I remember when KVTA announced that they were doing Les Misérables. To say that I was excited would be an understatement. It was one of those moments where you scream for what seems like minutes until you run out of breath, then you inhale and scream again because you’re THAT excited. I dreamt for months about being part of that production, about what it would be like to be onstage singing all of those classics we all know and love. Fortunately for me, I got to see that dream through. Being part of Les Misérables is an experience I truly cherish and will never forget.
From the time I started performing, the announcement of the upcoming show season has always been something I’ve waited for with baited breath. Whether you want to audition, direct, volunteer, or watch the show, it’s always exciting to imagine what kinds of new, incredible performances lie in the future. The anticipation is almost as exciting as the end product (almost…).
As co-chair of the play reading committee, I’ve had the distinct pleasure - and incredible responsibility - of leading the process of selecting the slate of shows that KVTA considers for production next season. From the time you select a show to the day it closes, the process of putting on a production is months, sometimes even years, long. If you’re involved with theatre even just a little bit you know that there is a plethora of material out there. To sift through the wide variety of musicals and plays that exist is no easy task, especially when there are so many different aspects to consider.
Over the past year and a half, I have learned A LOT about what it takes to put on a successful production and just how many different aspects there are to consider when selecting shows. I never realized in those moments of celebration over the impending community theatre season just how much work and consideration goes into hand-selecting each and every show. Here are just a few of the details the play reading committee has considered this year:
- Budget: This is probably the biggest consideration. If you don’t have the finances, you can’t do the show. There are a lot of things that affect budget, which I will talk about later.
- Royalties: There are costs to purchase the rights to produce each and every show. Some are more expensive than others, but each has a cost, unless it’s public domain. Royalty costs are also affected by the size of the venue and ticket sales.
- Cast: Each show has its own needs when it comes to cast. Some require more males, others need dancers. Maybe this show needs people in the 50 and over bracket while this show has a large children’s choir. Choosing a show to produce means trusting (and sometimes crossing your fingers) that you’ll be able to fill all the roles in the best way possible, in the way it was written in the script.
- Technical Aspects: When I was in Les Misérables we had a revolving stage. It was awesome, but it was difficult to assemble and costly. When choosing shows we consider lighting, set design, sound equipment, and many other technical aspects. These can either make or break a show, so they’re really important. Fortunately for Les Misérables, the revolving stage was a success.
- Costumes/Props: You may not think these things are a big consideration, but costumes and props can be very costly, especially if you have a lot of specialized equipment. When KVTA produced Shrek the Musical we rented a giant dragon puppet that was operated by four people. That was just one of the many fairy tale items that we needed to make Shrek as magical as possible.
- Location: If you don’t have a space to perform in, you don’t have a show. Although KVTA has aspirations of having its own theatre (made possible by the new Studios!), that’s a process. When you’re renting space, you’re subject to building schedules and charges for the space. All more considerations for cost.
- Directorial Staff: Again, if you don’t have a capable person willing to direct, you can’t produce a quality show. Having experienced people to lead the cast in preparations for performances is imperative to a show’s success, and it’s a big consideration when selecting shows. Will we have a director for this show? If not, maybe that show isn’t for us.
- Ticket Sales: This is another one of the really big considerations. Our audience’s opinion is perhaps the one that matters most because it determines the financial success of the show which then enables us to continue doing what we love, putting on quality productions for our community.
Although I’m sure I’m missing many details, these are some of the big ones. One of my goals for the play reading committee has been to include you, the KVTA membership and audience, in the process of selecting our shows for the 2018-2019 season. Who better to give us feedback than the very people who grace the stage, volunteer backstage, and sit in our audiences year after year? We want the shows we produce to reflect you and all the ways that KVTA is unique.
With that being said, the play reading committee would like your help! If you are interested in community theatre and are as jazzed about the possibilities for next season, as I am, then you should take our survey. It will only take a few minutes, but will help us in selecting shows for the upcoming season. Although there is no guarantee that the shows on here will end up being selected, this will give us an idea of what types of shows you want to be in and see. This is your chance to be part of the process! Please help us out and take the survey by clicking the link below. The survey will be available through December 15, 2017. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the magic that is live theatre!