Tag: community theater

Making Magic Behind the Scenes – Meet Stage Manager Dorothy Granger!

Making Magic Behind the Scenes – Meet Stage Manager Dorothy Granger!

There’s a good chance you’ve seen Dorothy at an MCCT show. She’s usually dressed all in black and she’s making sure the show happens from behind the curtain. As a seasoned Stage Manager, Dorothy is someone everyone in MCCT has come to rely on! Read on to hear why she volunteers with us and what being a part of MCCT means to her!

What brought you to MCCT in the first place?  
Jen Whitaker, we were at WFHB one day with nothing to do…

Why did you want to be a part of Farndale? 
Farndale is a hilarious script and who would not want to be a part of it?!?

What is the most challenging part of your role? 
Say WHAT?!? You think actors are the only ones with challenges?!?

How did you become a stage manager? It seems like hard work!
My daughter was in a professional company (Louisville/New Albany) when she was young and I was forced to sit through rehearsals…I mean, I went to all the rehearsals and am not very good at just sitting and being a good girl so I volunteered to help back stage and the rest is history. I am generally an organized person and this helps back stage.

What is something unexpected that you’ve learned by being a part of community theater? 
I’m not sure it was unexpected, but I love that everyone has a role in community theatre! Acting is not easy and it’s not for everyone…except here. Everyone is welcome, everyone is encouraged, and everyone can play!

What is your favorite thing about this show? 
The show is hilarious and it is fun to watch the actors have fun!

What is your biggest challenge with this show? 
Trying to stay healthy has been a challenge not only for me but for the majority of people involved with the show. So when you hear deep, guttural coughing backstage, it isn’t necessarily me.

What would surprise the audience to know about you? 
I am a quiet, retiring, bookish sort of woman.

Actor Profile: Gwen Livesay says goodbye to Bloomington with a Tour de Force as Cordelia in King Lear

Actor Profile: Gwen Livesay says goodbye to Bloomington with a Tour de Force as Cordelia in King Lear

Gwen Livesay has made the Bloomington Theater scene her home for several years. As she prepares to move after the close of the show, we talked to her about Cordelia, theater, and what it all means.

What made you audition for Lear? 

It’s one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays and one of his best tragedies. Cordelia is one of the strongest female characters in a Shakespeare play, and I was interested in playing that.

Why do you think this story matters for today’s audiences?

I think it matters because it shows how narcissism in a country’s leader can bring about the downfall of that country  Under our current administration, we’re seeing how that plays out.

What new things have you learned as a result of this show?

This show has challenged me as an actor in new ways. Cordelia isn’t onstage very much, but when she is, she has a very weighty presence. I’ve also learned that I’m really good at playing dead.

Community/Civic theater is a unique challenge. What has been the hardest part of this show? The easiest?

Surprisingly, learning the lines has been the hardest part. I’m usually quite good at memorizing lines, but this show has proven harder than usual. The easiest part for me is acting with a group of people I feel at ease with.

How did you get involved with MCCT?

Three years ago, I had a small role in Cymbeline, that year’s summer Shakespeare.  I’ve gradually worked my way up to playing more significant roles and even co-directed one play.

What do you do when you’re not rehearsing and memorizing Shakespeare?

I work at IU Varsity Shop in Assembly Hall.

Why should audiences come to this show?

It’s one of Shakespeare’s best plays.  It also has strong female characters and themes that are still relevant today.

Come see Gwen and the rest of the King Lear cast beginning next Friday!

  • October 12, 13, 18, 19, and 20 at 7:00pm
  • October 14 at 3:00pm

Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center Rose Firebay.

Get your tickets today at mcct.yapsody.com.

Actor Profile: Gregory Maus Steps into Stephen Hawking’s Life

Actor Profile: Gregory Maus Steps into Stephen Hawking’s Life

Gregory Maus is stepping on to the stage for the first time since…well, it’s been awhile. Learn a little more about him and why he is excited to bring Stephen Hawking (yes, that Stephen Hawking) to life in Uncertainty (Or, Imprecision) this September!
What made you audition for Uncertainty?
My friend Lucas suggested that I try out for the play. Presumably, he thought my stick-like physique and arrogant pedantry made me a good fit for Hawking.
How long have you been acting/involved in theater?
I mean, life is theater…man…you know?… As far as actual productions though, I did a few parts in church plays during high school ten years ago, but haven’t done it formally since then.
What do you do when you’re not rehearsing?
Mostly I procrastinate on getting anything done for my Ph.D. program, including playing tabletop and computer strategy games and memorizing lines.
What has been an unexpected challenge of this production?
Personally? Transportation. Based on the try-out location I foolishly assumed that rehearsals would be within biking distance for me. I have since had to parasitically prey off the kindness and generosity of my cast mates with cars.
What has been the most rewarding part of being in an MCCT show?
Getting to know my all-too-generous castmates has been delightful, whether chatting during breaks or on car rides.
Why should audiences come to see Uncertainty?
It’s the most hilarious rendition of dead drunk physicists commenting on ridiculously terrible dates that they’ll ever see. (Probably.)
What are your top three dream roles?
Myself: That would imply that I’ve done (or at least been involved with) something sufficiently significant and/or interesting that a play or movie exists about it, and I’m apparently still alive, healthy, and free to play it. Hannibal Lecter because creepy sociopathic geniuses are fun. And, of course, Alexander Hamilton, well-meaning and perhaps over-ambitious geniuses are also delightful and how can one pass up Miranda’s writing?
What is the best/worst thing about bringing Stephen Hawking to life?
What I really enjoy about playing Hawking (or at least Uncertainty‘s version of him) is this fun dichotomy between his starry-eyed wonder at the transcendent beauty of the cosmos, contrasted with his all-too-human pettiness born of deep insecurities. I suspect that the worst thing will be if people expect me to actually explain his theories, but despite my efforts and initial enthusiasm, I have yet to actually finish A Brief History of Time.
Make plans to see Uncertainty (Or, Imprecision) September 9-11 at Oddball Fermentables in Bloomington. Tickets go on sale August 15.
King Lear Cast Announcement

King Lear Cast Announcement

Monroe County Civic Theater’s Fall production of KING LEAR has a cast! And a wonderful one at that. Meet the players –

Lear – Roy Sillings
Fool – Martin Cusato
Kent – Steve Scott

Goneril – Nancy Eagan
Albany – Cairril Adaire
Oswald – Eric P. Van Gucht

Regan – Jennifer Whitaker
Cornwall – Nic Newby

Cordelia – Gwen Livesay
France – Dan Heise
Burgundy – Phillip Addison

Gloucester – Bill Goveia
Edgar – Oliver Moss
Edmund – Jason Lopez

Doctor – Dianne Shewmaker
Old Man – Dan Heise
Curan – Ashton Webb

Various Attendants, Servants, etc – Ashton Webb

King Lear will be performed October 12-21 at the Firebay in the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center. We are still looking for tech crew for this show, including a Stage Manager. Interested? Email mcctlear@gmail.com.

Here are photos from King Lear:

Bloomington Herald Times Review

Uncertainty (Or, Imprecision) Cast Announcement

Uncertainty (Or, Imprecision) Cast Announcement

Uncertainty (or Imprecision) by Nicholas Krohn, is a new comedic play about three friends who meet at a bar on the same night to provide moral support for each other as they embark on their respective online dating prospects for the evening. Along for the ride is the bartender supplying the trio with plenty of liquid courage as well as two well-known (and completely out of their respective dimensions) scientists supplying plenty of terrible advice for the trio of friends as they embark on their first physical meeting with the people they have been chatting with online. The dates themselves prove to be one disaster after another in this bizarre and madcap comedy that proves once and for all that dating is the worst, but we all may as well laugh about it.
 
Stan: Emily Bedwell
Stephen Hawking: Gregory Maus
Werner Heisenberg: Emily Mcgee
Eric: Matt Fletcher
Allison: Jessica Joslin
Stacy: Heather Wesner
Mitchell: Lucas Kempe-Cook
Swan: Bill Goveia
Debra: Evangeline Mee
 
Uncertainty (or Imprecision) will be performed September 9-11 at Oddball Fermentables in Bloomington. Tickets will go on sale in early August! Don’t miss it!
Audition Announcement: King Lear

Audition Announcement: King Lear

Director: Steve Heise
Assitant Director: Jennifer Whitaker
Stage Manager: WE ARE LOOKING
Auditions will be held on:
July 14th, Saturday, 3-6pm, Room 214 Monroe County Public Library
July 15th, Sunday, 12:30-4:30pm, Auditorium Monroe County Public Library
*If you can’t make these days, please email  MCCTLear@gmail.com

We will have sides available and may ask you to read several. We may also ask that you read against different actors for different roles. No prepared materials necessary.

Be sure to have an idea of your conflicts, both recurring and single instance, for the period of August 5th, 2018 to October 21st, 2018.
Performances will be from October 12th to October 21st, 2018 at the Rose Firebay, locate in The Ivy Tech Waldron Arts Center.
Actor Profile: As Ferdinand, Caleb Curtis Explores Bravery, Love and Loss

Actor Profile: As Ferdinand, Caleb Curtis Explores Bravery, Love and Loss

MCCT newcomer Caleb Curtis brings to life Ferdinand, the Prince of Naples, in The Tempest. We sat down with him before his MCCT debut to talk about dream roles, Ferdinand’s love and uncertainty, and what makes being a part of Shakespeare in the Park is really like.
How did you get involved with theater?
A friend of mine who was a part of Monroe County Civic Theater in the past heard that I was looking to be in a show before I went to Interlochen Camp of the Arts for the rest of the summer and suggested that I audition. So I did, and here I am!
How have you approached the role of Ferdinand?
Ferdinand is the Prince of Naples, and with that comes a massive amount of responsibility! I believe that Ferdinand is very reluctant to accept this position in life, and because of that has a supreme lack of confidence in himself and his abilities. Ariel mentions to Prospero that Ferdinand was the first to LEAP from the boat when it wrecked, and to me, that sounds like a man who is afraid. Throughout the course of the play, when Ferdinand speaks of himself, he is either building himself up to an amusing rate or tearing himself down, which I think supports the fact that he is very insecure. Miranda is not only the love of his life but through his love for her, he finds a strength that he never knew he had and she gives him the confidence that might help him one day accept his position in life.
What’s it like rehearsing each night in the park?
It allows me to absorb some vitamin D! In all seriousness, I really enjoy the ability to rehearse outside, considering most of my rehearsals take place in a cold dark theater. Sure, it gets hot sometimes, but the heat and the surroundings of the park really lend itself to this play! And for being in the middle of downtown Bloomington, this park is extremely beautiful!
What are your top three dream roles?
Edmond From A Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Christopher from the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and a tie between Ned Weeks from The Normal Heart and Prior from Angels in America.
Why should Bloomington audiences come out to “The Tempest”?
This production of The Tempest is extremely immersive! The space that we find ourselves in, the nature of the play, and the way our director Rory has blocked this show takes the play off the stage and puts it right in front of the audience! I think this is a timely play that tackles many important themes including love, abuse of power, displacement, dealing with feeling alone, and even facing death. And, you even get a good laugh once in awhile! This cast is really doing the best they can to make this a memorable version of this frequently done play, and I think the work we’ve put in shows!
What do you hope the audience takes away from this production?
I hope audiences are able to identify with some aspects of these characters and the quirks and fears that they have! I hope the audience is able to receive the needed message that this play provides that Shakespeare has wrapped in a bow of magic, charm, and humor.

Come see Caleb and the rest of the 2018 Shakespeare in the Park cast and crew May 31-June 3 at Waldron Hill Buskirk Park (formerly Third Street Park).

  • Thursday-Saturday shows are at 7:00pm, with a pre-show performance of Tempest in a Teacup at 6:45pm.
  • The Sunday matinee is at 3:00pm with a 2:45pm preshow.

As always, Shakespeare in the Park is free!

MCCT Presents “The Tempest” for 29th Annual Shakespeare in the Park

MCCT Presents “The Tempest” for 29th Annual Shakespeare in the Park

Monroe County Civic Theater

PO Box 2032, Bloomington, IN 47402

info@mcct.org | mcct.org

For Immediate Release

 MCCT TO PERFORM “THE TEMPEST” FOR 29TH ANNUAL SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK

Bloomington, IN – Monroe County Civic Theater, Bloomington’s first and only all-volunteer theater company, is pleased to announce their production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest May 31-June 3 at Waldron Hill & Buskirk Park in Bloomington, Indiana.

The Tempest is a story of magic, mystery, and intrigue as Prospero and his daughter, Miranda, seek their rightful place in the world. Prospero is a powerful magician and creates a storm at sea to bring enemies to shore and demand his rightful place in the kingdom. Along the way, the audience meets a large cast of characters, from the sprite Ariel to the dark and sinister Caliban.

In addition to The Tempest, this Shakespeare in the Park season introduces the MCCT Children’s Theater program with a pre-show performance of Tempest in a Teacup, a shorter version of the story designed to aid the audience in understanding the plot and celebrating young actors.

The Tempest is directed by Rory Willats, and Tempest in a Teacup is directed by Jason Lopez. All-told, Shakespeare in the Park combines the talents of over 45 local residents, from acting to behind the scenes work on costumes, sets, and sound. Shakespeare in the Park is always free. Attendees are invited to bring blankets and chairs and make an evening of it. Park restrooms will be available.

MCCT was recently given the designation of Bloomington’s first Dementia-Friendly theater group from Indiana University Health. The Sunday performance will be a dementia-friendly, relaxed performance.

When:

May 31, June 1, June 2:       Tempest in a Teacup: 6:45pm        The Tempest: 7:00pm

June 3                                    Tempest in a Teacup: 2:45pm        The Tempest: 3:00pm

More information:
Contact MCCT at info@mcct.org

Actor Profile: Eric Van Gucht portrays Teddy in “When You Comin’ Back, Red Ryder?”

Actor Profile: Eric Van Gucht portrays Teddy in “When You Comin’ Back, Red Ryder?”

Monroe County Civic Theater is entering into its 32nd season as Bloomington’s only all-volunteer, amateur community theater company. First up, director Isadore James Torry brings us a gripping drama where small town diner patrons and staff are held hostage and forced to face their own mortality… and each other.

Eric Van Gucht plays Teddy, the perpetrator of these crimes in the MCCT production of Mark Medoff’s “When You Comin’ Back, Red Ryder?” the 1974 Obie Award winner for Distinguished Play. The production will be performed at Cafe Pizzaria, April 6-8, 7pm.

This is the first in a new series of MCCT actor/crew profiles. I’ve asked Eric to talk about playing Teddy, his experiences as an IU Theater graduate, and what community theater means to him.

 

KHV:

When did you first want to be an actor? Was there a first acting experience that really made you love it and can you tell us about that?

EVG:

I was in seventh grade, around age thirteen, when I started doing theater seriously. I had a neighbor who had done it for several years, and I saw him acting and thought it would be fun to try. At the time I didn’t expect my theatrical career to last as long as it has, but I’m glad it did. At my first serious audition for a middle school play I ended up getting the lead role and never looked back. It’s been a very good friendship between the craft and I.

One production that I really loved which made me really want to pursue theater beyond just a high school level was The Fantasticks as a junior at Bloomington North. I got to be on stage with my best friend, and it was the first serious show (i.e. show not written for middle school audiences) that I’d ever experienced. It remains one of my favorites to this day.

KHV:

What would you say your biggest hurdles were as an actor/theater student? Did you consider other degree programs?

EVG:
Good question! One of the hardest parts about theater was learning how to deal with failure. Since I had a couple of lead roles in middle school, I came in a little overconfident as a high school actor. In those four years I ended up doing two productions where I acted on stage, and two more where I worked backstage.

For beginning actors an important lesson to learn is that the nature of competing in professional theater means you’re going to get a lot more noes than yeses. I’ve done a lot of work with Monroe County Civic Theater and other local groups, and I’ve gotten involved in a few independent shows connected to IU.

I also have a B.A. in French, and between the two degrees I feel like I have a good command of words. I never really considered any other degree programs at the time, but in hindsight it might have helped me to consider other options. I love to do theater, but creativity has a lot of competition in it.

KHV:

What can you tell us about your current role in “When Ya Comin Back, Red Ryder?” as Teddy, a Vietnam veteran who holds the customers and staff in a 1970s New Mexico diner hostage? How did you prepare for it and how do you think your personal and professional experience helped you learn about the character?

EVG:
I’m reading Teddy as a misanthrope, someone who’s seen the worst of the world and doesn’t know how to react accordingly. He either doesn’t care anymore, or has a desire to cause pain to the very system that enabled him. At the same time, he is able to get several characters to figure out their own values, so I’d argue there is something significant in that.

The role is very psychologically and physically challenging, but I love roles that are psychologically troubled. These characters often have more life experience due to the inconsistent and chaotic nature of their world.

KHV:

What are your goals as an actor in our community and beyond? What kind of roles do you think would stretch you?

EVG:
In terms of stretching myself? I’d love a chance to play a romantic lead in the near future, to try to see if I can succeed. I also would love to play characters that seem to have something missing in their lives. Essentially “man vs. society” and/or “man vs. self” roles, perhaps a combination of the two whenever possible. My goal is to find the balance between art and life, and find the time to enjoy both.

There’s a hidden beauty to art, and I’d love to try to find out what that means. It might help bring back some hope in this world that we seem to be missing nowadays. Basically, I want to explore the therapeutic, healing side of art. I’ve heard a saying: “As long as you have four things – an idea, an artist, a location, and an audience – then art will always survive.” I’ve always loved that saying.

KHV:

What advice would you like to give for anyone looking to get involved in community theater, or for someone who wants to study acting professionally? Any other words of wisdom?

EVG:

I’m going to paraphrase something I was told by a fellow actor, which is something I try to use both on stage and in life: “Don’t do the work looking for a reward.” Let it happen naturally, and let the work itself be rewarding. Knowing yourself is very important in life, and I’d argue especially in the arts.

Last Question: who would you like to give a shout out of thanks to for their support?

I’d like to thank my dad Dirk, stepmom Linda, and late mom Ruth for coming to so many shows and fostering my love for the arts; my brother Nick, sister Dinska, and stepbrother Chris because even if they can’t make my shows they always give me words of encouragement; the cast of Red Ryder for keeping me grounded during this production; Andi Dema, a great actor and great man who I am honored to call my best friend; and to Allison Moody, a professor I had for two semesters in college who I consider my mentor.

Interview conducted by Katelin Hope Vesely, MCCT

***

The historic Cafe Pizzaria is partnering with MCCT for this show.  We will set the stage in their back room with the authentic decor of times gone by. Cafe Pizzaria was the first to bring pizza to Bloomington in 1953, and is still housed in a building which lends itself well to the 1970s restaurant aesthetic in Red Ryder. This will be an immersive experience, with the audience sitting close as if also witness to the events taking place.

Cafe Pizzaria is located at 405 E. Kirkwood Ave.

When You Comin’ Back, Red Ryder?” is April 6-8 at 7pm. Mark your calendars and purchase tickets in advance through https://mcct.yapsody.com/

 

AUDITIONS for A Queen Cabaret

AUDITIONS for A Queen Cabaret

A musical theater cabaret-style production of songs by Freddie Mercury and Queen

Directed by Katelin Hope Vesely

WhereMonroe County Public Library

When: Saturday March 24th, 11 am-2 pm and Sunday March 25th, 3 pm-6 pm

Private auditions can be set by appointment

This will be a benefit for 3 different nonprofits, in 3 different locations, on June 29th, 30th, and July 1st at 7 pm

Rehearsals will be at Sherwood Oaks Christian Church, and private locations

SEEKING ALL AGES (A CHILDRENS’ COMPONENT WILL BE INVOLVED)

Drummers, Lead/Rhythm/Bass Guitarists, Keyboardists

Lead/Harmony/Choral Vocalists

Tech crew, Props and Costume/Makeup Support

PREPARATION SONGS

Killer Queen, Radio Ga Ga, Somebody To Love, Don’t Stop Me Now, We Will Rock You

We will have karaoke tracks for you to practice with, and a few instruments. Feel free to bring your own tracks to audition with, and your own instruments!

Email katelinhopevesely@gmail.com for questions or to set an appointment!