Appell Center schedule: Full capacity shows return to the Strand Theatre

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
The Appell Center for the Performing Arts offers a message of hope shortly after 8 p.m. in York City, Friday, March 27, 2020. Gov. Tom Wolf added York County to the stay-at-home order earlier in the day in hope of preventing further COVID-19 coronavirus infection. Dawn J. Sagert photo

After 15 months, the Appell Center is reopening its doors to full capacity for the first time.

A slew of comedy and musical entertainment — both new and rescheduled from 2020 — is part of the upcoming fall schedule for the Strand Theatre.

"It really means the return to doing what we do and at the core of what we do," said Todd Fogdall, the president and CEO of the Appell Center, on its full capacity schedule. "It's bringing the community together to have a shared experience, whether it's at a concert, a comedy show or a film."

Here are the dates for the Strand Theatre's fall shows:

  • The Lone Bellow: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 7
  • Gordon Lightfoot: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 12
  • Ben Folds: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 27
  • John Mayall: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 2
  • Brian Regan: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 25
  • David Sedaris: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1
  • Postmodern Jukebox: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15
  • The Psychedelic Furs: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 5
  • Paula Poundstone: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3

Tickets to all shows go on sale to Appell Center members at 10 a.m. Friday. Tickets for the general public go on sale at 10 a.m. June 8.

An announcement for the Capitol Theatre's fall schedule will be coming in July, Fogdall said.

President and CEO Todd Fogdall at the Appell Center for the Performing Arts in York City, Tuesday, April 18, 2017. Dawn J. Sagert photo

For the Appell Center's return to full capacity, Fogdall said, he wanted to bring comedy and live music first to York County audiences, who enjoy those types of entertainment the most.

"What we have found is that our audiences really love and gravitate to live music and comedy," he said. "Especially coming out of the pandemic and everything we've all been through for the past 15 months, we just felt like people are going to look to come together for some great upbeat music and laugh."

While the Appell Center organized limited capacity shows and outdoor entertainment with social distancing and masking in the past year, Fogdall said much of the center's audience felt uncomfortable going out to shows.

Since then, the Appell Center has increased its health and safety procedures. Additionally, new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and easing COVID-19 restrictions in Pennsylvania have given theater officials the confidence to reopen fully this fall, Fogdall said.

More:State to lift COVID-19 requirements on school closures, event limitations starting May 31

That doesn't mean the Appell Center will stop doing its part to make audience members feel safe, however, Fogdall added.

To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the Appell Center has upped its cleaning practices and upgraded HVAC systems to provide better air filtration for its audiences. 

Air will also be frequently recycled to allow for fresher air to be brought into the theater, Fogdall said.

"These are all sort of the best practices right now for our types of facilities, and we feel really good and confident about being able to provide a safe and healthy experience for our audiences," he said.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Appell Center officials have struggled to find the right time to reopen its facilities as they continued to postpone shows and navigate unpredictable timelines.

As vaccines became more widely available to individuals in the spring, the Appell Center switched gears to focus solely on a fall opening. 

"I think definitely the recent lifting of mitigation efforts and the new guidance that is coming from the CDC — all of those things that just really gave us the confidence or acceleration to say: 'Yes, this is the time to go forward,'" Fogdall said.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.