Grandstreet Theatre

Word on the Street: February

Dear Friends,

It’s a new year with new ideas and fresh creative energy, so I thought I’d start a new tradition: a monthly newsletter that shares some artistic news from the world of Grandstreet Theatre.  There are so many incredible things that happen in this building every day, and so many wonderful artists who give their time and talents to support their community theatre.  Let’s talk about them!  So here we go, the first edition of  … the word on the STREET!

Bathroom ProgressFirst of all, holy bathroom renovation!  I don’t know why, but I guess I imagined that the construction crew would be digging giant holes and running pipes and pouring concrete for weeks.  Every construction project I’ve ever been around, I always find myself thinking “when do they get to the pretty part?”  As I type this newsletter, the bathroom team is applying the finish paint color to the walls and installing our beautiful new tile floors.  Yes, the pretty part is already here!  Make sure you get your tickets to Our Town and be one of the first people to see our beautiful new bathrooms.  It will certainly be a “privilege to pee”.

Tis the season for incredible female guest directors who grew up in Grandstreet Theatre School who currently live in Missoula to come back home and share their talents with us.  I’m so pleased to have Rosie Seitz Ayers, who did such an amazing job with Becky’s New Car, and Retta Leaphart, who is currently in rehearsal for Our Town, directing at GST this season.

Becky's New Car CastHow great was Becky’s New Car?  I know … really great.  Rosie and her cast knocked it out of the park.  Orlinda Worthington was as charming as ever in the leading role.  I remember at auditions when she didn’t think she could memorize that many lines.  I love it when actors prove themselves wrong and realize they’re capable of more than they think they are 🙂  Congrats to Calder Burgam, who did an incredible job with the role of Chris, on his Grandstreet debut!  True or false: this cast was so fun and cute that they had a karaoke party in the studio after one of their shows?

Our Town TreeI’m getting really excited about Our Town.  I’ve been lucky enough to design the set and costumes for Retta Leaphart and it has been wonderful to bounce creative ideas back and forth with her.  I know that her production will be beautiful and fresh.  From the very beginning of our design discussions, we both had the idea of incorporating a tree in to the set design.  Fast forward several weeks later to Kal and his brother Dan cutting a large branch out of a tree in his backyard.  Check out Matt and our amazing volunteers Jerry Klein and Jane Hays installing the tree onstage!  Don’t miss this beautiful production.  There will be so many beautiful performances, including our very own Managing Director Kal Poole, who will return to the Grandstreet stage for the first time in many years to play the iconic role of the Stage Manager.

And finally, our very own theatre factory continues to roll along.  We have a hilarious and talented cast for Sideways Stories From Wayside School, (more on that show in next month’s newsletter) … AND auditions are just around the corner for one of my favorite musicals of all time; She Loves Me.  I designed the set for a production of She Loves Me in college and I’ve been waiting for more than ten years for the opportunity to direct it.  That opportunity is finally here so come on out and audition on February 17 or 18!

See you at Our Town!

Jeff Downing
Artistic Director