It has been 11 years since there was a community musical in Revelstoke, but coming next week, Flying Arrow Productions is bringing the music back.
Shrek the Musical, featuring 50 cast members from Revelstoke, is opening Feb. 7 and is showing at 7 p.m. on the 7, 8, 13, 14 and 15 as well as at 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 8 and 15.
“It’s huge,” said Anita Hallewas, director.
Along with the cast members is a crew of more than 30 people back stage who are doing everything from constructing castles, to sewing more than 90 costumes, to providing vocal coaching and choreography.
The last attempt to put on a community musical was in 2011, when the Revelstoke Theatre Company, which no longer exists, was rehearsing Sound of Music.
Unfortunately, the new theatre was not finished in time for the performance, and there were no other stages in town. The board of directors had to make a tough decision.
“Long story short we cancelled Sound of Music and it probably sounds crazy but you talk to people that were in that show, they are still sad,” said Hallewas, who was on the board of directors at the time. “It was really difficult.”
Since then there have been several youth productions, however, Hallewas found that the parents were coming to her saying they would also love to be in a musical.
Last fall, Flying Arrows gathered it’s membership together and they voted on a show. Hallewas said it was the most people that have ever turned up to a meeting, and they chose Shrek.
“One of my mandates is to be collaborative,” she said.
The cast, ages 9-74, has been rehearsing twice a week since October, and since the new year have been at it three times a week.
“What I love is there are kids in this show that are teaching adults stuff because the adults have never been in a show before,” Hallewas said.
In all of her grant writing for the project, it was her goal to foster inter-generational learning.
Grant money made this production is possible, Hallewas said. If community musicals are to continue in the future, she doesn’t think relying on grants will cut it.
For this production Hallewas and an administrator are paid staff. They also pay the sound technician, however, everyone else is a volunteer.
In a world where people are working multiple jobs, Hallewas said she doesn’t think that relying on volunteers is a good idea.
“We need more local sponsorship and more income from ticket sales to make it a long term sustainable thing,” she said.
Before Sound of Music was cancelled, there was a community musical either every year or every second year in Revelstoke for 20 years, Hallewas said.
The last musical to be performed was Chicago in 2009.
“What I would like to see is for the community to come out and see what we are doing and be impressed by the quality and the calibre of what we are creating,” Hallewas said.