Preparations for THE SOUND OF MUSIC, Amidst JOSEPH and Parks and Rec

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on July 8, 2011

“Thank you!” That’s what all the young actors at the Roxy say when given a note, a constructive criticism or a correction. “Thank you!” To the professionals, a note is given once. To the younger hopefuls, twice. And you all know what three times means …

Sydney Barksdale, Gavin Berlyak, Noah Booth, Bella Cargill, Adianna Cervantes, Kourtni Cottrell, Grace Davis, Scott Hall, Truman Jepson, David Judd, Meghan Judd, Annalise Martin, Madeline O’Connor, Zoe Owen, Margaret Snyder, Andreya Steidl and Nathaniel Taylor have begun The Sound of Music “boot camp.” That’s right, director Tom Thayer is putting the children through the paces each day from 9 o’clock until noon, learning music, staging and simply marching. The von Trapp children did a lot of that before Maria came on the scene, turning them into The von Trapp Family Singers.

Thayer is preparing them to join a coterie of professionals who rehearse around our Parks and Rec Summer Playhouse schedule, trying to avoid the handiwork of our “knucklehead genius,” Kyra Bishop, who has been artfully painting trompe l’oeil convents, “climb every mountain” mountains, and the von Trapp family’s manse. The backstage is literally a minefield of props: Victorian sofas, camels, jail cells and Egyptian chariots. Kyra’s model for the set of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic graces our lobby, and it’s reality fills to overflowing every inch of backstage.

We are certainly a repertory company of biblical proportions, with 20-plus young people telling the story of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 6pm and Saturdays at 2pm and 6pm; rehearsals for The Sound of Music; and 40-plus Parks and Rec-ers, making for long but productive days.

When Joylene Taylor first came to audition for our production of Peter Pan in 1986, I remember that incredible voice and how overwhelmed I was by its unique beauty. She touched just the right chord with me when she offered to play any part. She was cast as a pirate to my Captain Hook, along with Debby Dowlen-Noyes, Sandra Winters, Cinders Murdock-Vaughn and Stacy Turner-Olson. It was easy being the most masculine of Hooks, surrounded by the most feminine of pirate cohorts.

Later, she sang the title song in Nine. I’ve only cried in this theatre three times, and Joylene was responsible for my first shedding.

I played Higgins to her Eliza in My Fair Lady, and besides giving a brilliant performance, Higgins, as an afterthought, throws coins to Eliza. Joylene, even under the weight of such an iconic role, waited in the wings after each performance to place the coins back into my hands. There is a kindness among actors of that caliber that cannot be measured in stars, kudos or applause.

Joylene is back with another memorable performance as the Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music, opening next Friday, July 15, at 8pm.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat continues its run tonight at 6pm and Saturday at 2pm and 6pm.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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