Geyer anniversary year ends with massive production
A passionate story of courage and redemption, the tale of the “Man of La Mancha” based on the story of Don Quixote, has held audiences spellbound for decades, and will grace the stage of the Geyer Performing Arts Center this weekend with in four shows starting Thursday.
The show will also be part of the theater's 25th anniversary celebration as it was the first musical to be staged on the theater stage after the venue was remodeled and reopened.
“The show is progressing wonderfully, said Brad Geyer, Geyer Board of Directors President. “I'm so excited. It is a really special show, and easy to see why it was the first show to reopen the theater in 1988. La Mancha's story about the quest, and making the world a better place no matter what the cost. The timeless song “Impossible Dream” makes us believe it's our privilege to be a knight errand and we must fight for the right.”
In a rare move, the show has been double cast, with different actors playing the roles of Don Quixote, Aldonza/Dulcinea and the housekeeper.
The leads of Don Quixote and Aldonza/Dulcinea will be played by Roger Rhodes and Christie Maroney on Thursday and Saturday and Kristen Tunney and Ron Hudson on Friday and Sunday.
“We have a number of truly talented thespians who were able to do the roles, and this way, we are giving these talented actors the opportunity to do the part,” said Michael Rohlf, director. “This is an exceptional cast, a lot of talent and the voices are wonderful.”
Tunney, who has appeared on the Geyer stage in numerous productions said her role of Aldonza/Dulcinea is one she found interesting and challenging as the role is one of great transition.
“My character Aldonza takes a journey in the show which I find really interesting,” Tunney said. “She starts out as this really base creature and she learns to trust throughout the course of the play. She is a different person at the end. I have had a really good experience doing this show. It's very different and very emotional.”
The production also will feature Maroney, who is returning to the stage after a long hiatus to play a much coveted role.
“This role is one I have wanted to play for a long time, so intense and emotional, very personally challenging,” Maroney said, adding the part did come with certain challenges. “The hardest part in this show is the music because it is out of my comfort zone. Fortunately, the directors have adjusted that for me. All shows at the Geyer are exceptionally put together and this one will be no exception with such a great cast.”
The show features a talented cast from all over the Fay-West area, with many veteran actors and newcomers blending to make the show a wonderful amalgamation of artistic and gifted performers.
As a added bonus to the anniversary celebration, a special evening has been planned for the Saturday night showing of the production.
“Saturday we will be having our celebration,” Geyer said. “After the show, all the audience will be invited to stay, enjoy some hors d'oeuvres, drinks, and music as we enjoy our achievement. About 10 p.m., we will be showing the 25th anniversary retrospective documentary. Over the last few weeks, we have been filming people involved with the theater over the years, and asking them about their memories and thoughts about our theater. With about five hours of footage, it has been hard to make a 15-minute film.”
Geyer added the past year has proven to be a great success for the little community theater, that now shines big in the area as a venue that offers stellar productions.
“The 25th season was as big and spectacular as I hoped. We were able to use so many people in productions with the large shows. We are on pace to break an attendance record this year.”
Geyer also wanted to extend a special invitation.
“I want to invite all of the original cast and crew from the 1988 production of La Mancha, and all the board members of (Actors and Artists of Fayette County) and GPAC over the years to attend this weekend's show,” Geyer said. “Let us know when you are here, so we can recognize you and thank you for your dedication. No other profession is as reliant on volunteers as the arts. We all give our time so freely. So come to the show, especially Saturday night's production, and let us thank you in person.
The musical “Man of La Mancha” will be staged Thursday through Sunday and all tickets will be $12. There also is a special dinner and theater packaged that will be offered in conjunction with Miss Martha's Tea Room and Gifts for $25. Show times will be 7:30 p.m. Thursday thorough Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. For information, call 724-887-0887 or visit the website at www.geyerpac.com
Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.