The ‘Tune In To Tent Part 3: Tribute To The Theatre Edition’ of our special, virtual, three-part video series of summer 2020 has officially been released! The video series is in accommodation for the three productions of Tent Theatre’s 58th season that have been postponed, but will be popping up under the tent in summer 2021. Each features inspiring words from Tent Theatre Producers and Directors, behind-the-scenes looks from production members such as choreographers and technical designers, musical sneak-peeks from company members, and exciting, special guest stars. All of it is brought together and hosted by Tent Company Member Emma Keifer.
This week’s episode, our third and final episode of the 58th season, opened with Tent Theatre’s Managing Director, Mark Templeton, giving a warm welcoming to the final installment of ‘Tune In To Tent.’ He wished everyone good health during these unique times and expressed just how fun it has been to make this video series come to life the past few weeks. He, of course, thanked Tent Theatre sponsors- KTXR, Carmen and Brad Stokes, and Clinvest Research- and introduced all of the exciting tributes to the theatre of this week’s episode before turning over to ‘Tune In To Tent,’ Host Emma Keifer. All the way from Nebraska, Emma gave a gracious welcome to the Director of The Producers, Jessica Ryan.
Jessica started with an introduction to her history with Tent Theatre, which started the summer after her freshman year of college when she starred as the female lead in all three of that season’s productions! It was the last season that shows were in repertoire, and she jokes that, “That’s the summer I really learned the meaning of hard work!” She has been in several Tent productions since, choreographed a show, and The Producers will be her second show directing. She stated that Tent Theatre has always been “her artistic home away from home.” Jessica then gave audiences an idea of what it was like to prepare for such a large-scale show. She touched on challenges behind the script, mastering the comedic aspects, casting excitement, and all of the amazing collaboration that goes in to it.
Host Emma Keifer returned afterwards for an introduction to the first glimpse of a The Producers performance- Tent Company Member Doug Shapiro singing “We Can Do It,” with music and lyrics by Mel Brooks, as character Max Bialystock! It was truly a sight-to-see with Doug’s lively character, humorous inspiration, and joyous energy. We can’t wait to see the entire thing. Following was Tent Theatre Properties Master Anna Hunt with an insight into what it’s like to work on the Properties Crew by taking audiences on a properties search through Springfield’s own S.T.D. East Flea Market. Anna showed us all of the exciting items to be discovered right here in town.
Host Emma Keifer then took a moment to talk about how actors miss being on the stage:
“Live theatre is so incredible, and it may be obvious, but being on the stage truly makes our hearts happy. The feeling that you get when you first step onto the stage is like a burst of energy filling every inch of you, all the way to your fingers. The happiness that fills your heart when an audience has a big applause for you or even a big laugh is truly incredible.”
She then introduced Tent Theatre Company Member Courtney Lauster performing “Let Me Be Your Star” by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. This was Courtney’s ‘tribute to the theatre,’ and it was spectacularly done with breath-taking vocals and beautiful, raw emotion.
The photograph to the right shows a moment from the next number in the episode- choreographed by Tent Choreographer and M.S.U. Faculty Member Sarah Wilcoxon and performed by Tent Theatre Company Members and M.S.U. students- “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin and performed by Frank Sinatra.
Following the dance was a much-awaited for presentation by lead architect Eric Hoffman with patterhn ives l.l.c. showing the plans and image-work for the soon-to-be-constructed permanent Tent Theatre structure! Everyone must truly see the presentation for themselves to grasp the magnificence that will come with the structure’s plans, seating options, and expanded seating. The first shows to be in the new structure, located next to the future Judith Enyeart Reynolds Art Park, are set to premiere in the summer of 2022.
Closing this unique and trail-blazing episode of Tent Theatre’s 58th virtual season was a sign-off from Host Emma Keifer and a performance of “Show People” from Curtains- music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and performed by several Tent Theatre Company Members and M.S.U. students. It was just the combination of high-spirited energy, bright personalities, and great editing a finale calls for. “Max Bialystock” then gave a heart-felt speech thanking everyone involved in the video series, and especially audiences, for helping make the magic happen that is live theatre performances. It would not be possible with them.
Members of Tent Theatre could not be more excited to welcome audiences, patrons, production, and performers back to the tent next year in the summer of 2021 to see the sneak-peaks and previews of these episodes come to life and finally hit the stage. This episode and all the wonderful presentations and performances can be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5W_pdyhfsI&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR0WS10Q05zs1nrIsK046vVfCF368cx-bW_RtOCJyVM6HNrjGVDURUC_bYs Thank you, everyone, for tuning in to tent! We’ll see you next summer!