Have you noticed the convoy of cars, trucks and vans headed South of town every afternoon?
Do you have friends you haven’t seen since the new year started?
Well, are they in Kersley Musical Theatre’s 10th Annual production The Music Man? That explains it! There are more than 110 cast members and numerous behind the scenes crew working diligently to have the show ready for its opening, Feb. 21. Let’s have a look see around the hall as to what’s up. Let’s head back stage first.
It’s incredible to see just how organized the costume room is at the Kersley Hall with just over two weeks to opening. Everything is being steamed, tagged, altered and recorded. There’s one fiery little brunette running around making magic back there by the name of Jodi Ballinger and seamstresses Gloria Ardell, Deb Palik, Elsie Pawlik, Lois Pollick and Lynn Wright – oh, please forgive me if I’ve forgotten anyone; everything is working like a well oiled machine. With the first appearance of just the costumes on Feb. 5, the whole vision comes together for a full make-up, hair and dress rehearsal Feb. 12 and Jodi and the crew have it all under control.
Tables are lined with props; the fine work of Cathy Walsh, the props mistress who has equipped every character with his or her necessary prop not to mention the 30-odd children with band instruments. My word!
Much gratitude and love go out to these dedicated and talented seamstresses and organizers who give countless hours of their time to see the actors suited up in their finest. Praise and thanks to Cathy for her perseverance in tracking down all the important props that embellish and add to both character and scene.
I’ll just take us across the stage itself and have a look at the beautiful sets. There’s a whole other crew of set designers and builders that come every Saturday afternoon and create the home of the story. The irreplaceable skills and talent of Laurie Butler lead the set crew. As well, you’ll always find Paul Zeegers and Claude Mercereau sawing, hammering, transporting, painting and sweating the details. I know there are more who come and lend a hand; a paintbrush, a hammer and hearty thanks go out to each and every one of you.
Just to stage right sits the piano. I am genuinely surprised the keys aren’t smoking from the tinkling fingers Beverly Pontius who has played the score for all ten musical productions of KMT. It’s obvious she is a precious gift when she raises her eyes from the music and sends out one of her infectious smiles before getting right back down to it.
Over by the kitchen, one of the many stage managers is checking in the cast as they enter. Each stage manager is responsible for knowing where the actors and actresses are and where they are supposed to be. They work hard to learn every cast member’s name; that’s 110 this year. They do a superb job of keeping everyone organized and on task and during the run they will all have assigned rooms to cue once the house lights are down and the curtain opens. Thank goodness for their dedication.
Mmm, what is that wonderful smell? Ah, some generous cast members have brought soup and bread, veggies, fruit and goodies to share. Oh, and there is producer Cathy Heizelman on the phone working out one of hundreds of details she deals with such as making sure organizations such as Seasons homeless shelter, Dunrovin Park Lodge and several others have tickets to see the show.
Are you seeing a theme here? Yes, well there are so, so, so many wonderful helping hands sharing the great load that goes with such a huge production. Every year Kersley Musical Theatre has been blessed with needed people and things. This is a snapshot of all those generous supporters who need be thanked.
A musical is a script and a score; nothing more than words and notes on paper until you add the actor who brings the character to life and the musician who plays the score. That character is brought to life by the actor’s talent with help from the director, the clothing, make-up, hair and the story told through the music. The scene is set by, well, the set and confirmed by other actors. Those actors are costumed and provided props to assist in the storytelling. And then the dances are choreographed to add more emotion and definition to the story. Lights illuminate the spectacle. Posters are made, tickets sold, family, friends and community member’s travel to attend. And then, ah…and then, something special is shared that started with a script and a score and each person along the way playing an integral part in the process.
A thank-you goes to the crew and cast and to the audiences who will attend this great endeavor. It is truly magic what happens in a small community hall in Kersley every year and I hope you have your tickets and are ready to take part.
Tickets are at BoPeep Boutique, Iris Optical and the Kersley General Store. The show runs Feb. 21 – March 5, 7 p.m. nightly with Saturday and Sunday matinees on Feb. 26 and 27. No show on Feb. 28. See you there.
Dorine Lamarche is a member of Kersley Musical Theatre.