Holiday Cheer

We have now com­pleted our sec­ond week­end of WHITE CHRISTMAS.

I was think­ing about this expe­ri­ence over the week­end, and thought I would pass it on.

As a direc­tor going into the process, I knew that I liked the show and every­thing that it stood for. The audi­tion process brought out some won­der­ful tal­ent, and felt that we had a very good cast. As we got into it, I real­ized that I had a fab­u­lous cast who were an absolute joy to work with. Shaun Baker, play­ing Bob Wat­son, the Bing Crosby char­ac­ter in the 1954 film, decided to come back to the­atre after a very long hia­tus. Lucky for me and the the­atre! Charm­ing, sings great, and a con­sum­mate pro­fes­sional.  James Reed is play­ing Phil Davis, the Danny Kaye char­ac­ter, and is charm­ing, with mati­nee idol good looks, and a fab­u­lous dancer.  James is also known to us as a direc­tor (HAIRSPRAY and JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT), and per­former (THE FULL MONTY, THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE), but this is his first time in a lead­ing role, and he is a joy. Lydia Merriam-Pigg, play­ing the Rose­mary Clooney role, has been in SWEENEY TODD in the ensem­ble, and recently played Frenchy in GREASE. When she audi­tioned for me for WHITE CHRISTMAS, she knocked my socks off.  This is her first time out as a real lead­ing lady, and she is perfection.i Tffany Davis, play­ing the Vera Ellen role,has graced our stage as Marti in GREASE, and Amber in HAIRSPRAY is a charm­ing, stat­uesque blonde, and a great danc­ing part­ner for James Reed.

The rest of the sup­port­ing cast is full of new faces and some famil­iar ones. Stephen Orr, Peggy Cole­man, James Sny­der, Chris Mar­tin, Melissa Esau, Terra Fear­rand, and a nine-year old bun­dle of joy, Rachel Corey.

Now onto Eve­lyn Bar­ney, the won­der­ful chore­o­g­ra­pher of the show. We worked together for the first time on 42ND STREET.  She is a great col­lab­o­ra­tor, and has that won­der­ful qual­ity that makes every­one want to do their best. She is in her ele­ment in this show. Dance-wise this show has many dance styles; tap, jazz, and ball­room. She is tire­less, and one of my favorite people.

As we put the show together, I real­ized that every day I liked it more and more, and now I really love it! In my opin­ion, there is no bet­ter show for the hol­i­day sea­son than WHITE CHRISTMAS. I believe that with the added music and expan­sion of the story it is vastly bet­ter than the film.  And watch­ing audi­ences get into it and enjoy the nos­tal­gia of it, brings a tear to the eye.  Cathy Hast­ings and Kathie Dixon have done beau­ti­ful work on the cos­tumes, and the set by Kenichi Taka­hashi, is really beautiful.

If you haven’t seen it, you have two more weeks, and the tick­ets are going fast.

My thanks and love to every­one who helped to make the show what it is. Every per­son, being cast or crew, is invalu­able to mak­ing any show hap­pen, and they do them­selves proud with this one.

 

May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christ­mases be bright”…Irving Berlin

Happy Hol­i­days!

Jim Cole­man,

Artis­tic Director

 

 

GREASE closes a successful run!

It is always bit­ter­sweet to see a show come to a close. GREASE ended a very suc­cess­ful run yes­ter­day. The audi­ences had a great time, and so did our cast!  This cast became very close, which is not unusual when you fig­ure that for the last 3 months they have been together at least 4 times a week, what with all of the rehearsals and per­for­mances. In this instance, they were closer than usual. They hung out together on their off time, and did some­thing almost every per­for­mance. Lots of par­ties!  We thank all involved for their exu­ber­ance, which was evi­dent on the stage, and wish them well.  You will see 5 of them in WHITE CHRISTMAS.

Thanks also to Joseph Toon, direc­tor, and Terra Fear­rand, chore­o­g­ra­pher.  This was their first time out doing these very impor­tant jobs, and they did fabulously!

Love to you all

 

 

ON GOLDEN POND wins Elly Awards

Con­grat­u­la­tions to our own Brian John­son and Hugh Litfin who designed the beau­ti­ful  sets and lights for our pro­duc­tion of ON GOLDEN POND.  They were awarded Elly Awards in Sacra­mento on Sun­day, Sep­tem­ber 23rd.We con­grat­u­late and and thank them for shar­ing their amaz­ing tal­ents with us! Pho­tos to follow!

The First Rehearsal for WHITE CHRISTMAS

Last night was the first rehearsal for WHITE CHRISTMAS.  First nights are always fun and very infor­ma­tive.  It is the first time that the cast is together to read through the show and hear the music. Before the read-thru starts the stage man­ager always has announce­ments to make, there are forms to be filled out, and basic rules, and sched­ul­ing appoint­ments for the cos­tumers to take mea­sure­ments. Then we get down to it.  Every­one is seated around tables and intro­duces them­selves and says what role they are playing.

Last night I was able to show some pic­tures that our designer, Kenichi Taka­hashi, had sent me from New York, so that every­one can see what the con­cept. I am not going to share that with you, you will have to come see the show for that!  Then we play the over­ture from the CD and we are off and run­ning!  This show is based on the 1954 film of the same name that starred Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rose­mary Clooney, and Vera Ellen.  In our pro­duc­tion those roles are being played by Shaun Baker, James Reed, Lydia Merriam-Pigg and Tiffany Davis. There is more music in the show than in the movie, and some great Irv­ing Berlin favorites have been added. We read through Act 1, then take an inter­mis­sion, and then we are back from Act 2.

As a direc­tor, the first read is very impor­tant and infor­ma­tive. Although your cast is just read­ing and start­ing to find their way through the script, you get a sense of what they will be like, and also starts you think­ing about char­ac­ter points that you want to stress when stag­ing starts.  It also sets your mind at ease, or not, that you have made the right choices in cast­ing.  I did make the right choices, because cast­ing is a huge part of what makes the show work.

Tonight we start, and over the course of the next 7 weeks, WHITE CHRISTMAS will be born. A rather short preg­nancy, don’t you think???!!!

We have assem­bled a won­der­ful group of peo­ple for the show.  I am work­ing again with the won­der­ful Eve­lyn Bar­ney, who chore­o­graphed 42ND STREET for us.  Eve­lyn is a very kind and warm taskmas­ter, and all who work with her want to please her.  We have some new tap­pers in the show, and it is indeed thrilling to see them learn and grow.  James Sny­der is my assis­tant direc­tor, Cyd Lobb is mak­ing her SCT debut as Stage Man­ager, and my good friend and col­league, Elaine Sac­ulla is the Pro­duc­tion Super­vi­sor, and she will over­see and men­tor Cyd with this big pro­duc­tion. Elaine has lit­er­ally done it all. She acts, she has worked crew, she has been prop mis­tress, stage man­aged (SWEENEY TODD), and directed last season’s I DO, I DO!.  I love her atten­tion to detail, and I always feel like I don’t have to worry with Elaine around.

So, hope­fully, this has given you some insight into the begin­nings of a show.  I will post more as we progress, and maybe we will get some video footage and photos.

Until next time,

Jim Cole­man