VACT’s The Giver

From right, Jonas (Owen Seghal) learns what the color “red” is from The Giver (Donavon Armbruster) during the Verona Area Community Theater’s performance of “The Giver” on Saturday, April 6.

A second chance to star

People in their golden years will be able to steal the spotlight in an upcoming Verona Area Community Theater show.

VACT will present its first seniors-only show, “The Music Man Sr.,” May 15-17. The senior show will be a shortened version of the 1957 Tony award-winning Broadway classic musical and will feature a cast of performers ages 55 and older.

Since its founding in 1992, VACT has produced hundreds of shows, some featuring casts of children and high school students, and others being all-ages shows. Its upcoming senior show will be the first time the group will host a show exclusively starring an older set.

Director and VACT founder Dee Baldock said other theaters have produced seniors-only shows and have seen “great interest.”

“I think it’s a really great idea; these are people like me who are past the time we can usually get a part in a show, but we still have a desire to sing, perform and dance,” she said. “The board said, ‘How exciting,’ and was supportive from the very beginning.”

Auditions will be held from 6-9 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 30, at the VACT building, 103 Lincoln St. Auditionees should be prepared to sing approximately 30 seconds of a song.

Baldock said she first heard about the seniors-only style of production last summer. As she was attending the American Association of Community Theatre conference in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, she heard another director talk about how they had adapted the children’s version of “The Music Man” for a senior-only show.

VACT has produced many “Jr.” shows over the years, with actors in grades 5-8. The “Jr.” shows are abbreviated versions of the full shows, with run times of approximately 60 minutes.

The VACT production of “Music Man, Sr.” will be the first performance of the adapted Jr. show in Wisconsin. Baldock says the concept is so new, she believes the scripts will actually still say “Music Man Jr.” on them, despite all of the roles being played by seniors.

Baldock said she will be casting for approximately 30 to 40 cast and chorus roles.

“The Music Man” tells the story of a traveling con man who comes to River City, Iowa, and persuades the community to start a local band by purchasing uniforms and instruments from him. He intends to flee with their money and never provide the promised music lessons.

Baldock said the abbreviated show still contains most of the music from the full-length version, although the music was simplified for kids to perform. Baldock said while seniors could handle more difficult music, they are performing the simpler “Jr.” show for ease of adaptation.

Baldock added that the dancing numbers might be somewhat trimmed down to accommodate the seniors.

After announcing the seniors-only show, Baldock said she has heard from some VACT alumni who plan to audition after years of not being on stage.

“A lot of people that started with me in 1992 are coming back, so it’s going to be a lot of fun. Some of the people had drifted away when there were no longer roles available for them,” Baldock said.

For information, call 332-7991 or email Dee@jbstats.com.

Neal Patten, Verona Community Reporter, can be contacted at neal.patten@wcinet.com.