After 40 years on the am dram scene, Telford And District Light Operatic Society are marking the milestone anniversary with a performance of their first ever show, reports Cathy Stanworth.
Audiences can expect to be blown away with a blast of theatre fun from the Windy City as the musical Calamity Jane hits the (Deadwood) stage at Oakengates Theatre @ the place this month.
A West End set, live orchestra and professional stage costumes are just some of the extra special elements roped in by Telford And District Light Operatic Players to help make their 40th year anniversary production one to really remember.
The musical, running from October 24 to 27, has cost £25,000 to put on and features a cast of 40 with another 40 volunteers working behind the scenes.
Featuring the songs made famous in the Wild West-themed film musical starring Doris Day in 1953, including The Deadwood Stage (Whip-Crack-Away!), It’s Harry I’m Planning to Marry and Secret Love, it is loosely based on the life of Wild West heroine Calamity Jane and her romance with Wild Bill Hickok.
Calamity Jane was the first musical ever to be put on by the then newly formed TADLOP in 1972, with founder Shirlee Gaston performing the lead.
Twice weekly rehearsals began at the end of May, with musical director Gary Bailey, choreographer Angie Astell and Director Rosemary Gauge, at the reins.
TADLOP Vice Chairman Robin Cooper said: “A lot of work has gone into this and there’s something for everyone.
“If someone has never been to the theatre or a member of their family hasn't, this is the one to come and see, because there is literally something in it for everyone.”
Robin said the 40th anniversary production had “an amazing, feel-good factor”.
He said: “We’re in a time of economic decline and this is another reason for our members to have something to focus on and have a fun time.”
As TADLOP’s productions are so expensive to put on, getting as many tickets sold as possible is vital, said Robin.
“We have to apply for a licence and have to pay royalties for performing on each ticket.
“That’s why our shows cost £25,000 to put on and that's why we have to sell a lot of tickets, and we also have sponsors.”
TADLOP is always looking for more members to either tread the boards (especially male singers), or work backstage.
A workshop where prospective new members can explore acting, singing, dance and technical skills is taking place on Sunday November 4 at Hadley Methodist Church Hall from 7pm. Contact 07528 638516 for more information.
TADLOP's next production will be the classic, The Secret Garden. The project begins in November with performances scheduled for April 2013. Producers are currently looking for youngsters to take on the lead roles aged between 10 and 15-years-of-age. Interested parents can contact TADLOP through its website www.tadlop.com
For Calamity Jane tickets call 01952 382382 or visit www.oakengates.ws