Published Friday, February 15, 2013

Gala marks the opening of new season at Newnan Theatre Company

By JOAN DOGGRELL

Special to The Newnan Times-Herald

On Feb. 9, Newnan Theatre Company presented its 2013 Gala, NTC’s celebration of its 2013/2014 season opening.

Season ticket holders and guests were treated to drinks, hors d’oeuvres and desserts. They participated in a silent auction of an intriguing array of items — profits to benefit the theater — and they were given an opportunity to renew or purchase season memberships at discount prices.

Also at the Gala, NTC formally accepted the script for “Murder in Coweta County.” Commissioned author Jeff Bishop was presented with a check by Caroline Abbey, Artistic Director Paul Conroy, and Managing Director Dave Dorrel. As yet, no performance date has been set. “As soon as possible the play will be mounted, but right now we’re planning another closed reading here, and probably a staged reading out of state to see how audiences react,” said Conroy. “This play could go all the way to Broadway. We want to be sure the story is understood and appreciated by audiences outside of Coweta County.”

The height of the evening for the guests was a preview of upcoming productions. Actors staged a brief scene from all 10 of the shows planned for the 2013/14 season. As always, the show selections are of the highest quality, and include a variety to suit every taste: two popular family musicals, hilarious comedies appropriate for all ages, and dramas with serious themes and mature content that challenge both players and audiences.

“We’re presenting two Pulitzer prize-winning shows and two Tony Award winners for Best Musical,” said Artistic Director Paul Conroy. “We’re doing ‘Bye ‘Bye Birdie’ on the 60th anniversary of the film release. We are the next company in the state of Georgia to do ‘August: Osage County’ after it played at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre last season. And we’re inviting the author of ‘Thrill Me,’ (a friend of mine) to come to Newnan for the production.”

Conroy said that they chose shows with an eye to giving a wide swath of opportunities to performers of all types and ages.

“‘August: Osage County’ has characters from age fourteen to the seventies. ‘Thrill Me’ offers opportunities for people in their late teens and early twenties,” said Conroy.

“This will be the first musical ever to be produced in the Black Box.”

The Black Box is NTC’s small, intimate theater space. Larger productions take place on the Main Stage.

“Our Black Box shows involve no more than three people to try to give an even more intimate experience for the audience. These shows also give actors new opportunities because they are on stage for almost the entire show. So the experience will be very intense,” he said.

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