NEW YORK — Over the past decade, few, if any, people within the Broadway community have done more shows together than Amanda Raymond and KJ Hardy.

What You Need To Know

  • Feinstein's/54 Below has been closed due to COVID-19 since March 2020

  • The cabaret venue is reopening for live, in-person performances Thursday with a concert by "Be More Chill" composer Joe Iconis and star George Salazar

  • The venue's longtime production crew is thrilled to be back in their element together for the first time in 15 months

"If we average about 835 shows a year, I'd say roughly I could probably cover about 500 of those," said Hardy, Feinstein's/54 Below production manager and lighting designer.

"KJ and I do 500 shows a year here, and I've been here about eight years," added Raymond, Feinstein's/54 Below head of audio. "So probably 4,000 shows in this room. Give or take."

Throughout their tenure as Feinstein's/54 Below's production manager/lighting designer and head of audio, this duo has been joined at the hip.

"You definitely have to have a very dynamic relationship here to work here as long as we have," said Hardy. "We also have probably the smallest booth in New York for two grown adult people."

"You know, the booth that KJ and I share is very small. It's a tight, tight space," said Raymond. "We are pretty much touching all the time."

Having spent so much time working together in close quarters meant that the pandemic-induced shutdown hit them in a very unique way.

"We came in and we sort of like shut everything down, which was a really surreal sort of like kind of like sad experience. And then we kind of went our separate ways and saw each other on Zoom," recalled Raymond. "I think for a while we talked on the phone pretty much every day, you know, until we sort of got used to the idea of not being in the same room together all the time. But it was pretty bizarre to go from sitting in a very small space with someone for almost a decade to not seeing them at all for a year."

"We definitely both had a period of adjustment," added Hardy. "It was definitely a gear change of trying to find purpose every day for quite a while."

After being separated for a year they have finally been able to reunite to reopen Feinstein's/54 Below.

"I'm very, very excited," said Hardy. "We had to look at every light bulb in this place - of which there are 254 - to make sure we're working, to make sure we're ready to open at our regular excellent capacity."

"It's going to be a great feeling to get these shows back up with KJ," added Raymond. "You know, we work really well as a team. It's going to be nice to be back home and together again."