SHERIDAN — This year’s co-production between the WYO Theater and the Civic Theatre Guild pays homage to five well-known composers and their works while intertwining music and comedy.
WYO Theater executive director Erin Butler said the show, “The Musical of Musicals (the Musical!),” has five different scenes, each in the style of a different composer. She said the scenes are in the stylings of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Kander and Ebb.
Butler, who is also directing the show, said each scene is the story of a “young ingénue” struggling to pay rent to her evil landlord. She said the story is completed with a handsome hero and a loving advice giving character.
“Basically it’s very funny and very silly and it’s just a hoot,” Butler said.
Butler said the WYO and CTG have been putting on co-productions for years, but this year will be the first year the show is in the Mars Theater, a black box theater that allows for flexibility with the stage and set. She said the more intimate space was perfect for the smaller cast of seven, but one of the challenges has been keeping the actors’ vocals fresh. She said they won’t be using microphones in the small theater.
She also said the extreme amount of music has been a challenge. While the first act is only 45 minutes and the second act 30, Butler said there are 38 musical numbers in the show. She said it’s each composer’s talent that adds to the challenge.
“These composers are famous because they’re good at what they do,” Butler said. “So the music they write is not necessarily simple or easy. So it’s been challenging to make sure firstly that we’re in the style of that composer. Secondly, the music that they’ve written that is a homage to that music is challenging.”
Since the WYO’s own productions are typically limited to its gala show, Butler said CTG’s know-how when it comes to community theater has been an advantage in the collaboration.
“It’s always fun to collaborate on things,” Butler said. “…Their expertise in (community theater) is very helpful to us and then our expertise in running a professional theater is helpful to them, so we each bring something unique and positive to the partnership.”
CTG vice president David Myers said it’s been valuable to have the WYO’s built-in technical skill, which he said is one of the challenges CTG has when choosing plays to put on in the Carriage House Theater.
“It’s kind of funny because the real challenges are putting on shows just as solo,” Myers said explaining that CTG is much smaller compared to the WYO. “So honestly when it comes to this part of the year when it’s time to do co-pro, it’s so much less challenging, truthfully, for us.”
Myers said the duties of the theaters differ from year to year depending on the show. He said this year, since the show is being directed by and will take place at the WYO, a lot of the collaboration was done when putting together advertising campaigns and finding volunteers to help with ushering and backstage work.
Myers said while he thinks the show will be funny to all, it’ll especially amuse those who know musical theater.
And though he’s working backstage at the production, what he’s looking forward to is on stage.
“I always know that for actors it’s a great relief to finally get to the point where you’re performing the show,” Myers said. “So I’m looking forward to seeing them enjoy performing.”
The show opens Friday and runs every weekend through May 28.