The production, which will benefit all Park City area nonprofit organizations, is spearheaded by executive director Annette Velarde, formerly of the Park City Follies, and will be presented Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 26 and Oct. 27, and Nov. 2 and Nov. 3, at the Yard. There will be snacks and a cocktail bar adding to the festivities.
"The Yard owner Mark Fischer has been incredibly generous with us," Velarde said during an interview with The Park Record. "He's our lead sponsor who is donating the space, and told us if we could make the venue into a theater setting, we should go for it."
In fact, Velarde said there has been an "outpouring" of generosity from community members to help the production see the light of day.
"People have donated stuff left and right and we couldn't have done this without their help," Velarde said. "We have people handling our tech stuff and the Olympic Park lending us pipe and drapes. Basin Recreation is also letting us use their bleachers."
"We have transformed what was an old lumber yard into a community theatre that will hold 326 capacity, between bleachers and folding chairs," she said. "It's like a big black box setting. We have a stage, a band, lights and video."
In addition, head writer Missy Hilton, who also works for Mountain Express Magazine, volunteered her talents and worked with four others Velarde, Ani Robertson and Joel Fine to write the script.
"With Annette's background with doing something like this, she was obviously huge in getting things going," Hilton said. "She and I would meet and come up with the bones of the script and meet with the group and flesh it out, read it and get feedback."
Some scenes were written collaboratively by the whole group.
"Some scenes I wrote by myself and some Annette wrote," Hilton said. "However, any time I had an idea, Annette could always make it better or the group could make it better, so it was a real collaborative effort."
Hilton began working on the script a year-and-a-half ago.
"Annette told me what she was up to and I wanted in," Hilton said. "I liked that it would be an opportunity for us to get something out there that would make people laugh."
Ideas for the script were found everywhere, and the performance will spoof Park City and more.
"The fundamentally funny things in Park City will never change," Velarde explained. "We will always have distinct and eclectic groups that include the tree-huggers, the ski bums and fitness buffs. So, we knew we had to start with that as a basis."
The writers also kept an eye on the election.
"We knew that would be the big item in the production, especially during the time when we would be performing the show," Velarde said. "And then as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney took center stage in the national psyche, we knew we had to do something."
At first, the writers had no intention of making 'Giving a Bleep' about the national election.
"But things got so funny that we couldn't ignore it," Velarde said. "I mean, the nomination process for the Republican party could not have had more comedy in it. Every single one of the programs had something that lent to our script."
The writers knew early on that Romney was going to be nominated, so they paid special attention to him.
"Then with Obama, he, himself, is such a character," Velarde said. "While he may not be as funny as Mitt in a satirical way, he has a very distinct style of speaking. The policies such as Obamacare he has pushed through have been groundbreaking, so they clearly have divided people's opinions."
The writing crew also looked at the area's local politics.
"We don't pick too much on any one candidate," Velarde said. "We do have one character that is named after one of them, but what we did was take on the political special interest groups and developed a candidate of our own."
There are 25 people in the cast, and we have 25 others who are all volunteers to help run the show.
"I love it when people join the cast and step out of their comfort zones," Velarde said. "Some don't have an acting bone in their bodies, but they are doing an amazing job."
John Burdick is honored to direct the inaugural "Giving a Bleep" production.
"I've done a lot of acting and some directing in college," said Burdick who was a theatre major at University of Southern California, and has performed all over Chicago and Los Angeles and Edinburgh, Scotland. "This was a wonderful challenge for me and it's been rewarding to see how this has developed from paper to the stage. It's been great to see that process."
One of the things he likes about the production is how it will benefit all the nonprofits in the community.
"We're taking a page out of the Park City Foundation's Live PC Give PC fundraising campaign last year, where people visit the foundation's website and choose, which nonprofit their money will go to," he said. "We're spreading the wealth."
Velarde was inspired by the Park City Foundation's drive and wanted to do it when she was in the Park City Follies.
"I didn't want to have to choose between the nonprofits and I think they all do important works and do incredible things for our community," she said. "I liked the concept that the individuals who buy a ticket can decide which nonprofit their money will go to."
The other important thing was to keep the fundraising affordable.
"I watched the trend of how, by necessity, fundraisers have become expensive events that require $150 to $200 entry fees," Velarde said. "I found I couldn't afford to give, so, I wanted to develop a series of events where everyday people could buy a $25 instead of a $200 ticket and support the nonprofit of their choice and do something for their own karma."
When people purchase a ticket at www.parkcitygivingableep.com , they can scroll to a drop-down box and choose which nonprofit they want their money to benefit.
The goal is to donate 95 percent of the ticket sales to the charities, Velarde said.
"Like John said, we're taking a page from last year's Live PC Give PC campaign by the Park City Foundation where people visited a website and chose which nonprofit to donate to," Velarde said.
There are more than 80 organizations including Adopt-A-Native Elder to Mountainlands Community Housing Trust to Youth Winter Sports Alliance. Other nonprofits on the list include Ballet West, Hawkwatch International and the Wildlife Protection Society.
"If you invest all your time and talents to something, you have to feel what you're doing is appreciated and worthwhile, especially when you're doing it for free," Velarde said. "The main thing is this has been a vision I've had for a while. There is a big difference between having a dream and making that into a reality. You start with a dream and then go into the real world and work at it piece by piece to make it all come together."
"Park City Giving a Bleep" will be presented Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 26 and Oct. 27, and Nov. 2 and Nov. 3, at the Yard, 1251 Kearns Blvd., at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and available at www. parkcitygivingableep.com.