The Audrey Herman Spotlighters Theatre went dark today for the first time in the troupe's 45-year history.
The six-week closure will enable the venerable community theater to undergo a $10,000 renovation. When the theater reopens Oct. 7, the backstage area will contain dressing rooms, a kitchenette, a costume shop, prop storage, a carpentry area and a green room.
"The backstage isn't going to be any larger, but it will be better organized, with designated areas for everything," says Fuzz Roark, the Spotlighters' executive director. "Right now, we have just one sink. After the renovation, we won't have to get water for tea in the same place that the actors put on makeup and where the crew washes paint brushes."
Money for the renovation is coming from a $5,000 grant from the William G. Baker Jr. Memorial Fund and $5,000 in donations.
No shows will be staged during the renovation, but actors will rehearse their first offering for the 2007-2008 season, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, on the theater's stage. So, it's a possibility that the performers will be shouting out lines over the pounding of hammers and the whining of electric drills.
"We're kind of used to rehearsing through everything happening around us," Roark says. "It won't freak the actors out. It may actually help them to focus."
The theater will reopen with a gala celebration of what would have been founder Audrey Herman's 82nd birthday. (She died in 1999.) That's just in time for Trailer Park Musical, which takes the stage Oct. 12 and runs through Nov. firstname.lastname@example.org