You’ve seen drive-in theaters before but never like this. When the coronavirus put a halt to indoor theater, the Alden Theatre in McLean, Virginia, thought why not use the parking lot?

“The audience stays in their car and drives from station to station,” said Daniel Van Hook, producer of the drive-thru drama. “Everybody always stays 6 feet apart, and everybody always has something covering their face.”

A character leads each car from set to set, and the audience helps solve the play’s central mystery from their vehicles.

“Both of the pieces we’ve done were created out of nothing for this format,” said Andrew Scott Zimmer, an actor and writer. “It’s not like we’re trying to jackhammer ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ into the parking lot.”

Drive-thru drama at Alden Theatre
Actors perform in a drive-thru drama outside the Alden Theatre in McLean, Virginia.

CBS News


The actors said there are benefits to what they call “drive-thru drama.”

“What’s it like going from a stage to acting in front of a car?” CBS News asked Zimmer.

“You have a much better read on how the audience is reacting because they’re right there with you,” he responded.

Members of one family who attended a show said they would give it a standing ovation if they could. But for now, they give it thumbs up.

Maybe Shakespeare was right when he said “all the world’s a stage.”

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