January 6, 2012
By ERIC STEINKOPFF - Bulletin Staff Writer
TheatreWorks Community Players is sharing TV chef Julia Child’s recipe for success in the upcoming season.
“In order to cook, you’ve got to make it spicy — something with a kick, and you’ve got to make it sweet,” said actor Devin Pendleton of Bassett, who portrayed Child during Thursday’s kickoff of TheatreWorks' 2012 season.
Corbin Campbell of Ridgeway, artistic director for the TheatreWorks, applied that philosophy to the lineup of productions for the new year.
“Something spicy with a kick — that’s how we’re starting our season,” Campbell said. “That’s the excitement of tonight. It’s our theater and our community. We’re just ecstatic.”
The group’s 2012 schedule includes a musical production called “The Revue” from Feb. 3-18 to kick off the season, followed by “9 to 5 The Musical” from June 21-30, one children’s performance of “Seussical The Musical” on July 28, “Streetcar Named Desire” from Sept. 6-15, “Steel Magnolias” from Nov. 29 through Dec. 8 and “Reader’s Theatre” classics from April 20-21 and Oct. 12-13.
Nearly 100 people gathered for Thursday night’s kickoff at TheatreWorks’ BlackBox Theatre in Martinsville.
“Tonight (Thursday) is an announcement party” for our “upcoming season,” said Shane Painter, stage manager for the upcoming musical review in February.“This is our second year of an announcement party (and) our third full season of shows and it includes all of the people who make it happen.”
“We’re raising the bar,” Painter said “You can see quality theater in Martinsville-Henry County.”
TheatreWorks Community Players began in 2005 with one musical show a year, typically a summer musical at Martinsville High School or Patrick Henry Community College, Campbell said.
A grant from The Harvest Foundation changed all that.
“The Harvest Foundation got us in here (the BlackBox Theatre) and (gave us) capital for improvements to the space, so we could do productions here,” said Tom Berry, technical adviser.
According to Campbell, 2010 was the group’s first full season, that was repeated in 2011 and is planned again in 2012, with six productions of about 9-10 shows each.
The facility can hold about 120 people for each show, so conservatively speaking, there is room for roughly 1,200 people to see each production and about 6,000 tickets for the season. But those statistics can be misleading, because it can be the hottest ticket in town.
Several board members speculated that some area residents wait to hear a review from their friends before coming to a new show, but that may be a mistake if they sell out of tickets quickly.
“We did five (productions) last year; three of them sold out for the entire run (and) the other two, all but one show sold out,” Painter said. “They were extremely well attended.”
That is a positive influence for patrons and for the all-local, all-volunteer cast and crew, said Betty Jo Fulcher, TWCP board member.
“I do the acting ending of it and they (cast and crew) just want to enrich lives around here,” Fulcher said. “It’s like a breath of life into the community” for the long term. The show “takes young people and gives them self confidence. When you’ve made somebody happy, it gives you tremendous satisfaction (and) they welcome everybody.”
But all of that comes with a cost, most of which is not covered by ticket sales.
“About 30 percent” of our budget comes “from ticket sales,” Berry said. “The national average is about 40 percent.”
Most of those present Thursday were responsible for helping TWCP Board President Lisa Winkler raise the remaining 70 percent.
“I’d like to thank you for providing quality entertainment to the community,” she said.
Tickets for the first show go on sale Jan. 19. For more information visit www.twcp.net or call 632-3221.
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