“Les Miserables” to take stage at Geyer PAC
When opportunity knocks, you can sit idle and ignore it, or you can collect yourself and go answer the door.
The Board of Directors at the Geyer Performing Arts Center in Scottdale chose the latter when it came to deciding which plays and musicals to feature in its 2014-15 season, and theater fans throughout the region are sure to be pleased with the outcome of their deliberations.
This summer, the Geyer will present its premiere production of composer Claude-Michel Schonberg’s beloved musical Les Miserables. This title was selected because it is a timeless classic with strict time constraints. As Geyer President Brad Geyer explained, the rights to perform this marvelous musical were released to community theaters, such as the Geyer, only two years ago, and they expire in June 2015, meaning that, after that date, community theaters will no longer be allowed to produce this show unless and until the rights are granted again.
“We had to do it now,” Geyer told us. “We couldn’t pass on the opportunity, in case the rights don’t come around for a while.”
Geyer and the board of directors weren’t the only ones who couldn’t pass on the opportunity. When the Geyer held open auditions this spring, approximately 130 people came out to score a spot in Les Miserables, and dozens of others stepped up to provide services for the production.
The Geyer, like most community theaters, operates on a zero budget, with volunteerism and art appreciation as its lifeblood.
In other words, the cast, crew, and other instrumental figures in the productions receive no pay other than the rewards of performing and giving back to the art community.
It’s this love of art and performance that has sustained the Geyer for over 25 years, since the historic opera house it populates on Pittsburgh Street was renovated in 1989 after sitting dark for two decades. And, it is this same love that will continue to fuel the Geyer’s success, as well as the region’s success, by educating and empowering our next generation of thespians and engineers.
In addition to the plays, ballets, and musicals it puts on each year, the Geyer also offers special programs for children, including the Geyer After School Program (during the school year) and a two-week intensive summer theater camp.
These offerings provide area youth with the opportunity to perform and learn the ins and outs of the theater, and equips them with skills and confidence that can be applied to other areas of their lives.
Just as the Geyer opens its stage doors to eager children, so, too, it opens its doors to anyone interested in the performing arts. Its productions are regularly cast with seasoned actors and novices alike, and it will turn no one away based solely on amateur status.
“We accept all comers, regardless of what they have or haven’t done [in theater] before,” Geyer commented. “During auditions, we look at what’s done on the stage, not at a résumé of previous productions.”
As per Les Miserables, 60 cast members were selected from the 130 who auditioned-and, just like Geyer said, those 60 actors represent a wide range of experience, from first-timers and occasional actors to veterans of the stage.
Les Miserables runs at the Geyer Performing Arts Center from June 11-14, with two special matinee performances on Saturday. Tickets cost just $15 and are already flying out of the box office, filling up the Geyer’s 340 seats.
Other upcoming performances at the Geyer include Disney’s Tarzan in July and Spamalot in August. For more information about upcoming productions, programs, and experiences at the Geyer, visit the Center online at: geyerpac.com
Story by Sarah Beth Martin for Pennsylvania Bridges