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Reopenings

Boca’s live performance venue getting act back together

Randy Singer spent five years building an audience for live acts at Boca Black Box Center for the Arts. He’s had popular regionals like Sarge, and national comedians like Jackie Martling.

When Covid hit, he had to close down, then pivoted to live streaming. But Black Box is back, featuring acts both live-streamed and live every weekend, including this one. He even booked Judy Gold in February.

“Two weeks ago we resumed live performances. Sept. 18 was our opening day,” said Singer, managing partner for the club on Glades Road. “We socially distanced the audience. We were allowed 33% capacity and kept it. We’re offering two shows for the week, Friday and Saturday.’’

Like other live performance houses, Black Box closed March 15. “I did not expect what happened to happen,” Singer said. “Live-streaming is a different platform. We started Aug. 1. We were streaming two shows a week. Not good. Why pay to see an Eagles tribute if you could see a 50th anniversary tour on PBS for free?”

Right now, Black Box is the only show in town like this. A spokesperson for Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center said the acts booked before the pandemic are all on hold. No reopening date is set. “As a very small venue, social distancing and capacity restrictions limit our ability to open successfully at the present time. We are hopeful that in the near future, if conditions continue to improve, we will be able to reopen responsibly with entertainment by the end of the year,” said Kevin Barrett, art center manager.

Singer wants his audiences back, especially for the sake of the performers. He has opened another venue in Lake Park to attract a different crowd.

“I want to be sold out five shows a week. I would like things to go back to the way they were,” he said about Black Box. “Keeping our customers safe is our first concern. We have a full bar. We want the focus to be on the entertainment. Shows will get stronger and stronger into November, some of our bigger acts.”

By Marci Shatzman

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