PINEDALE – COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the performing arts. Federal and state regulations shut down concerts, plays and musicals for months, causing significant financial hardship for non-profits involved in the industry, including the Pinedale Theatre Company (PTC).
The PTC survived and is beginning to pick up the pieces after the disruption” caused by the pandemic, said marketing director Jo Crandall. Inflation over the past year also threw in a wrench for organizations operating on a tight budget. Licensing costs to put on a musical increased by 50 to 60 percent, Crandall added.
The Pinedale Theatre Company is hosting a special fundraiser event, “Broadway Goes to the Movies,” on Saturday, Oct. 22, to raise money for the organization to continue putting on large-scale musicals every other year and “keep the bar high” for the performing arts in Sublette County, said Crandall.
“Broadway Goes to the Movies” includes songs from popular musicals that were later adapted into movies. Musical styles put on stage for the Oct. 22 production span multiple decades, including Broadway classics and more contemporary shows, Crandall said.
The event will feature large ensembles, small groups, trios, duets and solos performed by talented community members. In addition to singing, dance numbers will be showcased.
The cast consists of approximately 50 performers from children to adults and spanning newcomers to the PTC and actors from past events, Crandall said. Another 50 individuals are involved behind the scenes, working in lighting, costumes, creating backdrops or playing in the live musical ensemble.
Students from both Pinedale and Big Piney high schools make up a significant part of the cast and crew, Crandall added.
Valerie Lee Hagenstein, a veteran in musical theatre, is directing the show. Gregory Allen is serving as musical director, with Ellie Brown providing stage management, Doug Vogel directing lights and Dave Rice the sound engineer.
Anastasia Hamilton of WYLD Dance Company in Pinedale is the choreographer.
Musicians in the live band include Sheldon Pickering on keyboard, Bruce Kerback on string bass and Ryan Ptasnik on drums. J.J. Huntley and Marianne Mrak provided accompaniment during rehearsals.
Formed a decade-and-a-half ago, the PTC started out small with dinner theatre productions and a children’s play, Crandall said. The organization produced its first large-scale musical, “The Sound of Music,” in November 2008, under Hagenstein’s guidance. In 2019, PTC staged a spectacular rendition of “Beauty and the Beast.”
The musicals “changed lives,” exposing people in Sublette County to different aspects of the theatre, taking people in “directions they didn’t expect to go,” said Crandall.
Actors from the “Sound of Music” circled back and performed in “Beauty and the Beast” and are cast members of “Broadway Goes to the Movies,” she added.
The PTC relies on local talent, though it often brings in outside directors and performers as artists in residence to teach performance, music and stagecraft and “build up the arts in the community,” Crandall said.
Sublette County is filled with gifted musicians, singers, dancers and performers and Crandall praised the community’s “culture that encourages people to try new things.”
The PTC board looks forward to “bringing everyone back together” following the pandemic, Crandall said. She thanked the PTC’s “umbrella” organization, the Pinedale Fine Arts Council, and Sublette County School District No. 1 for supporting the organization and show.
Part of the proceeds raised will go toward putting on a large-scale musical in 2023.
The event is Saturday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m. in the Sheppard Auditorium. Tickets are $50 per person and available for purchase on the Pinedale Fine Arts Council’s website at pinedalefinearts.com, both Office Outlets in both Big Piney and Pinedale and the Cowboy Shop in Pinedale.