Once in a blue moon you will be fortunate enough to see a show where everything is done to perfection. Meet Me in St Louis is just such a show. The cast and Directorial team have been working 5 days a week since the first of May to be sure that this Family Musical is polished and ready for the opening night crowd, Nov. 4-27 2011. Julia Locke is the Assistant Director, and costumer, and has been working hard to coordinate the period costumes from circa 1904. Over 150 costumes have been remade, sized, created from scratch and cleaned and fitted and are now ready for the Costume parade. A hefty job for anyone, but that along with her regular job in charge of Production for all the shows, being on the Board of Directors and heading the Play reading committee, keep her busy indeed! Julia as Assistant Director has scheduled all the rehearsals and is helping the Director Paul Pierce learn how The Whidbey Playhouse works. She is a retired Music Director, trained in dance, art, music, and literature thru college. High school theatre (plays and set painting) wrote, directed church musicals for youth and adults throughout her early adult years. She has composed music for and conducted church choirs for 15 years and worked in a music store for 10 years. Julia and her husband Jack found the theater when they retired here, and it's been their life ever since.
Paul came to us from the Northwest Savoyards in Edmonds. Paul has been part of the American Ballet Theatre New York City, Olympic Ballet Theatre, Syracuse Ballet Company, Mississippi Ballet Company and the New Orleans Jazz Dance Ensemble. Paul been a show director for musical theater and, choreographer for companies located in Upstate New York, the Gulf Coast even Washington State. He has a BA in theater Arts from Michigan State and is a License dance Teacher through dance Masters of America He is choreographing this show, along with Directing it which can be a challenge indeed, when you have a cast that can sing but maybe not dance. They have been rehearsing all summer, and it shows.
Sarah Russell is an old friend who came back into town and found the theater again. Before she left she was the musical director and acted in such musicals as the Mikado, and South Pacific. She is a bundle of energy looking for a place to be. She endlessly directs the cast through their musical numbers, and has put together a great orchestra for our group. Sarah and her husband are now retired here, and it did not take her long to jump back into the frying pan, and start directing again.
Gaye Litka rounds out the Directorial team, as Co-Music Director and also plays the role of the Irish Housekeeper Katie, and she and the girls do a right snazzy Irish jig. She is a veteran of our Stage and has been in numerous musicals in her career. Having to work on this show through the summer was hard on her as she and her husband Tom are out on their bike every chance they get. Gaye was last seen giving musical direction to her grand daughters Sophie, and Sydney in ANNIE, which means Gaye has been working non-stop on shows since last March. These four people have given up their summer to make sure that this musical will be perfect. It has been a hard job trying to fill in the voices, when no one auditioned, and replacing those that quit when they realized how hard this was going to be.
I cannot say enough to help you appreciate just how GOOD this show is going to be, All of our actors and production people are volunteers, giving their time freely to go from a blank cold rehearsal studio, through the directors vision and then onto a partially built stage, to paint, build, and create St. Louis in the early 1900’s for you. No one can say it has been easy. It has not, there is a lot of work that has gone on behind the scenes, and a lot more that is taking place now as the actors move onto the main stage and into their costumes and off their book, and learn their blocking. The songs are lively, the dances are energetic, and the story is wonderful. The Smith Family of St. Louis is excited and eager for the 1904 World’s Fair to open, and allow the whole world to see it as Esther says: “right here where we live! Right here in St. Louis!”
This Play is based on the Movie of the same name, directed by Vincent Minnelli and Starring Judy Garland. Tickets go on sale for this High energy Family Musical on Tuesday October 4th during box office Hours. All tickets are 16.00 and can be purchased by calling 360-679-2237 or by stopping by the Box Office at 730 SE Midway Blvd, Oak Harbor, WA 98277. Please check our website for dates and times. www.whidbeyplayhouse.com