Although co-directors Rob Berezay and Patrick Roach have “nearly forgotten what their own homes look like,” their hope for a successful three-hour operetta is worth the sacrifice.
The directing duo, who have been in rehearsal mode since October, decided on their current project, Shrek: the Musical, to “do something different.”
“It was just released from Broadway. And being in a small community theatre group in Raymond we are competing against Lethbridge and area and Cardston’s fantastic Carriage House Theatre, so we thought with all these great opportunities around us we would do something different,” explained Roach.
Due to the recent release of the play, the royalties to purchase the play were much higher than what the Raymond Broadway Theatre were used to purchasing.
“This is the most expensive (acquisition) for the Broadway, to date,” he added. “We also have all the set construction (we have been doing since December), so we are really hoping to break even.”
Opening night for the play, March 19, has already been sold out. There are also several additional nights close to selling out.
The play will run until March 29, with 7 p.m. showings nightly, as well as on “dark Sunday.” Tickets can be purchased through the Raymond Playhouse Society for $20 per person, or $12 for those under 12.
Two nights of dinner theatre will also be available on March 21 and 22. The show will begin at 5:30 p.m. on these days and tickets for this event are $40 per person.
With music from start to finish and a stacked cast featuring Vincent Roberts as Shrek, Jacquelyn Cornish as Fiona, Brian Haas as Donkey, Maxwell Gilchrist as Lord Farquaad, Howard Pierson as the Wolf and Hayden Selk as Pinnochio, Shrek is sure to delight ogres of all ages.
“Shrek is a well-branded story. The play will be based on the movies . . . it starts out with Shrek and Fiona telling a story in the beginning about his childhood, so you are introduced to them as children,” Roach said. “The (play is based on) events that lead up to the movies themselves.”
Although there wasn’t a lot of competition for roles, almost anyone who tried out has a part in the play, most sporting dual roles.
“With competition from things like Show Choir it was a quieter turn out,” he said of auditions.
“One of the challenges with this particular production is having to time and choreograph the scenes themselves to the music being played in the background,” Roach explained. “Where in most musicals you have a scene and then a song and then a scene-song, this one is music almost the whole way.”
One bonus to being part of a community theatre group is the resources who come to help in all areas, be it advertising, set construction, lighting or sound operation. Many volunteers from the outlaying communities, and locally, lent help wherever they could – “stepping in to make this possible.”
Although Roach and Berezay are no strangers to working alongside one another, Roach has never directed a play before and is grateful for a mentor to learn from.
“In the last production of ‘Where’s Oscar?’ I was a supporting cast member and we connected very well and we looked (at Shrek) as an opportunity to do something new. Rob has directed many different productions, this is his second one in Raymond, but he has done a lot in Milk River,” he said of his cohort, who he was first introduced to three years ago at Raymond’s Got Talent.
“It’s been an invaluable experience to utilize Rob’s vast experience as a director.”
Moving forward Roach would like to step out into the directing world on his own, however he does see the benefit to having two directors for a production. With two resources available the directors were able to do things like split the cast into smaller groups to work on things.
“I think this particular group of cast members have been some of the finest individuals I’ve had the pleasure of working with. They come prepared – which is surprising when their ages range from 11 to upwards of Rob and I – and everybody comes and they give it their all,” he said of the cast and crew. “We really feel when March 19 comes around and we are having an audience for the first time, that this cast is going to give it their all. They really believe in theatre and it really shows, and in a lot of the scenes – especially the leads – they have really taken the time to capture those quiet moments that really make theatre come alive and feel special.”
If you wish to purchase tickets from the Raymond Playhouse Society please phone 587-220-7234.