LOS ANGELES - The Hollywood Pantages Theater opened for the first time in 17 months Tuesday for the opening night of the award-winning musical "Hamilton."
The theater opened with new COVID-19 safety protocols in place. Guests and employees must wear masks at all times, and performers, employees and all patrons must be vaccinated to enter the building and show proof of vaccination upon arrival.
"It's incredibly important that after 523 days we finally get to end the extended intermission. We upgraded our HVAC system with filters. We've increased outside air to its maximum. We have hand sanitizer stages throughout and will have cleaning throughout everybody's stay at the venue and lastly, we have the mobile tickets for a touchless experience," said Jeff Loeb, the General Manager of the Hollywood Pantages Theater.
Tuesday night's show was sold out, and the excitement was palpable.
"Just being here, I got chills. I was like I'm back and it's open! It's a return to something that's comforting because I love going to see live theater and when it shut down, I actually had tickets to see a different show and I couldn't go so I was really devastated," said Stephanie Cheng.
Dina Slye and her family were also excited to attend the opening night of Hamilton. Slye was looking forward to enjoying the show with her niece, Skylar Hope Talley.
"To me, it's great history and it's fun and kids don't understand they're actually enjoying history. I'm just super excited and I haven't been out in a long time so it's just exciting," said Slye.
Slye said she is relieved about the safety protocols in place too like vaccination proof.
"You have people who are at high risk [of contracting COVID] so we can still have fun and enjoy ourselves by protecting people," said Slye.
Debbie Wilson agreed and is also glad there are new rules in place.
"I like that everyone has to be vaccinated so when you take off your mask to eat or drink, at least everyone in here is fully vaccinated so it helps to make people feel comfortable," said Wilson.
Tickets are on sale for all performances between August 17, 2021 and January 2, 2022. There is a maximum purchase limit of eight tickets per household for the engagement, and the prices range from $55-$195 with a select number of premiums from $369.