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Hello Friends!

There’s a new front door to out blog site now.   If you’re looking for back stage information about our 2012 Season then check out our webpage

http://www.taproottheatre.org

And click the BLOG button on our home page.

Looking forward to chatting with you this Season!

All the best,

Sonja Lowe
Taproot Theatre Company

 

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Last Saturday night we saw fantastic costumes both on and off the stage.  Our actors, of course, looked gorgeous in all their period creations designed by Nanette Acosta.

But we also had members of  the costume club, Somewhere in Time, Unlimited sitting in our house.    I love it when SITU visits our shows because they always bring so much color to our house.   These superbly decked out ladies and gentlemen arrived early for a tea party in our upper lobby.   I got to chat with them about Oscar Wilde over tea and cookies.   Then after  the show we gathered on the set with cast members, Nikki Visel and Anne Brady to admire their costumes up close.

Thanks so much to SITU for a fantastic evening!  I can’t wait for you guys to come back again:)

Sonja Lowe
Taproot Theatre Company

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In less than two hours our theatre will be full of opening night patrons arriving to see the last show of our 2011 Season, An Ideal Husband.

Less than two hours and all of our work will be on display for the world to see.  Sets, costumes, lobby displays, reception set up…only a couple more hours to make any last adjustments  before OPENING NIGHT!  So what happens in a theatre admin office before Opening Night?  Well, we have our own list of “last minutes”:

Tanya spent this morning hanging our new subscription banners.  Scott spent this afternoon putting up the sign that officially announces our expansion.  (Three cheers!)

Pam has the upper lobby beautifully decked out for the opening night reception.  The catering trays full of goodies are assembled in the offices below the theatre (ruthlessly guarded by our stage manager, Anne.  No one is aloud to sneak a bite!)

Heidi, our communications manager,  is behind me getting press packets assembled.  Tanya is editing fun rehearsal footage into an opening night Facebook post.

And me?  Well, I have it easy.   My dramaturg dispaly is assembled and tacked on within an inch of its life (I dare any of those pictures to try and fall down during the run).   I getting ready to send a greeting out on our blog, grab some dinner and prepare be dazzled by costumes and comedy:)

Here’s some quick memories from our rehearsal process.   If you think they are funny in the rehearsal room…just wait until you see them on stage!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AC4-AI5z2ag

Rehearsal Gags for "An Ideal Husband"

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If your summer experience has been similar to mine, you’ve probably said to yourself “I can’t believe it’s already August”. We have 2 ½ weeks left of summer camps, and so far we have served almost 250 children. This morning as I was reflecting on everything we’ve accomplished so far this summer, I realized something interesting.

This summer, we have granted nearly $6,000 in scholarships.  This money has gone to aid 25 students who would otherwise not have been able to spend time with us, acting, playing, learning and growing.  25 kids who are learning to love the arts, possibly future actors and definitely future theatre aficionados. 

Taproot’s mission is to be a theatre of hope and we feel that the $6,000 we were able to offer in scholarships this year is a crucial piece of living our mission.  Being able to share something with a child who otherwise may not have the opportunity is cause for celebration and a vital part of who we are as a company.

The number 6,000 is also significant because this is almost the exact amount of money we have left to earn this summer to make our budgeted goal. We may not make our summer goal, but when we reported this in company meeting, the “6,000” that we all were amazed by was the $6,000 we’ve given away and not the $6,000 we need to earn. As a theatre, we are constantly trying to balance artistic risk with financial prudence, and in this case we know that the work we do with students is worth the risk. Taproot’s studio did something significant with our summer – 25 kids were allowed access to the arts, engaged with and cared for by fantastic teaching artists and Taproot staff.

Our blog is filled with stories of ways students have been impacted, but here is one more that we feel demonstrates our commitment to our mission. One of our scholarship recipients this summer last took a class at Taproot in January 2011. In the letter his mom wrote to us, she said “He really had such a positive experience at his class…every time we drive by the theatre he asks when he gets to return.” Imagine loving something so much that for 7 months all you think about is when you have the opportunity to do it again! Through our commitment to making discounted tuition available, he was able to return this summer. As his mom made clear in her letter, it’s not just about being on stage. She writes “it really gives him self-confidence and strengthens his sense of working with others.” This is the story we are writing in the lives of our students.

To hear more stories like this, please attend our 2011 Studio Fundraiser on August 28, 2011 at 5:00pm. This evening will present some of the best performances from our summer and give our parents and patrons the chance to hear about the myriad of ways the Acting Studio changes lives every day.

Sara K. Willy
Director of Education

For the few weeks I’ve been here at Taproot Theatre, learning and exploring new facets of the business I had never known before, I’ve developed a deep respect for all of the staff and what they do. The mission here at Taproot is, “… To create theatre that explores the beauty and questions of life while providing hope in our search for meaning.” Every aspect of this company reflects their mission statement. They’re admirable in many regards, but their dedication to their mission is touching.

After sitting in on company meetings, seeing all of them interact with each other and myself, and going out to coffee with many of the staff members, I’ve grown really fond of the people behind the “machine”. Taproot Theatre takes the saying “Do to others as you would have them do to you,” and truly makes it their own as you feel at home here; as a student, a staff member, and an intern, there is so much heart.

I myself have always been infatuated with the idea of theatre being a family. When you collaborate with so many people for a common goal, working as hard as you can to put out a product that’s ultimate purpose is to make people feel good, you can’t help but grow closer with your partners. Interning at Taproot has given me faith that such a dream can be true and is true. As I continue on with my personal endeavors in musical theatre and this business in general, I’ll always hold this internship close. I’ve learned a ton and can’t wait to see where the rest of these weeks lead me!

~ Kip Brookbank


P.S. I’ve made some incredible friends along the way! All of my fellow interns are amazingly talented people and the staff just have a vast amount of information that they so graciously share! And one of the most talented people I’ve ever met is a mild mannered, Education and out reach associate named Suzanne Townsend. Many people don’t know this but she’s also the Office Wizard-Pirate, she protects the office daily from nasty/hazardous villains. So if you should see her in the hall give thanks. She takes care of a lot.

Something’s Afoot is officially extended through to  August 27th!!  We’re excited to share the mysterious fun with more audiences throughout August.
Emily Rankin is one of our summer interns working with the mainstage this summer.  We asked her for her impressions of the show: 

Something’s Afoot is certainly an unusual mix. I mean, how often does one get the opportunity to work on a musical mash-up, a spoof of an Agatha Christie murder mystery? But what drew me most to this production was not merely its characteristics, but its aim. Something’s Afoot is, at its heart, true entertainment. It’s a genuine crowd-pleaser, an comical musical romp that keeps audience members puzzling until the final moments of the play. In these difficult days, a production like this can be a true breath of fresh air, an escape from the mundane. It is truly remarkable to me that Misters McDonald, Vos, Gerlach, and Linderman are able to tackle perhaps one of the most nerve-wracking subjects in the human psyche—murder—and create such an enjoyable audience brainteaser. And they’ve created a production which is not only enjoyable to the audience, but to its own cast and crew as well. Taproot’s atmosphere breeds community, and day after day, despite setbacks and long hours, I saw the cast genuinely enjoying their time with each other.

I saw the crew genuinely enjoying the production, despite having seen it day after day after day. Each person who made this production possible was recognized and welcomed into the fold, setbacks and troubles were a shared burden, and everyone recognized the group of artists who came together to bring this production from the page and onto the stage. Each cast member has truly brought his or her character to life, each crew member has worked to create a fully-functioning world onstage, and the nuances, the details, the small habits which these figures have been endowed with will keep us laughing until the final blackout.

By Emily Rankin

Free Stuff: There is no greater sound to an intern than the utterance of those two magical words: “It’s free!”   Interns know how to scrimp, save, and budget their money, and there is certainly no better deal than something that costs nothing.

Stylish Taproot T-Shirts

Upon arriving at camp at the beginning of the summer, interns were overjoyed when they were given their own tee shirts to keep. You might think they were happy because the shirts were very stylish and comfortable. They were, however, you will find that the excitement stemmed from the fact that the shirts cost nothing. Whether it is something super cool or an item that’s a touch more mediocre, to an intern, being given something for free is like a sugar high.

For example, the other day as Meg (teaching intern) was driving, she noticed a sofa on the side of the road with a sign that said “free.” This sofa was a sickening green color with a crater-sized hole in one of the cushions and an arm which looked like it had been used as a scratching post for a very angry cat.

Meg’s first thought upon seeing this couch was “FREE! Holy Cow! I love free! Do I need that? Would it complete my apartment’s living room ensemble? What a deal! It’s free, free, free!” Unfortunately, Meg didn’t take the sofa (only because it didn’t fit in her trunk). 

For many interns, being at Taproot is an exploration of their freedom as burgeoning professional theatre artists. That freedom can be scary, but if free stuff is involved, for an intern it is worth it!