaccinated they are asking you to wear a mask.

Contact Michelle at mboudin@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to the Defenders team by emailing money@wcnc.com.

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