Theater reopens after being shuttered for 17 months

POUGHKEEPSIE – Live performances returned to the stage of the Chance Theater Saturday night, for the first time in almost 500 days. The last show was on March 13, 2020, before the pandemic shut concert halls down.

Saturday night’s performance drew hundreds of people that were seeking to once again enjoy live music while supporting local musicians. Poughkeepsie-based musician Jeffrey Sherban was in attendance and was excited to be back in the audience. The drummer said “It feels amazing to walk back into the Chance to see live music with great friends. This gets local bands pumped up and wanting to play more. To see all these people out tonight is amazing. When I am on stage, it’s awesome to look out and see a packed house like this one.”

The performance was bittersweet, according to longtime Chance employee Nikki Johannessen. “This is our first show without Bob Morph being in the balcony running the lights,” she sadly noted. Morph, a legendary lighting technician who had been at the Chance for decades, was killed in a motorcycle accident in June. The duties were handled by Steven Oakley for Saturday’s concert that featured hard rock performances by Vyper, followed by The Playback, and closed out with the Jukebox Junkies who had the dance floor filled with patrons.

The band Big Guns, featuring Chance owner Frank Pallett, was scheduled to play but Pallett has been hospitalized with a serious illness. His bandmate took to the stage between sets to tell the audience that Frank is in the hospital, but the owner would have insisted that the show go on without him. The crowd cheered for Pallet’s return when the announcement was made.

Pallett had been working feverishly since the start of the pandemic shut down live music venues. As early as June of 2020, Pallett was making upgrades to his beloved theater, in hopes of reopening. The Chance has a new box office, new flooring, new carpeting in the balcony, and several other improvements throughout the facility. Government rulings continued to keep the venues closed until recently.

The theater has been scheduling bands for future performances. The event calendar can be found here.


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