BALTIMORE (WJZ) –- The Hippodrome Theatre says it is preparing to welcome audiences back this fall.

The president said during a Downtown Partnership webinar Tuesday the theatre has hired engineers and is putting in a $350,000 air purifying system.

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“As we continue to see vaccinations rise and hospitalizations go down, as we continue to learn more about the virus, I feel like where we’re headed for this fall will be a different place than we’ve been for a very long time,” Hippodrome President Ron Legler said. “Broadway’s model, unfortunately, is not a socially distant model.”

Legler said the Hippodrome “breaks even” at 85 percent capacity. Broadway in New York City announced last week shows will return in September.

At Power Plant Live, PBR Baltimore is reopening next week and the venue plans to bring back Hot Country Nights summer series on June 1.

“Weather permitting, June 1, we’ll start to feel like normal again,” Sal Di Giorgio, Facilities Director at The Cordish Companies, which runs Power Plant Live, said Tuesday. “We’re going to have to make lemonade out of lemons. It’s sustainable but different.”

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Baltimore’s long-running outdoor fixtures Artscape and the Fourth of July fireworks show have been canceled again this year.

“The last thing we wanted to be was a super spreader and the bottom line was, ‘We can’t do it safely,’” Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts CEO Donna Drew Sawyer said.

Legler says once we get on the other side of the pandemic, the arts will draw people in.

“After the last pandemic [in 1918], there was this lull period of a few years, and then the ‘Roaring 20s’ came on,” Legler said. “I think there’s a hunger for culture.”

The Hippodrome says its app will allow for mobile ticketing and contactless concessions.

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“Everything is safe. You don’t have to touch anything. You can order a drink from your app and have it waiting for you when you get there,” Legler said, adding mask mandates will remain in place at Hippodrome.

Paul Gessler