Ensemble cast will provide opportunities to perform, with smaller time commitments
By Kristen Miller
DASSEL-COKATO, MN With summer just around the corner, the Dassel-Cokato Community Theatre is gearing up for its summer musical production of “Oliver!,” a timeless, Tony-award-winning musical based on Charles Dickens’ novel, “Oliver Twist.”
The musical is set in England, when an orphan boy named Oliver is sold to a local undertaker after asking for more food during a meal at a workhouse.
Forced to sleep under coffins, Oliver escapes and befriends a young boy who takes him to his home, an academy where the orphans learn how to pick pockets.
Some of the more recognizable songs in the musical include “Food, Glorious Food,” “You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two,” and “Consider Yourself.”
“The music is so fun, I think people come away really enjoying it,” said director Randy Wilson, who directed the 2011 summer musical production of “Sound of Music,” and was the choral director the year prior for “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
Last year, Wilson directed “Singin’ in the Rain” for the Hutchinson community theatre.
Wilson is looking forward to working again with Brian Veith, instrumental director; Deb Moen, production assistant; and Colleen Compton, DC Community Education programs coordinator.
“It’s a nice collaboration they are really fun to work with,” Wilson commented.
The DC Performing Arts Center is also a great theatre to work in, he said, adding that it encourages him to do what he can to put the best show on the stage.
Wilson’s hopes to have between 20 to 30 youth as part of the cast.
He is also encouraging those who have an interest in community theatre, but would like less of a time commitment, to be involved in an ensemble cast for some of the bigger scenes.
This way, “they still get to enjoy it and have fun,” but rehearsals would be less rigorous, Wilson commented. It’s also more fun for the audience to have a larger ensemble on stage, he said.
Compton is very excited about this summer’s musical and the partnership between Wilson and Veith.
“Their combined talents will bring out the best in the actors and instrumentalists, to make this a musical production to be remembered,” she said.
“Randy has also designed an awesome set which will add to both our actors’ and our audiences’ experience,” Compton noted.
Grant money awarded to get more youth involved in theatre
Compton announced that Community Education has received $5,000 in grant money from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Project Grant through the Central Minnesota Arts Board (CMAB) in an effort to get local youth “off the couch and into the theatre,” either on the stage, helping behind the scenes, and/or in the audience.
“One of my personal goals is to get more youth involved in theatre,” Compton said, explaining that both the summer and the Community Education’s Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre (PFCT) production of “Jack and the Beanstalk” (set for Aug. 5-10) have the potential of involving a large number of youth in their casts.
“We also want more youth in the audiences of the five community theatre performances, as well as the two Prairie Fire performances,” Compton said.
The grant will help offset participation costs for families, both those involved with the production and those in the audience.
Some of the money will also be used to offset the cost of production for “Oliver!”
Auditions set for ‘Oliver!’
Auditions for the Dassel-Cokato Community Theatre production of “Oliver!” will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 28 and Thursday, May 30 at the DC Performing Arts Center.
Cast needs include boys and girls ages 9-16, and men and women of all ages.
Bring a vocal-range song and a conflict schedule (vacations, weddings, etc.).
Rehearsals begin Tuesday, June 4, with the first performance Saturday, July 27.
Questions? Contact Deb Moen, production assistant, at (612) 236-5137; or Community Education, (320) 286-4120.