• 54°

How does Piedmont Players pick shows and develop seasons?

by Reid Leonard, PPT Resident Director

“Shakespeare in Love” was to have been the second show of the Piedmont Players 2019-2020 season in February.
For some reason we still don’t fully understand, the rights were not available when we began to prepare for the production. We thought they were, but they weren’t. We have had to wait for rights before (“Peter Pan” for instance, and “Grease”) but never had the rights seemed to be available and then they weren’t.

However.

Now we are announcing the production of Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple (Female version)” in June.
How did we get there? How does Piedmont Players pick shows and develop seasons?

First of all, we didn’t find out “Shakespeare in Love” was not available until the fall of 2019. Auditions were to be in December. To find a new show and get the word out to actors about performance and audition dates was going to be pushing things.

PPT director Reid Leonard

So.
We decided to move “Lunch at the Piccadilly,” scheduled for June into the “Shakespeare in Love” slot. Many actors were familiar with the main story of the show because of the brochures and web site postings, and some were already planning to audition.
The cast was not huge, making the odds of finding a good cast better on short notice. Remember, some actors have to check family obligations and work obligations to be able to do a show. Some prepare and plan as much as a year in advance, even though we have open auditions and they are not sure they are going to be cast.
This seems to have been a good move.
“Lunch at the Piccadilly” turned out to be a good show — very popular and with a great cast.

At the same time, Piedmont Players has a playreading committee that began collecting ideas and reading scripts. Since “Shakespeare in Love” was a costume piece, ideas for period plays were passed around. Two emerged: “Amadeus, the story of Mozart” and “Les Liaison Dangereuses, (Dangerous Liasons).”
Also, since the show was going to be late spring/early summer, comedy seemed to be a good idea. “The Odd Couple (Female Version)” was one script the committee read, as well as “On The Razzle” by Tom Stoppard (one of the writers of “Shakespeare in Love”). “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” was done by Piedmont Players in 1991 while still located at Catawba’s Hedrick Little Theater. Since its mood is very dark, we decided it was not the show to do right now, given the dark tensions in the world.
“On the Razzle” is a very funny farce based on the story that later became the musical “Hello Dolly.” But it has a huge cast and not many people know the show, so getting a large cast together by the spring might be problematic. You may see “On The Razzle” in a year or two on the Meroney stage.

So.
We’re down to two shows on our list. And then we started hearing from the Piedmont Players audiences at performances of “Lunch at the Piccadilly.”
“When are you going to announce the new comedy?” “What comedy are you doing this spring?”
The community wants a comedy? We can do a comedy.
The male version of “The Odd Couple” was done by Piedmont Players in 2005 starring Gary Thornburg and Bob Paolino as Oscar and Felix. It was a huge hit and played to packed audiences.
Neil Simon rewrote the story in 1985 and renamed the characters Florence and Olive. Instead of the poker game in the male version, four female friends come over for a game of Trivial Pursuit. Sally Struthers and Rita Moreno played the female odd couple.
The cast is small (6 women and 2 men), making casting possible on short notice. We had originally placed “Lunch at the Piccadilly” in June because of graduations, proms, and vacations at that time of the year for the younger actors who work with Piedmont Players.
All of the characters in “The Odd Couple (Female Version)” are older. (Not old! Just adult, not kids).

Auditions for “The Odd Couple (Female Version)” are April 16-17 at 7 p.m. on the third Floor of the Meroney Theater, 213 S Main St. Show dates are June 6-9 and 12-15.

We think this will be a fun evening at the theater and an interesting look at (for some people) a familiar story.
Tickets are on sale now at PiedmontPlayers.com

And don’t forget, “Mamma Mia” opens April 4 and “The Wiz” is coming this summer!

And oh —
We just got word that the rights for “Shakespeare in Love” may be available to us in the coming year or two. Stay tuned …

About Post Lifestyles

Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalPostLifestyle/ and Twitter @postlifestlyes for more content

email author More by Post

Comments

News

Catawba College hosts three in-person commencement ceremonies

Local

With high case loads causing numerous staff departures, Child Protective Services seeks more positions

Education

Livingstone College graduates celebrate ‘crossing the finish line’ during commencement celebration

Coronavirus

Rowan sees 4 new COVID-19 deaths as mask mandate lifted, vaccines administered continue decline

Local

Spencer is latest town updating its development ordinance

Local

Salisbury native Kristy Woodson Harvey makes NY Times bestseller list

Local

Board of Commissioners will convene for third time in May

Business

Biz Roundup: Salisbury, Kannapolis among recipients of Region of Excellence Awards

Local

Cheerleading team competes at Disney

Education

Salisbury High to celebrate football, swimming champions with parade

High School

High school girls soccer: Isley, Webb lead all-county team

Local

Spencer awarded $10,000 to develop trails at Stanback Forest

Books

‘Tails and Tales’ coming to library this summer

Local

Public Records: March Deeds

Entertainment

Salisbury Symphony’s ‘Return to the Concert Hall’ available May 24-31

Coronavirus

Salisbury teen becomes one of first in age group to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Business

Down Goat: Local farm and creamery poised to add goat yoga, artisan goat cheese to offerings

Local

Pandemic’s impact, uncertainty of transit funding prompt request to eliminate Rowan Express service

Lifestyle

New Waterworks’ exhibit opens June 1

High School

High school football: Walsh accepts the South football challenge

Lifestyle

Price of Freedom Museum gets donated landscape project

Lifestyle

Rowan Museum will have Upscale Yard Sale Saturday

Business

Seventh dragon boat festival set for July 24; deadline for sponsorships is May 28

Nation/World

‘Shocking and horrifying’: Israel destroys AP office in Gaza