Mondays With Michael

Mondays with Michael

November 20, 2017

Shaking things up a little…

I like to shake things up every now and then.  If I feel like we’re in a rut, or stuck in a repetitive pattern, I want to change it up…even though I might secretly be afraid of change.

We’ve been thinking about our Audition Tour a lot recently.  As you may know, Jeff and I travel A LOT during the month of February each year.  We usually visit four cities, in a mixture of “unified” auditions and our own.  For nearly 25 years, the Mid-West Theatre Auditions (MWTA)  in St.Louis, have been part of our Audition Tour.  A few years later we added the Unified Professional Theatre Auditions (UPTA) in Memphis, Tennessee, to our travel plans.  At these two auditions, they set up the weekend.  They recruit the talent, they register them and plan the whole weekend, and we (along with many other theatrical producing organizations) attend, watch, and choose who we’d like to hire.  In a typical MWTA weekend, we’ll see approximately 300 auditioners, along with 20 or 30 other producers.  In a typical UPTA weekend, we’ll see about 600 auditioners, along with 60 or 70 other producers. 

About 15 years ago we started doing auditions in Chicago—our own auditions…not sharing with any other producers.  We started with a half-day and about 20 auditions.  This year we’ll be holding 4 full days, and many hundreds of young hopefuls. A few years ago we started doing auditions in Denver, too. 

It takes a lot of time and a lot of effort—and a lot of “sitting and listening.”  But, by sitting through all of these many hours of auditions, we are able to find the hottest talent that is out there to bring to Grand Lake each season.

For a few years now we’ve been feeling like it’s time to expand our audition scope.  Almost since the first days we’ve been asked “Why aren’t you holding auditions in New York”, “When are you coming to New York?”  So…this year…for the first time, we’ll be hearing auditions in New York.  We have some good alumni friends who are helping us get started—thanks Andrew Cao, thanks Emily Waver.  We’re looking forward to seeing how holding auditions in this legendary theatre city can help us with our goal—to constantly improve the quality of productions we present on our home stage in Grand Lake. 

And, for the first time since I’ve been associated with RMRT (remember….I started way back in 1995)… we won’t be seeing that lovely Gateway Arch over the Mississippi, or dining on “the Hill” after our first night of auditions.  I’ll miss you, St. Louis.  But…we’re gonna take a bite out of the Big Apple this year.

I’ll let you know how it turns out…  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

–Michael

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November 13, 2017

The “off-season”…

It’s my first blog entry….I’m not sure who will read this, if anyone.  But I’ve committed to writing a blog…so…here it is.   I’m going to share some thoughts each week for our loyal Rocky Mountain Rep fans.  I invite you to reply, engage, provoke, respond, encourage…reach out to me and communicate.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

As I’ve traveled this past week, I’ve thought about RMRT’s “off-season”—it’s the season during which we don’t produce our big musicals.  We have performances scheduled nightly, as you know, during June through September.  During the other months, the lights in the theatre only come on for Home For The Holidays—two performances in December, and New Year’s Eve—one night at the end of the year. 

What do we do in the “off-season”?  I’ve recently been asked “Are you just getting ready for next summer?”  Yes, that’s part of it.  RMRT is truly a year-round company.  In addition to myself and Jeff (Duke, Artistic Associate), there are three other members of our team working steadily—and maybe more busily—during these “off” months.  Call the office, stop by…you’ll meet them…Katelynn Roberts (Administrative Assistant), Jennifer Mace (Communications Manager), and Dennis Mills (Facilities Manager)

On Monday of this past week, Jeff and I traveled to Healdsburg, California, to meet up with a wonderful group of RMRT supporters who all bought/won a trip to wine country as part of our annual gala Cabaret Live Auction.  The highlights of the trip—in addition to the wines of several wineries in Sonoma County—were certainly cabaret performances by a couple of our favorite RMRT alumni.  Travis Taylor took a couple days off from the national tour of The Phantom of the Opera, and Sarah Bockel took a couple days from the national tour of Beautiful:  The Carole King Musical to come to Healdsburg and perform two intimate Cabarets for these loyal patrons.  I had the pleasure of playing piano for them…and it was an awesome experience!  It was so wonderful to re-connect with these outstanding, thrilling performers, and to be a part of the interaction of all of these members of the extended RMRT family. 

Two years ago the “Cabaret Extra” travel experience took us to New York City, to re-connect with alumni there.  Last year, the “Cabaret Extra” took us to Chicago to re-connect with alumni in the Windy City.  This year to California.  Where will RMRT go next year?  Stay tuned…  Got any suggestions?

See you next week….

–Michael