Drive-in theater to host unique screenings of "Selena" featuring live performances

ASTORIA, Queens (WABC) -- Fans of live music have had precious few choices since the pandemic began, until now.

This weekend, Hallets Point in Queens will be the site of "Selena: A Live Drive-in Experience," a showing of the 1997 movie starring Jennifer Lopez will be accompanied by live music.

Who knew that a form of entertainment invented in New Jersey a century ago could find new life right now in Astoria?

A stop on the trip back to the future of drive-ins can be found at Radial Park where The Durst Organization is showing "Selena" this weekend.

"What we're providing is a really dynamic experience," Senior Manager of Public Affairs and Business Intelligence Keith Dumanski said. "We're showing the movie, but we're also adding the element of live musical theater with a full band."

Previous performances at Radial Park featuring "Phantom of the Opera" and "Purple Rain" have shown how this is done.

At the point where the musical numbers begin on screen, the film stops and live performers take over with an eight-piece band.

Then, after each musical number is performed onstage, the movie resumes.

"So that spectators can have the benefit of both worlds," Dumanski said.

This also helps performers who were left idle when Broadway shut down.

Performer Eva Noblezado said she was ecstatic when she got the e-mail asking her to take part.

"I was like: 'thank you so much for reaching out and giving me the space to spread my wings a little bit and not have to crunch to pay my rent,'" Noblezado said.

Noblezada has been nominated for Broadway's top honor twice, most recently earning a Tony Nomination for "Hadestown."

This weekend she will sing the music of Selena during two showings of the biopic.

"Selena represents to me who I am as a young woman being half Mexican, half Filipina and living in America," Noblezado said.

This is also a welcome opportunity to sing again in front of a live audience.

"That is a very special treat for me after not having anything like that for eight months," Noblezado said.

Organizers aren't taking any chances.

On Friday and Saturday evenings there will be temperature checks and social distancing will be enforced at the venue.

If you're interested in attending, just head to the Radial Park website.

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