Musical asks Park City to give a bleep about Treasure
What: “Giving a Bleep: The Show”
When: 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26 and 27, and Nov. 2 and 3
Where: The Prospector Theater, 2175 Sidewinder Drive
Cost: Ticket buyers can name their price
Note: Suitable for ages 16 and older
Writer Annette Velarde doesn’t have to look too far for fodder for her annual script of “Giving a Bleep: The Show,” a satirical musical that raises money for nonprofits in the greater Park City area.
“I just look at the newspaper,” Velarde said. “There is so much going on that you can pick and choose what you want.”
Velarde, who writes the annual production, which will run this year on Oct. 26-27, and Nov. 2-3 at the Prospector Theatre, has found the political arena fair game. She’s written about Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency and the Park City mayoral elections in past years.
This year, the script will address the Treasure ballot measure, a proposed $48 million bond that would help fund a $64-million Park City Hall acquisition of land above Old Town along the Town Lift.
If the bond isn’t approved, the land could get developed, Velarde said.
“I personally have strong feelings about the bond,” Velarde said. “I think we have to do all we can to preserve open space. This is one of the most valuable assets we have — not only for recreation, but I think it directly affects the local economy.”
Velarde said people come to Park City to enjoy the outdoors.
“We still have open space, and if we hadn’t preserved the McPolin Farm or Bonanza Flat, we would’ve become like every other bedroom community to a ski resort that is just wall-to-wall development everywhere,” she said. “So the idea of having hotels up on a hillside that you can see from Main Street is something that I wouldn’t want.”
Velarde knows there are many people who are against the bond.
“Some of these people don’t want to it to pass because it would raise their property taxes and benefit a place that they no longer feel is theirs anymore,” she said. “Many people I know feel like Main Street is owned by corporate America, and not the small businesses and mom-and-pop stores that they fell in love with years ago. And they resent that.”
“Giving a Bleep: The Show,” which will present both sides of the issue in an irreverent and sometimes R-rated way, was timed to run just before the midterms.
“I think (the Treasure ballot measure) is something we all have to be informed about,” she said. “We purposely timed the play to run before the elections, so we can give people a chance to think about things before they vote.”
Velarde began thinking about writing her script about the measure last spring.
“The truth is the issue has gone on for so long, and I didn’t believe that things were going to start moving as fast as it has in the past few months,” she said. “I know we’ve been moving towards a conclusion actively for the past two years, but it was moving so slowly back then.”
This year is a fork in the road for the Treasure story, and Velarde wants as much engagement as possible.
“I’ve been listening to the local conversation, and whether you are for or against the bond, I think you have to vote, so you don’t wake up one day and look around and not know what happened,” she said.
The characters of “Giving a Bleep: The Show” were inspired by Park City’s “animated” City Council, according to Velarde.
“The council has very distinctive personalities,” she said. “However, during the play we won’t try to imitate each council member’s personalities. What we’ve done is characterized their positions on the issue. We also added some Park City citizens’ personalities who are against the bond to show the other side.”
During rehearsals Velarde encourages the cast to add their own input if it makes the show funnier.
“I do write the script, but I don’t hold a corner on humor or issues or ideas,” she said. “I think the biggest mistake someone can do is think too much of themselves. All I want to do is create an event that allows people to come and express their own ideas, and the cast has insights that I don’t have.”
The cast also works with Velarde on logistics.
“We do draw certain lines in how much swearing we can get away with or how offensive we can be, but these are very flexible lines,” she said laughing. “It helps that we have both Republicans and Democrats in our cast, and we have those who wear yoga clothes all the time and people who wear suits every day.”
There are 21 cast members in this year’s run, and one-third of the actors are the newest members of the “Giving a Bleep” family, Velarde said.
“Once you’ve done Bleep, you will always be part of Bleep,” she said. “Even those who have missed a year or two can still come forward and sing ‘We Are Family’ during the opening number. We have grown into a group of friends who run into each other at the vegetable aisle at Smith’s and break into song.”
Velarde started Giving a Bleep because she wanted to contribute to local nonprofits in a more significant way than she could alone.
“I wanted to raise money for as many nonprofits as we could,” she said. “While there are some costs of putting on a play with licensing and insurance policies and such, once we deduct those, all the money goes to benefit nonprofits, even if it’s just five dollars. It helps that none of the actors or crew get paid for this. We all donate our time.”
Ticket buyers can name their price, and they can also decide which nonprofit their money will benefit, Velarde said.
“We don’t want people to miss out in seeing the show and helping their favorite nonprofit because they can’t afford tickets,” she said. “And we don’t want to prevent people from donating generous amounts of money to their favorite nonprofits.”
Prospector Theater’s partnership with Giving a Bleep allows Velarde to give more money to nonprofits.
“They donate the stage and venue, and if they were to back out, we’d have to stop producing the annual show,” Velarde said. “The other theater venues in town, such as the Egyptian Theatre, don’t rent out their space, and if we were to perform at a school, we couldn’t serve alcohol. And that’s part of the fun.”
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Sundance Institute announced it will instead send reporters a press kit with video remarks from executive leadership.