Monday, June 30, 2008

Poll Results: Favorite Male Lead

The poll results are in: Jerry Dunn, who played Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof has been voted the favorite male lead. Out of 85 votes cast, Jerry got 47, or 55% of the vote. Nate Unck's performance as Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat got 30 votes (35%) to come in second.

When I posted that poll, I didn't realize that there were only three musical among the seven shows represented. It doesn't surprise me that the musical actors out scored the non-musical performers, but its like comparing apples to oranges. Maybe we'll run this as two polls, one for musicals and one for non-musicals.

Check back soon. I'll have another poll up soon.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

4th of July in Magna!

We've been getting a lot of donations for the "Super Colossal Yard Sale," and the Tribune and the Provo Herald have both published our notices. Joline is going to need some help tagging and pricning stuff. We can use a couple more hands to help run the sale too. If you can help, call the box office and let Suzanne know!

In addition to the yard sale, we'll be selling concessions both in the parking lot and in the Empress Theatre lobby. And we'll be offering tours of the Empress, so bring your friends that haven't seen a show yet.

In the meantime, there are some other cool things going on in Magna on the 4th:

  • Lions Club Chuck Wagon Breakfast from 8:00 to Noon!

  • The Senior Citizens Center is having a rumage sale (We're the copycats!)

  • The Arts Council of Magna is having an art show featuring local artists in the Magna Chamber of Commerce building

  • The annual Magna-tude parade will start at 12:30. Laura Bedore will be announcing the parade from near the Empress!

  • All of the normal Copper Community Park Festivities will be be happening, including the carnival.

  • Fireworks after dark.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Homeschool and the Theatre

One of the cool things about homeschooling my children and being involved with the Empress Theatre is that we can build our curriculum around the shows we're working on. It can be pretty amazing where this process can take you. For example...

  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is obviously set in 1850 Oregon, so there's that whole slice of Amercian History to cover.

  • Seven Brides is based on a short story by Stephen Vincent Binet called "The Sobbin' Women" which is a wonderful way to get into the writings of Binet. "By the Waters of Babylon" and "The Devil and Daniel Webster" are a couple of my personal favorites.

  • "The Devil and Daniel Webster" is cited as an "unofficial" legal case in The United States ex rel Gerald Mayo v. Satan and His Staff (54 F.R. D. 282 - 1971), which opens up discussions about legal jurisdiction and procedure. Can a man actually sue Satan?

  • Binet's story, in turn, is based on The Rape of the Sabine Women, from Plutarch. This opens up the history and mythology of the founding of Rome.

  • The notion of bride kidnapping has been practiced in many parts of the world, and still is in some parts of the lower steppes of Asia and parts of Africa. This is a stepping off point for discussions of different marriage customs, morals, and scruples. Did you know that the tradition of carrying the bride across the threshold dates from the custom of kidnapping her first?

  • The "rape" in The Rape of the Sabine Women means to abduct or kidnap, and has nothing to do with the modern meaning of sexual violation, which leads to discussions of how our language changes over time. Since it comes from the same Latin root (Raptio) that is the source for "rapture," "rapine," "rapacious," "ravish," and "raptor," we can expand vocabulary.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

So here's this week's trivia question, just for Leisa: Be the first to tell me who painted the picture accompanying this post, and where it hangs and you'll get two tickets to Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Volunteer Discount

Did you know that Empress Theatre volunteers get a 15% discount on program advertising?

Here's what you can do with it... Obviously you can place an ad in the program. Or on the email tickets, or on this blog... That's pretty cool if you happen to own a business.

But what if you don't own a business? Well, you can sell ad space to other people that do own businesses and keep the difference for yourself. Lets see, a full page ad costs $185, so that's about $27.75 you'd get to put in your pocket. And the really cool part is that you get the difference every time they renew their ad too.

There are still a couple of days left to get an ad into the Seven Brides for Seven Brothers program. The ad deadline is Friday, June 27th.

So what are you waiting for?

A Lesson Learned

Yesterday evening, Mara, Peter, Neeva, Meyrick and I jumped in the van and drove over to the Empress for closing night of Big Bad Musical. When we got there, the lobby was packed, there were two lines at the will call desk, and Joline had jumped in to help behind the concession counter.

I slipped over to the will call desk and told Kathy that, in the off chance that she got everyone seated and still had a some seats left over, that the five of us were there. She laughed at me, then showed me the waiting list. And that was after the ushers had deployed all of the temporary seating.

When we left to come back home, Douglas Nelson was giving up his seats to another patron. The kids were a bit disappointed that they didn't get to see the show again, but I was elated that our young performers' theatre had gone "solid with a waiting list."

There will come a time, and I don't think it's too far off, when this is the norm. I guess I'll just have to get used to reserving my seats on line.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Big Bad Acquitted Nicely

The opening night jury voted overwhelmingly to acquit Mr. Big B. Wolf in last night's premier of The Big Bad Musical, undoubtedly a result of the talent displayed by Justin Kofoed, who nailed the character on stage; playing the Big Bad Wolf somewhere between James Dean's Rebel Without a Cause and Henry Winkler's Fonz. The rest of the cast and crew acquitted themselves nicely as well.

Ordinarily I won't review an Empress Theatre production on this blog. I'm usually too close to present an unbiased opinion, and I normally have to look at a production through so many different viewpoints that a review would either be a fractured mess, longer than Gone with the Wind, or would otherwise get me into trouble. But since all I did was make sure the program got to the printer, I'm not quite so close to this one...

It is important to remember that this is a "young performers" production. The whole point of the production is to help young actors, singers and dancers develop their talents. With that in mind, and noting that there were only a handful of adults involved beyond a little advising here and there, the performance I saw last night was remarkable.

Here are some of the highlights:

Madison Ford's portrayal of the Evil Stepmother, from costuming to posture and gesture was so good her parents should either be worried, or they should be preparing to send her to a real law school. My only complaint about her performance was that her blocking kept her back to the stage right audience for most of the performance.

Shannon Jones did a wonderful job on her big song, despite having a touch of a cold. Her characterization of the Fairy God Mother/Prosecuting Attorney was consistent, with enough sweetness that we could believe she was FGM, enough grit that we could believe she was a lawyer, and enough histrionics to keep us laughing.

Skyler Blumel was hilarious as Judge Wise Old Man; this young man has an incredible amount of talent. Keep your eye on him. In fact, keep one eye on Skyler throughout the performance and watch his reactions to the action on stage.

Was it a flawless performance? No. Young performers tend to be quieter than more experienced actors, so the singing, especially on chorus numbers, was a bit unbalanced. (Although the "Wolfettes" rocked!) The choreography wasn't as polished as it could have been. There were a few other things that I noticed that didn't quite work.

But comparing this to high school and junior high school productions I've seen, it was significantly above the average; excellent, even outstanding in places. Definitely a good show for children and the family; my younger children loved it.

Unlike the real legal system, which prohibits being tried twice for the same offense, Mr. Wolf will have to face a jury four more times: tonight at 7:00 PM, tomorrow at 2:00 and again at 7:00, and then Monday at 7:00.

You are hereby called to jury duty!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

There but for the grace of Leo go we...

The Laramie Boomarang in Laramie, WY is reporting that the City of Laramie has issued a demolition order for the Fox theatre, and is now seeking funds to tear the building down.

According to the story, a consultant was hired to determine whether the old theatre, which was built in 1912 and originally called the Empress Theatre (first picture) and then later changed to the Fox Theatre, could be saved.

The consultant determined that the building is beyond salvage.

Judging from the movie title on the marquee, the second picture shows the Fox Theatre ca. 1939. The movie, Disputed Passage, starring Dorothy Lamour and Akim Tamiroff and JohnHoward premiered on October 27, 1939. I just love that period art-moderne styling.

The Empress Theatre closed on June 26, 1939, and reopened a six months later with the changed facade and new name. The grand re-opening was September 14, 1939. The second photo would have been taken just a couple of weeks later.

Internet sources indicate different times for closure. Some say the theatre closed in the 1950s or 60s, while the Boomarang says the theatre operated until the mid 1970s.

The final picture shows the Fox theate as it looked in 2005. I don't know about you, but I think the demise of the American movie theatre is a cultural loss. I'm just glad we have our Empress!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The "Leo Awards"

Last Sunday, the American Theatre Wing handed out the 2008 Tony awards. In the Heights took the award for best musical, best original score written for the theatre, best choreography, and best orchestrations, and was nominated in nine other categories. If you want to know more about the Tonys or the winners, visit the official website

The Tony awards get their name from Antoinette Perry, an actress, director, producer and the dynamic wartime leader of the American Theatre Wing, who passed away just before the awards program started in 1947.

Well, I'm thinking we need to have a "Leo." We should have a black-tie (very optional) gala every year around Tony time and give awards to the best of the Empress Theatre's talent, both on and off of the stage. And at the same time we can honor and thank our patrons and benefactors for their support through the year.

And what a great way to honor Leo Ware's memory.

Tell me what you think!

In the meantime, here are the poll results from our "What was your favorite show" poll. Only 25 folks voted, so there's a very wide margin of error, but...

The first runner up is ... Pirates of Penzance with 21% of the vote
The second runner up is (and this surprised me given the smaller crowds we had)... The Mystery of Edwin Drood with 32% of the vote.

And the winner is ... (Ralph, could I have a drum roll please)...
Fiddler on the Roof. (BTW, Fiddler won Tony awards in 1965 for best musical and 8 other categories. In 1972, it won a special Tony for becoming the longest-running musical in Broadway history.)

Be sure to vote for your favorite male lead in our current poll.

Empress once again a star

On the bus ride in to work this morning, several of the other passengers on the bus were discussing the detour the bus is taking around Magna Main Street.

Some of you may have notice the banner hung across Main Street announcing 4th of July Fireworks. Those of you who've looked closely may have wondered why the banner has the name of some other town on it.

An there's a new marquee hanging in front of the Empress Theatre. And planters on the side walks, a "grand opening" sign on the Magna Hardware building, and a few other odd bits of decoration around the Empress Theatre.

Our 91 year old former burlesque queen is once again a star in her own right. Film crews are shooting a movie called, if I heard correctly, Samantha D. This is the third movie shot in the Empress Theatre block in the last year, and the second to have featured the Empress Theatre. (Dadnapped, scheduled for release in October, and American Pastime are the other two.)

On the subject of movies shot in Magna, here's a trivia question for you. What Gary Sinise Molly Ringwald miniseries was partially shot near the Empress Theatre, and where was it shot?
I'll give a pair of show tickets to the first person to post the correct answer in a comment.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Old Glory in her rightful place atop the Empress

Last Fourth of July, I noticed that the Empress Theatre has a flag pole directly above the sign. I also noticed that there was no flag on it. I was aghast! Expecially since I had donated a flag to the theatre shortly after St. Patrick's Day.

Turns out the flag pole didn't have any of the rigging needed to actually fly a flag.

I made a promise to myself that I would get that fixed before Flag Day this year.

Well, the day before Flag Day was Friday the 13th of June. I wasn't superstitious before that day, but I am now!
Starting on Thursday evening, my kids started getting sick, one by one, until all but two of them were down. About 2:30 Friday afternoon, Amy called and said the baby had rubbed some muscle rub into his eyes.
When I tried to come home early to help out my very stressed wife, I discovered that the brand-new right front tire on my pick-up (a tire with less than 200 miles on it) was flat. It had picked up a staple. Jack was stuck and couldn't get under the frame of the truck. Finally forced it down and got it into position. A piece of the jack handle was missing. I had to call Amy to come rescue me with another jack and a portable air compressor.
Amy got sick later that evening, and I finally caught the stupid bug around 3:00 AM on Saturday.

So, I didn't get the flag pole fixed in time for Flag Day.
But... "Old Glory" flew for Father's Day!
Now to figure out how to paint the pole...

Cast for Seussical

Man, remind me not to invite you guys to an Easter Egg hunt. This has been on the website for a while but you have to look for it. Quick, before Horton hatches it!

Cast for Seussical:
Cat in the Hat . . . . . . . .Thomas Gasu
JO-Jo . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Jasmine Dean
Horton the Elephant . . . Shawn Maxfield
Getsrude McFuzz . . . . .Aubrey Vance
Maysie LaBird . . . . . . . Samanta Pace
Sour Kangaroo . . . . . . .Cynthia Johnson
Young Kangaroo . . . . . Jaden Johnson
General Schmitz . . . . . .Nolan Mitchell
Mr. Mayor . . . . . . . . . .TBA
Mrs. Mayor . . . . . . . . .Amanda Heywood

The Wickersham Brothers
Austin Wrathall
Skyler Bluemel
.Jordan Wanberg
Brandon Case.
Dallon Thorup
Adam McKinlay
Troy Larsen

Bird Girl Chorus
Macall Herpich.
Maegan Herpich
Madison Ford
Shannon Jones
Annalyn Ruth
Hannah Ruth
Cheryl Cripps
Connie Cripps
Kimberly Pettit
Krystin Christopherson

Doug Green
Jim Schroeder
Emily Herpich
Ann Herpich
Lila Cripps
Spencer Lawson
Nicole Mitchell
Alyvia Wrathall
Tianna Wrathall
Stacie Brown
Starly Bluemel
Kenichi Nakashima
Akemi Nakashima

Jungle Creatures
Jennifer Pearce
Sara Barlocker
Samantha Christensen
Kylee Clark
Amanda Shinall
TraQuell Gasu
Tyanna Gasu
Alissa Christensen
Brittney De St. Jeor
Mary Alice Nelson
The Grinch . . . . . . . .Doug Green
Vlad Vladikoff . . . . . Emily Herpich

Ann Herpich
Lila Cripps
Nicole MitchellCadets
Spencer Lawson
Kenichi Nakashima
TraQuell Gasu
Tyanna Gasu
Alissa Christensen
Brittney De St. Jeor
Mary Alice Nelson
Amanda Shinall

Please remember that the Chorus is used throughout the show, there are a lot of group numbers and numbers where people will be playing other characters. If you decide you cannot do the show, please email Glen Carpenter at you for sharing your talents with us. FIRST REHEARSAL SATURDAY JUNE 21ST FROM 10AM TO 1:30PM

Friday, June 13, 2008

A 4th of July request

While I'm on the subject of the 4th of July, there is a flag pole on top of the Empress Theatre. It would look terriffic to have our flag flying proudly up there, but the pole is in need of paint and repair.

It would be even more cool to have someone design an Empress Theatre flag that could fly below Old Glory, and maybe even have a bunch of them over the sidewalk in front of the theatre.

Who is up for these two projects?

More Surprises

What do you get when a theatre cleans out its property and set storage, and needs to raise $12,000 in a big hurry? One Super-Colossal Yard Sale!

We are tentatively scheduling this mega event for July 4th in the theatre's parking lot. We've got a snow mobile, a couple of electronic organs, a fountain, and some other stuff, but (and this is the cool part) we need more stuff to sell. So all of you that agreed to clean out the garage for your Dad's (that's a hint for those of you who have no money for a Fathers' Day gift) this weekend now have something to do with all that stuff.

It's a perfect win-win-win!

Dad gets a clean garage, you get to make a donation to your favorite charity, and we get to sell the stuff to help raise the $12,000 we need to make the down payment on the Empress Theatre. And you'll feel so much better when it's done. Just bask in it.

Now for those of you who don't have garages, don't have fathers, or just want more to bask in: we need volunteers to put the whole show together. Call, email, text or stop me or Joline on the street to volunteer. But volunteer now.

This is going to be so much fun!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Big Break for a Lucky Actor!

We have an opening in the cast of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. We need to replace Caleb, the third brother, or we will have to change the show to Seven Brides for Six Brothers, and the whole alphabetical brother thing (not to mention the color scheme for the costumes) will go right out the window....

So, all you male actor types out there, here is what we need:

We are looking for one male to play the part of Caleb in theEmpress
Theatre's Production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Must have singing, dancing and acting experience. Show runs Mon, Fri, and Sat nights July 11th through August 11th. Must be able to attend all performances. Rehearsals are Tuesday through Thursday evening 7-10 and Saturday mornings 10-2 with full week rehearsals during tech week. Part needs to be filled ASAP! Please contact Porter Williams if interested at(801) 856-9534 or

Fourth of July Parade Surprise

One of the unique and really cool things about Magna is the annual 4th of July Parade. You can read more about it, and the drive to restore the town float here.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, the parade sponsors contacted OHPAA and asked if we could find a "theater geek" or two to announce the parade. Several names were tossed around (including mine by some sleep deprived crazy person). We thought Steve Harmon might do it, or maybe a couple of the W.I.P players. But then we remembered that we have the Salt Lake Valley's uber theatre geek among our list of friends. We didn't know if she'd do it though. I mean, we were asking her to commit her holiday to the parade.

So a couple of us asked her if she'd consider it. She said, "Yes, I'd love too." Then she asked if we could get some other people entered into the parade. I hope we got that all hooked up.

The last email I got from her, she told me, "I'm there. You can't get out of it now!" Which has me a little frightened. What is it that I can't get out of? Why is it that short red headed women can be sooooo intimidating?

Any way, our parade announcer for this year is going to be the host of KOSY-FM's Show Tunes Saturday Night, Laura Bedore.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What was your favorite show?

Go ahead and vote for your favorite show from the 2007 season before the poll closes in three days.

(Did you know that you can't change poll questions after someone votes. Midsummer Nights Room! I must have been dreaming.)

Board Meeting: The good, the bad, and the not very pretty...

As I predicted a few posts back, Joline resigned as Executive Director of the Empress Theatre. Trent Oliphant has been named Acting Executive Director until the board finishes its reorganization and revision of the by-laws. Joline isn't gone completely though; she has agreed to help out with our development efforts. So expect to see Joline working on marketing and fundraising. (I am personally ecstatic about this!)
But for those of you who volunteer at the theatre, call Trent when you need something... Or Nolan, he is still the Artistic Director of the Empress Theatre.
Joline has been a wonderful asset to OHPAA and to the Empress, and I want to extend my personal thank you to her for going way beyond the call of duty. She is going to be a tremendous asset in the Development Department.
And we are going to need that help, as the board voted to proceed with phase one of the capital plan. In this phase we exercize the option to purchase the Empress Theatre from Leo's estate, and purchase the Magna Hardware building and all the parking to the west and north. I'm not going to go into a lot of detail on the arrangements, other than to say that we're getting a really good deal on the four properties involved.
But taking this action gives us a couple of serious challenges.
First, we need to raise the remaining down payment for the Empress Theatre. Our purchase option expires in August, and we need to raise $12,000 for the rest of the down payment.
Second, the deal on the hardware building will require us to pay $650/month for about a year, and then come up with $15,000. After that we'll either have to make payments of about $1,000/month, or find funding to pay off that purchase.
Under all of the scenarios, we'll need to either refinance the hardware building in three years, and the Empress Theatre in five, or develop funding to pay them off. And none of these scenarios includes anything for rennovation of the hardware building.
All of this is complicated by our current cash shortage. We can probably get grant money to at least help with some of these costs, but in order to apply for the grants, we need to have an audit. And to get the audit, we need to pay the auditor...
We are working with Salt Lake County and others to develop some of this funding, and I will be writing grant proposals like mad for the next little while, but we need your donations too!
And if you can't make a donation yourself, then we still need you! We need people to do everything from stuff envelopes to writing grant proposals.
We have, in fact, a need for someone to organize a super-colossal yard sale. I'm betting that you'd have a lot of fun with this; getting donated items to go with the two organs and the snowmobile we already have to sell; figuring out where and when to have the sale; advertising it and getting the word out. Come on, volunteer! You know you want to!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fund Raising Update

WE DID IT!!! Thank you to everyone who donated or who helped recruit others to our cause. We didn't get enough in time to go with a color program, but we will have a slick black and white book.

Here's the honor roll of donors:

Betsy Vandenberghe pledged $50-$100

Jann Lowder, $100

Laura Bedore, $100

Kathy Wilcox, $100

Clyde Hendrickson, $200


Rocky Mountain Power, $1580!

The Rocky Mountain Power donation is kewl. Clyde works for Rocky Mountain, and has done a bunch of volunteer accounting work for us. The power company has a program where employees can volunteer their time to a non-profit like OHPAA and the Empress Theatre, and the company will make a donation based on the number of hours donated.

So, a big thank you to Clyde Hendrickson and to Rocky Mountain Power. And to everyone else that contributed, large and small.

All of you other volunteers out there that have regular day jobs: check with your employers and see if they have a similar program. If everyone who volunteers at the Empress Theatre worked for a company like Rocky Mountain Power, my job would be soooooo much easier!

And all this was in Magna!

Somedays I have a hard time thinking about what I want to post. Not today! My wife had to work last night, and that left me with the kids... Well sorta.

Mirinda was running lights for closing night of The Foreigner (which had a really good crowd with a large contingent from the Harmon Home Senior Center in West Valley! It's always nice to see busses parked outside the theatre, and last night there were 2 of them!) Damia was rehearsing Big Bad Musical in the basement of Zions Bank. Since Lessa has left for Boot Camp in South Carolina, that left me with Mara, Peter, Neeva, Meyrick and Ephraim.

Mara & Peter wanted to go see Foreigner one last time, so I took all five of the kids to the show. Ephraim was too wiggly to sit through it, and Meyrick wasn't far behind, so I left Mara and Peter and took the three younger ones...

To the concert in Pleasant Green Park sponsored by the Arts Council of Magna! 'Seriously Evan' was playing. I chewed Starr Campbell out for not getting me date information sooner so I could post it in advance, so now I'm stuck with only being able to report after the fact. Neeva and Meyrick played in the playground while Ephraim and I listened to the music. For you Seriously Evan fans out there, the trio is going into the studio this morning to begin cutting an album.

I find it remarkable that there are so many different things going on in Magna. And the list keeps growing! There are two or three more concerts in the concert-in-the-park series; OHPAA and the Arts Council are teaming up to sponsor a Cultural Arts Celebration in August. The Arts Council is sponsoring an art contest and exhibit over the 4th of July. The Magna Parade is getting better every year. (There's a big surprise coming with the parade this year, but it gets its own post. So stay tuned!)

Amy was so jealous when she got home from work!

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Voices of Nature

As an audiophile, I tend to look for the esoteric in recordings. Back in the day before iPods and CD's, when we bought our music on vinyl record albums and reel to reel tapes (yes, I still have a working R-R deck and factory tapes in my collection), I used to buy the "audiophile" pressings and direct to disc recordings that were designed to bring out the most in the recording and demand the best from your sound equipment. (Back then I had about $10,000 in personal audio gear, no wife and no children.) One of my favorite recordings was a "half-speed mastered" copy of Bernie Krause's Citadels of Mystery. This is still one of my favorites, and one of the few that I've actually transfered to digital from the original album.

As a sound designer for the Empress, finding really cool, high quality "sound effects" is a major part of the fun. I've been known to spend hours browsing the sound files at sound dogs to find just the right thunder clap or door creak for an effect. Remember the crypt sound effect from The Mystery of Edwin Drood? The door creaking open, then shut and slamming, and those wonderfully mis-timed foot falls as Jasper sneaks up on Durdles. Putting stuff like that together is sheer heaven for me.

This morning, in my email I got news that combines both of these passions and then some! It seems Bernie Krause has gone and turned scientist and is working on a project to record the sounds of nature, what he calls the "biophony" before is it completely drowned out by the "anthrophony" or man-made sound. Not only is Bernie recording thes wonderful nature sounds, but he is using them to create music. If anyone wants to get a Father's Day gift for me, get it here.

Go visit the site even if you don't want to get me a gift, it's worth the trip. Oh, and the project is a non-profit that you can support too. (After you make a donation to OHPAA.)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Four Part Harmony
Voice Workshops at the Empress Theatre

This summer, the Oquirrh Hills Performing Arts Alliance is proud to offer a series of four vocal music workshops!

The workshops are open to people between the ages of 12 and 18, and will be taught by Anna Hunter. The cost for each session is $75. You can take any or all of the sessions. Call the Empress Box Office to register, (801) 347-7373.

  • Session 1: July 14-18, 8 AM to Noon. Performance at 1 PM on July 19th

  • Session 2: July 14-18, 1 PM to 5 PM, Performance at 1 PM on July 19th

  • Sesison 3: July 28-August 1, 8 AM to Noon, Performance at 1 PM on Aug 2nd

  • Session 4: July 28-August 1, 1 PM to 5 PM, Performance at 1 PM on Aug 2nd

The workshops will be held at the Empress Theatre. The performance location is still to be determined.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Programs for Big Bad Musical

Okay, so here's what happened...

We had a smash hit with Joseph, that covered our expenses and allowed us to reimburse some long outstanding purchases and cover some other deferred expenses.

"An Evening of One Act Plays" was an educational program, not a major production. It was artisticly and educationally successfull, but it didn't make us any money. We may have even lost a bit on the deal. But that's why we're a non-profit organization.

We hoped that The Foreigner would ride on Joseph's coattails and be successful at the box office. Based on this expectation, we committed cash to secure the rights to Big Bad Musical and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. And we started putting money into Seven Brides.

Well, Foreigner didn't do as well as we'd planned. It was a risky show for us to do. It's not well known outside of theatre circles, and it has some language and situations that some find objectionable. It just wasn't what our audience wanted. It's a wonderful show, and Porter and the cast have done a marvelous job with it. But we just didn't draw the paying audience we expected for it. Hopefully, when all the beans are counted, it will have covered its expenses.

But Foreigner hasn't put any cash back into the till.


For our big productions, we have a contract with Theatre Publications to actually publish the book. They have the right to sell some of the advertising, so they underwrite a large portion of the printing bill. So those big 32-36 page full color programs don't cost us very much. And we are able to sell advertising to help defray some more of the costs.

But our smaller shows and educational programs are not covered in the contract. One-Acts and Young Performers' Theatre isn't expected to draw large audiences, and we'd never recoup the cost of the big programs without selling a lot more advertising than we've been able to do so far. We've only had a couple of volunteers step up to sell ads, and they've had marginal success. (though they've been more successful than I was when I tried doing it for a living in Las Vegas!)

We were able to have the programs for One-Acts printed for $200. When I asked about doing the Big Bad programs, and I was ordering only half as many, the quote was $250. That was a pretty steep increase. And we're cash tight.

So, here is a specific need for donations or sponsorships. We need to raise enough cash to cover printing the program for Big Bad, and we need some additional cash to cover the cost of printing flyers and postcards and doing our other marketing things. If we can raise $500, we can do 500 black and white, 8 page programs and have color postcards and flyers printed. If we can raise $750, we can have the programs in color. For $1,000 we can do 16 pages in color.

(No. We're not in danger of closing up shop. We have a temporary cash shortage. But we do still have a long way to go before we'll be financially comfortable and able to reach our goals. I always look at these little situations as opportunites. Lets see if we can raise some cash to meet this need! As an educational program, this is one of those things that has value beyond the price of admission.)

So, I'm going to ask you to either make a donation, become a sponsor, or help us find some sponsors for Big Bad Musical. (BTW, I already have one $50 pledge... From one of our friends in Holladay!) The deadline to submit the program to the printer is Monday, so don't procrastinate.
UPDATE: As of 11:40 this morning, I have received a committment from one Friend of the Empress for a $50 - $100 donation, but she won't be able to make it until June 25 when she returns from Brazil. Another of our friends has agreed to put a full page ad in the program. And finally, we've received a $200 donation through Google Checkout. That's $325 we've raised so far. Lets keep going!
UPDATE: Got an email from Joline a few minutes ago. Kathy Wilcox just made another donation for $100. Kathy you Rock!
UPDATE 6/9/2008: Jan Lowder just donated $100 via Google Checkout! This is awesome!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sponsor needed for Young Performers' Theatre.

We need a sponsor for Big Bad Musical. We need about $500 to cover some printing costs. If you can help or if you know of someone who can help, please let me know.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Super Star Volunteer: Joline Walgamott

I had hoped I'd never have to write this particular blog post. And I'm sure I'll catch hell from Joline when she reads this; I don't think she wants this disclosed, but I'm going to disclose it anyway.

It's not that I don't want to sing Joline's praises. Joline is one of the most wonderful people I have ever met, and as the Executive Director of the Empress Theatre, she has been a tireless volunteer. She has taken on an enormous job and made the Empress work. Joline and Rod have put so much of themselves into OHPAA and the Empress Theatre; much more than most of you will ever know.

Many of the folks who come to play at the Empress come to do the fun things; either to be on stage in a show, or to watch a performance. But some of us have taken on the, "its a tough job, but somebody has to do it" functions of the Empress. The Executive Director position is one of those jobs, and Joline is one of about five folks that have carried OHPAA and the Empress Theatre's water so the rest of us could have fun. Joline has put in many, many 60 hour weeks for us, and both she and Rod have sacrificed things in their personal lives to make the operation work. The Executive Director merits a salary of $100,000; Joline has been doing that work for 18 months for ... zilch.

But now the chickens have come home to roost, and I feel that I have failed Joline in my efforts to raise operating funds. You see, on Monday, Joline had to start a paying job at Discover Card in order to help support her family and recover some of the financial resources she and Rod have put into OHPAA. The financial burden of supporting OHPAA became too much for the Walgamotts. As a result, Joline will have less time available for her ED duties, and that work is going to have to be done by others. There is actually discussion of Joline stepping down as Executive Director.

I'm going to put this bluntly: OHPAA needs to raise about $250-300,000 to reach its 2008 operating goals. We need to raise about $50,000 fairly soon to maintain our production quality for the remainder of the season. Part of the goals includes salaries for about six people that carry the load so the rest of us can have fun. If you love the Empress Theatre, or if you love Joline, as I do, then click on the donate button to the left, or if you can't make a cash donation at this time, then help me to raise the money by volunteering your time to help with fund raising and marketing.

Do it right now while you're thinking about it.