A lot of things have changed at the Camille Playhouse in the past year — having to let go of all the paid staff due to the economic effects of the pandemic, but now things have taken a turn for the better. The Camille is now ready to welcome the community to enjoy its yearly season of shows as volunteers and board members share the mission of keeping the local theater alive.

The Camille Playhouse did not hold its yearly season performances last year but is ready to get back on stage and welcome the supporting patrons who have been anxiously waiting to go back and enjoy live theater.

The 58th season will begin on Sept. 10 with the “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” The season will run until May of 2022 and will continue with other plays throughout the months such as, “Our Lady of the Tortilla,” “Humbug,” “Sweet Charity,” “Jekyll and Hyde,” and “Lucky Stiff.”

Assistant Director Tirzah Claus and Director Brandon Binder go over the musical script Wednesday during rehearsals for “The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley Jr.” at the Camille Playhouse. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

“It’s important because our patrons have been asking for it, we’re ready for it, we all want to have some sense of normalcy and this is the way we brought it back,” Martie DiGregorio, president of the board, said.

“We struggled with what to present, what we could afford, what rights we could get, so we came up with a very exciting season. We think that it will be very successful, and we get calls every morning, ‘when are you opening?’ ‘When are you coming back?’ The response from the patrons, from the community, has just been overwhelming.”

The Camille Playhouse also hosted its yearly summer youth workshop where dozens of children participated and performed shows such as “Madagascar Jr.” “Bugsy Malone Jr.” “The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley Jr.” and “Singing in the Rain Jr.”

“We were in the same place that everybody was. Until this year, we were able to open our youth workshop which has always been very successful,” DiGregorio said.

“But we brought it back in an abbreviated form, with space distancing, masks and not having as many in attendance as usual. Yet, it was very successful.”

Lisa Esteve, vice president of the board, said she would not only like to welcome patrons back but also thank them for their support. She said she is grateful for the volunteers and donors who have made it possible to bring back the yearly season of performances at the Camille Playhouse.

Camille Playhouse Boardmembers Sylvia Lester, Martie DiGregorio, Edna de Leon and Lisa Esteve are pictured Wednesday in the lobby of the Camille Playhouse. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

“It is overwhelming and humbling; we have volunteer directors, volunteer choreographers, volunteer craftsmen and construction people backstage, volunteering lighting, sound, volunteer office workers,” she said.

“Everyone coming together to help us get back on our feet after a year of pandemic and we open our doors and welcome everybody from the community to come to the Camille Playhouse.”

Edna de Leon, treasurer, said they are ready to receive the community back and continue to support the Camille Playhouse. She said the enthusiastic team and crew who are volunteering are the ones who make this possible.

“We’ve been serving Brownsville since 1964 and we love to say our motto is ‘Bringing Broadway to Brownsville’ and this is just a very fun place to be,” she said.

“You just can’t go wrong and we would like to continue to count on our public for their support.”