OHIO VALLEY — Though opportunities for performing arts in the Ohio Valley are somewhat limited, the French Art Colony’s (FAC) Riverby Theater Guild (RTG) is working to provide some options for local thespians.
Rehearsals are well under way and a performance is set for a production of “Aladdin” at 2 p.m., on Sunday, March 24, at the Wedge Auditorium at Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School. Tickets are available at the door and will be $8 for adults and $5 for students. “Aladdin” will also be presented to several local schools this week.
This production, directed by FAC Executive Director Joseph Wright, will feature 21 student performers from Mason and Gallia Counties, as well as Point Pleasant Intermediate School teacher Jeff Wittman in the role of the genie.
“It’s an exciting a funny show that all ages will enjoy,” Wright said.
For any not familiar with the story of “Aladdin,” this production, written by Kathryn Schultz Miller, tells the story of a young beggar boy on the streets of Hasbah and his journey into the Cave of Wonders. Then Aladdin, with the help of the Genie, travels around by magic carpet under the sea, into the marketplace, and to the Sultan’s palace where he must fight the evil magician Omar for his true love, the Princess, and the kingdom.
In addition to this production, the RTG is planning auditions for two other theatrical favorites this summer, “Annie” and “Les Miserables.” Following the success of last year’s production of “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” the RTG decided to produce these two musicals this summer.
Auditions for “Les Miserables” will be Saturday, March 23 at the University of Rio Grande’s (URG) Fine and Performing Arts Center. Those wishing to audition are asked to call the FAC at 740-446-3834 to schedule an audition appointment. Audition packets are also available at the FAC and should be picked up prior to auditions. Roles will be available for teens and adults, as well as a boy and two girls. This production will be directed by Maggie Roach and performances will be at the URG on Aug. 16-18.
Auditions for “Annie” are set for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9 and 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 13 at the River City Fellowship Church, at 4th Avenue and Court Street in Gallipolis and roles will be available for children ages eight and older, as well as adults. Those planning to audition should pick up an audition packet at the FAC and those wishing to learn the music prior to auditions are encouraged to attend a special meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, at the church. “Annie” will be presented at the URG on June 8 and 15, with two performances each day, and will be directed by Lori Sanders and Beth Fowble.
Audition packets for both shows will include audition pieces, audition prep suggestions, and a tentative rehearsal schedule. Actors are asked to be prepared to list all rehearsal conflicts for the whole rehearsal period.
“Both shows should be a great experience and have a long, popular history,” Wright said on the upcoming shows. Wright also noted since these are the only shows the RTG will be presenting this summer and he encouraged anyone who wished to participate to make sure they take advantage of the auditions.
“Les Miserables” is a musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg, and is based on the novel by Victor Hugo. The original Broadway production opened in 1987 and ran for more than 6500 performances, winning numerous awards including eight Tony Awards. Wright noted this musical has only been recently made available to community theater groups and the RTG will be the first to present it in the local area.
“Annie” is a musical by Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse, and Martin Charnin, and is based on the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie.” Opening in 1977, the original production ran for more than 2300 performances, winning several awards as well, including nine Tony Awards.
The French Art Colony’s Riverby Theater Guild 2013 season is sponsored by Holzer Health Systems, Big Country 99.5, Sunny 93.1 and The Ohio Arts Council.
Wright also mentioned the RTG was recently awarded a grant from the Ohio River Board Initiative, allowing them to present free performances of “A Christmas Carol” for Gallia and Mason County school children in December.
For more information on current or upcoming productions, call the FAC at 740-446-3834.