Annual musical parody Giving a Bleep returns to benefit Utah nonprofits
What: Park City’s Giving a Bleep
When: 8 p.m. on Nov. 9, 15 and 16
Where: Prospector Theater, 2175 Sidewinder Drive
Cost: Ticket buyers can select their own prices
Although Annette Velarde, executive director of Giving a Bleep, doesn’t have to look far when writing a script for the nonprofit’s annual musical parody “Giving a Bleep: The Show,” she does have to keep on her toes.
The production, which opens this year on Saturday, Nov. 9, and continues on Nov. 15 and 16, raises money for Utah nonprofits and relies on a timely and relevant script to be “entertainingly effective,” Velarde said.
Sometimes the hot topics of the day change unexpectedly and Velarde finds herself rewriting lines and the story during rehearsals.
Her main character this year was supposed to be a caricature of Park City Manager Diane Foster, but Foster suddenly departed from the municipal government during the last week of September.
“You’d think that we would have had some security writing about one of Park City’s (longtime) employees, but no,” Velarde said. “There was some fast rewriting. I decided to keep her in the play anyway, and said she refused to leave office because she had some things she still wanted to accomplish.”
This story for this year’s production takes on a more local angle than past performances, Velarde said.
“We always try to go national, but lately it’s been so overwhelmed with (Donald) Trump,” she said. “So we made the decision in how we were going to address him.”
Velarde followed the example of how the media has begun covering tragedies, she said.
“They are now putting the attention on victims instead of the perpetrators,” Velarde said. “So, that’s what I’m doing is taking the spotlight off of Trump and putting the spotlight on the white, middle-class male. I’ve noticed that this is the worst time in history to be a middle-income white man, because there is nothing they can do right.”
In “Giving a Bleep: The Show,” the town’s white males are represented by the characters of Mayor Dandee and three lifties who have lived in Park City since the 1980s.
“They decide to form their own group, the WMDs — White Men’s Delegation — in order to fight for their rights,” Velarde said.
To add some international flair, the script also tells the tale that the Queen of England has moved to Park City and bought the Montage because she wants to get away from conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“The Queen and Prince Phillip are now living incognito at the Montage, which they think was built by Lord Montage, who they assume is someone on Phillip’s side of the family,” Velarde said.
The cast of 23 community members have become part of the expanding group of “Giving a Bleep” friends who are bound by a project that does good for the community, according to Velarde.
“They will own the performances, and I’m sure they will feel a sense of pride because they worked so hard,” she said. “Really, if something would happen to me at this point, the play would still go on.”
Nearly one-third of this year’s cast is new, which is similar to how it has been in the past seven years.
“It’s great because those who have performed with us before know that the show looks like crap until opening night, and they don’t freak out about it, because they know it always has and always will work out,” Velarde said. “Then we have the new people who are so excited to join us. They come in with ideas. Everybody shows up with props and costumes, and run with their characters.”
“Giving a Bleep: The Show” raises money through ticket sales. And ticket buyers, once they order tickets online at givingableep.com, can name their own prices and their preferred nonprofit.
“It doesn’t matter if they pay $1 or $250 dollars per ticket, every bit of that money will go to the nonprofit they choose,” Velarde said.
Of course, the chosen organization has to exist, Velarde said.
“I do verify that all the nonprofits that are chosen are listed as 501(c)(3)s,” she said. “If I can’t find a nonprofit that has been chosen, I will reach out to ticket holders and have them help me find the organization.”
And while Giving a Bleep, the organization, is also a nonprofit, Velarde is grateful for various donations, including the performance space at the Prospector Theater.
“Prospector has been so good to us every year,” she said. “They just don’t donate the space for the performances. They allow us to do our rehearsals and meetings there, and I think that keeps the play down home.”
Velarde said her goal has always been about creating a musical that resonates with local audiences.
“We don’t want to put on a Broadway-quality show,” she said. “We just want to have a great time and raise money for nonprofits.”
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