On Sunday I caught the last performance of Marblehead Little Theatre’s “Legally Blonde” starring my talented, pint-sized friend, Amy Catherine Strong as Elle Woods. Don’t let her diminutive presence fool you; the powerful voice and strong personality that exude from this woman are absolutely amazing…and she doesn’t look too shabby in a Playboy bunny costume either. This is my second time seeing Amy, the first being in a Diva Concert Series called “Beltworthy” also starring the magnificent, DASH-nominated Anne Olmsted, and I was even more impressed with her pipes this time around.
Theatre Nurtures New Artists:
Many successful actors, directors, writers, and choreographers have launched their careers in humble, small town playhouses. Just by attending and applauding, audiences give up-and-coming stars the positive feedback they need to continue their artistic pursuits. As I was flipping through the program I saw an congratulatory ad from Alex Newell who placed 2nd in “The Glee Project” television series. I had no idea he was from Lynn, Massachusetts and had gotten his start in a variety of Marblehead Little Theatre Productions!
To Share Valuable Skills:
Community theaters need more than just cast members. Anyone that can sew a costume, paint a backdrop, build a staircase, or edit a sound effect is a desirable addition to the company. Novices of a particular skill, such as construction or lighting, can increase their ability by working alongside veteran craftsmen.
Likewise, experts can enjoy sharing their knowledge and passing their craftsmanship to the next generation.
Small business owners should financially support playhouses, and not just for altruistic reasons. A good thirty minutes before a show, most audience members spend their time thumbing through the program, inspecting the actor bios. It’s the perfect opportunity to advertise.
Theater goers are essentially a captive audience while they scan through the program. Small businesses can use this time to reach hundreds of potential customers. Ad space is relatively inexpensive but makes a GIANT impact helping the performing arts thrive.
Socialize with New People:
Whether you work as an assistant director, a chorus member, the star of the show or a stagehand, one thing is certain: you will meet new friends. There is something exhilarating about putting on a show. It brings people close together; it tests their skills, and it enlightens audiences.
Be Part of the Storytelling Process:
Plays are an ancient form of storytelling. It’s a creative ritual still very much alive despite the age of Tivo and Youtube. Most community theaters produce time-tested classics such as Man of La Mancha, Death of a Salesman, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Romeo and Juliet. Some are light hearted; some are deep and profound. All offer a message to the audience. Classic and contemporary plays speak to us because they explore what it means to be human. Those who participate in the storytelling process can feel proud knowing they are spreading a positive message to their community.
So go audition. Offer up your skills. Advertise in the program. Contribute your time and energy. And go see a show! You’ll become a part of the vibrant, long-cherished tradition of the theatrical storytelling.
& a BIG congratulations on a sold out run to Amy and the cast of Legally Blonde!