Today a year’s worth of planning reached a certain key goal: the first company day of the Indiana Festival Theatre. The Festival Theatre is like its predecessor, the Brown County Playhouse, only different. Like the Playhouse, which was the oldest professional summer theatre in Indiana, the Indiana Festival Theatre will bring a terrific series of plays to the people of Indiana (and visitors and tourists). Like the Playhouse, the Festival Theatre will give many folks their first taste of a professional theatre.
But unlike the Playhouse, the Festival Theatre will make use of the facilities of the IU Theatre in Bloomington, one of the newest theatre facilities in the United States. The resources on the Bloomington campus are many and deep, and the resulting productions will gain a sense of professionalism and polish that were sometimes difficult to achieve in our older facility.
Also our selection of plays will be upgraded a notch. While each of our plays is entertaining, they are also seriously entertaining. Meredith Willson’s The Music Man, a classic of American entertainment for over 50 years, opens the season in late June. It will be followed by two comedies in repertory–the plays will alternate from day to day, and the same actors will have roles in both casts–The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare and Ah, Wilderness!, a warm-hearted comedy by Eugene O’Neill. You can find the schedule and ticket information for the Indiana Festival Theatre season here and here.
These productions are in their earliest stages. Last week, our studios and workshops were quiet and relatively empty. Today the costume studio was full of craftspeople working on Robbie Stanton’s designs for The Music Man. The scenic studio was a-buzz with routers, saws, and construction, building the scenery designed by Fred M. Duer, scenery that will create the town of River City, Iowa. Musical director Terry LaBolt worked with actors and singers, and in the middle of the afternoon, the Music Man cast assembled to read and sing through the first half of the show.
It was a good first day, full of promise, talent, and energy. It will be an interesting summer ahead for the Indiana Festival Theatre.
Won’t you join us?