‘Giving a Bleep: The Show’ takes on Donald Trump
October 28, 2016
Annette Velarde created "Giving a Bleep" five years ago.
The idea was to establish a nonprofit that benefits other nonprofits in the greater Park City area.
To do so, Velarde, along with a group of local actors, singers and dancers, created "Giving a Bleep: The Show," a musical that made fun of various issues through Park City eyes.
The first show out of the gates set its sights on the 2012 Presidential election and took shots at Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.
The annual production has come full circle, because this year's musical parody, which will be held Nov. 4-5 and 11-12 at the Prospector Theatre, takes on the 2016 Presidential election, Velarde said during an interview with The Park Record.
"We always try to take on a local theme, but like our first year, there is no theme other than the election," she said. "And this year, there is no story besides Donald Trump.
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"I knew if we did a show about traffic congestion, it would be really local, but it wouldn't be as funny," Velarde said. "So, we will bring Trump to the locals."
The story revolves around the idea that Trump wins the presidency, but the American people don't accept it and he doesn't accept the American people.
"He decided to hole himself up in Park City and finds his wife Melania isn't going to cut it, so he finds a 'Queen' from Sugar House," Velarde said.
This theme fell into Velarde's lap.
"I get ideas through listening to the community conversation," she said. "Back in May, everyone was talking about dogs off leash, and as the summer moved on, we knew the elections would dominate all."
In addition, Velarde wanted to interject the Parkite sensibility.
"We, as Parkites, also deal with this schizophrenic notion that we are a kind, giving people who want money," she said with a laugh. "Our hearts and our minds are divided. We move here because we want that sense of community, and then we try to figure out how we're going to pay for it."
The jabs throughout the show are done with love.
"We start off the show with the song 'We Are Family' and we end the show with 'We Are Family,' and in between is a story akin to something like you would tell about your strange uncle or aunt," Velarde explained. "You never tell stories about your relatives who are normal. You always tell stories about the weird ones. Sometimes you tell them in aggravation, but mostly you tell them with endearment."
The trick is to make sure the audience can laugh at the community's quirks.
"Giving a Bleep's whole attitude is to embrace the weirdness and laugh about it," she said. "I feel that we, as a community, will never be in trouble if we can continue to laugh about ourselves. Once we start taking ourselves as seriously as Washington, D.C., does, then we will be in trouble."
There are 20 local cast members this year; 15 of those have been with "Giving a Bleep" since the beginning.
"They come back again and again, but we are also always looking to expand, because we want to get as many people who are in the community as we can who can commit to the time to get involved," Velarde said. "Those who can do that will all get a part and we'll work it out."
Rehearsals started in September.
"We have big dance numbers and songs, so we broke things up," she said. "We took people who are dancers and had them work on their pieces. We took the singers and had them work on their songs. Then we all worked on acting."
Velarde enjoys producing the musical, but she doesn't forget why she does it.
"Fundamentally, 'Giving a Bleep the Show' came out of an irritation of receiving invitations to $250-a-plate fundraisers," she said. "I don't live in that class, and I know there are a lot of people who live in this town who I've known for years who are working for $10 to $15 an hour. And that grated on me."
As it has been since the start, "Giving a Bleep The Show" is an affordable fundraiser that all local residents can participate in. Especially since ticket buyers can name their own price for the tickets.
"This is something we started last year and it has exceeded our expectations," Velarde said. "It moved me that people are coming that truly can only afford $5 a seat, and it also moved me that we had many people pay up to $250 per seat. We even had one couple who paid $1,000 per seat."
There are also some people who can't afford to buy tickets, but that doesn't mean they'll be turned away.
"We are thrilled that they can come to the show to bond with the community and laugh for a night," Velarde said.
In addition to naming their own ticket prices, attendees can also select which nonprofits they want their money to benefit.
"They can do that online (www.givingableep.com)," Velarde said. "And this has changed from 'come to see a show' to a continuation of fundraisers like Live PC Give PC.
"It's a celebration of dorky, hometownness that people are getting [into] the swing of, but also a time where people are as generous as they can be," Velarde said.
Last year, "Giving a Bleep" donated $16,000 to local nonprofits.
"Ninety percent of the money each person pays for tickets will be donated to the nonprofits they want," Velarde said. "I know people want to bond with their community and this is one of the few fundraisers that everybody can participate in."
"Giving a Bleep" is grateful to the Prospector Conference Center for its continued support.
"They have been so wonderful to us," Velarde said. "We're so thankful that we can continue to work with them again.
"Everyone wants to get that sense of community and they will go whereever it is offered," she said. "This is just another offering of that."
"Giving a Bleep: The Show," an original local comedy, will run four nights, Nov. 4-5 and Nov. 11-12, at 8 p.m. at the Prospector Conference Center Theater, 2200 Sidewinder Dr. Ticket buyers may select their own price and the nonprofit the money will benefit. To purchase tickets, visit http://www.givingableep.com.
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