The Pyramid Players will celebrate their 34th season with auditions for two productions slated for this summer.
All-time favorite "The Music Man" will be staged at the Rend Lake College Theatre in July, and the musical-revue "Smokey Joe's Cafe" will be presented at the Benton Civic Center in early August.
Founded in 1977 by Allan Kimball and Brian Summers, the not-for-profit theatre troupe has produced more than 80 musicals over the past 33 years, mostly using the RLC Theatre stage. For the Children's Theatre Workshop last summer, the group staged Disney's "Mulan" and the adults performing "Footloose."
The Pyramid Players prides itself in using talent from so many Southern Illinois communities in their yearly summer productions.
"We really are a community theatre," Kimball said. "We attract many talented people to our auditions and use many of them as actors, orchestra musicians, and back-stage crew. Everyone volunteers, too -- that makes us different from some other organizations."
Susan Summers conveys that the Pyramid Players committee decided that they would like to do a show where both kids and adults could be in the cast together: "Knowing that families are looking for things to do together during summer break from school, we thought: what better way than to create some great memories by being on stage in a classic musical. So we are encouraging parents, grandparents, etc to consider being in the show and bringing their younger families along for great fun and a terrific learning experience."
Children's directors Pam Kimball and Alisa Leffler agree that one thing that previous PP kid's show participants always talk about is what great friendships are formed from year to year being in PP shows.
"The Music Man" calls for a large cast of all ages to be the townspeople in River City, Iowa. Chorus/dance numbers are crucial to the familiar storyline of Harold Hill, the conniving music man who comes to town to start a boy's band and winds up falling in love with the straight-laced town librarian.
Cast needs also include a barbershop quartet -- four men who can each carry a vocal part of their own.
Auditions are set for Saturday, April 17, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Rend Lake College Theatre. Auditioners are asked to prepare a short song that shows off their abilities. A CD/tape player will be provided if needed, and an accompanist will be there for those who bring sheet music. Some auditioners may be asked to read from a script.
Allan Kimball and Brian Summers will be directing with Alisa Leffler and Pam Kimball working with the children. Children must be coming out of first grade, unless a parent/grandparent is in the show.
Performance dates are set for July 8, 9 and 10 at RLC Theatre in Ina.
Rounding out the 2010 Summer Season, Tom and Cheryl Herman will direct "Smokey Joe's Cafe" with performances Aug. 6 and 7 at the Benton Civic Center.
The show is a musical revue showcasing 39 pop standards, including rock-an- roll and rhythm-and-blues songs written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. The original Broadway cast recording won a Grammy award in 1995.
In revue format with no unifying theme, songs are presented by various members of the cast in various combinations, with no dialogue. There are novelty songs ("Charlie Brown"), romantic ballads ("Spanish Harlem") and infectious melodies ("There Goes My Baby").
Auditions for this show will be held at the same time as for "The Music Man," Saturday, April 17, at RLC Theatre, but cast is limited to performers currently enrolled in high school and older.
More audition details can be found along with programs and a photo gallery of past productions on the Web site: www.pyramidplayers.org. Information can be requested by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling Susan Summers at 521-1794 or 439-9196.