Local theater productions commence after summer fire

Graphic By Summer Bush

Graphic By Summer Bush

After a fire destroyed costumes, props and a storage unit at Playhouse in the Park in July, director Lisa Cope had to improvise and find a way to keep the community theater afloat.

“We lost all of our props, all of our furniture,” Cope said. “We lost tuxedoes and wedding gowns and prom dresses and all those kinds of things as well as most of our men’s costumes.”

Because the theater lost so many valuable pieces, Cope and her staff decided to create a list of needs, which they have posted on their website and Facebook page.

Cope said the list is updated every time they receive a new item, so everything that is on the list is still needed to produce their upcoming shows.

The fire may have destroyed an entire storage unit’s worth of props, costumes and furniture, but Cope and her staff did not let that small setback keep them from programming new and exciting shows this semester.

Next weekend, they will host a Cabaret night where groups from Phi Mu Alpha and Sigma Alpha Iota will perform. Since the theater’s storage unit was destroyed, they will have to purchase one to use. The money raised at the Cabaret will aid the playhouse in buying a new storage unit and replacing the things they lost in the fire.

“We’ve done the Cabaret every year, but this one is specifically for the ‘fire fund,’” Cope said.

Also coming up this season will be the Penguin Project, a show dedicated to disabled children who are interested in theater.

“It was started by Andy Morgan who is a pediatrician who works with children with disabilities,” Cope said. “He does theater as a hobby, so he came up with this project. The artists (disabled children) are the stars of the show. They have all the solos and all the speaking lines. The show really belongs to them.”

Each child is paired with a student mentor. The mentor is responsible for helping them during the show and supporting them on and off stage.

“It’s intended to be an opportunity for them that they might not otherwise get, and it’s also very important from the socialization aspect,” Cope said.

Cope said that all of the students become friends by the end of the production and spend time together outside of rehearsal. The children will be performing “Annie Jr.” Friday, Sept. 26 through Saturday, Oct.r 4.

Then comes “Legally Blonde,” the most popular musical of the season.

“In our minds, ‘Legally Blonde is the big musical of the year,” Cope said. “It’s the most expensive show and it has the most people in it.”

The Christmas shows this year will be “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!,” a children’s production and “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” in which Cope hopes to cast all teenagers. However, some adults are still needed in both shows, so college students may audition.

Cope said many students are volunteers at the theater but more are always needed, whether it be to help behind-the-scenes help or to audition for a show.


Story by Madison Wepfer,| Staff writer