‘Park City Follies’ music director ready for year two
The Park City Follies will run from Friday to Sunday, April 20-22, and Tuesday to Sunday, April 24-29. Evening curtain is 8 p.m. Sunday curtain is 6 p.m. Tickets range from $34-$50. They can be purchased by visiting http://www.parkcityshows.com.
Katy Lillquist made her debut as musical director for the annual “Park City Follies,” a locally produced musical spoof that pokes fun of all things Park City, last year.
She replaced Shelle Jennings as musical director, a job that Jennings did for 11 years.
The classically trained Lillquist said it was a thrill to step into Jenning’s shoes for the performances.
“I had worked with Shelle many years prior and know what an amazing musician she is,” Lillquist said. “I don’t play at her level by any stretch, but at the same time, someone had to come in and try to do it.”
Lillquist will direct the band again this year when “Park City Follies” takes over the Egyptian Theatre stage Friday to Sunday, April 20-22, and Tuesday to Sunday, April 24-29. Evening curtain is 8 p.m. Sunday curtain is 6 p.m.
The production, which is a fundraiser for the Egyptian Theatre, will set its irreverent sights on local housing.
“(It’s about) how astronomical housing prices have become and how hard it is for an average person to get a foot in the housing market,” said Terry Moffitt, who along with Paul Tan, Rick Klein, Tom Clyde and Josh Mann, comprise the musical’s core production team. “We have a game show theme where local people have to compete, in very Park City ways, for the one last affordable home in Park City.”
In addition, the band will get a bigger spotlight.
“Last year, (the band) played for 20 minutes before the show, and people loved it,” Moffitt said. “They came early, got a drink, sat there and enjoyed the show. (So) we have decided to do it again.”
The band — bassist George Dymalski, drummer Ron Reich and guitarist Gary Howard — will give a short 25-minute concert before each performance this year.
“People can show up early, get a drink, have a seat, listen to the tunes, which will be totally separate from show tunes, and have a really fun night,” Moffitt said. “We have some real talent in these musicians.”
Lillquist agreed with Moffitt. Although Lillquist’s title is music director, she considers herself the music coordinator because the band she leads really works together.
“George is very much in charge of the music we do during intermission and before the show as people come in to the theater to find their seats,” Lillquist said. “Ron is great about figuring out the tempos and keeping us on beat, and Gary adds his take on the songs we play.”
Lillquist sees her role as the string that ties the music together.
“I’m the one that has the extensive music background, so I am able to put all the different chords to the music and figure out arrangements and harmonies,” she said.
Lillquist works closely with Moffitt, who decides which songs to parody and then writes new lyrics that tie in with the story.
“Terry is the song genius,” she said. “After she gives me the songs, I take the music and add chords for the guitar and bass. And provide the drummer with the whole score.”
Lillquist also downloads the music and transposes the songs into the keys that will be best for the actors who will sing.
“The cast and crew are great people to work with,” Lillquist said. “I’ve been in Park City for 27 years, and being around these wonderful creative people is the best.”
Lillquist, who had attended “Park City Follies” performances in the past, said her on-stage debut last year was everything she expected and more.
“I had never played in a band before, and it was so much fun,” she said. “There was a lot of learning, but everyone was patient with me.”
With last year’s run under her belt, Lillquist approaches this year with more confidence.
“I feel so much more comfortable and prepared going into this year,” Lillquist said.
The musician already is adding more of her own touches to this year’s run during rehearsals that started a few weeks ago.
“While Shelle was partial to playing an actual piano, I use the keyboard and am able to add organ, strings, flute, trumpet and other sounds to the performances,” she said. “It all depends on the song we are going to do.”
Lillquist’s road to the “Park City Follies” started when she was in third grade.
“My mother signed me up for piano lessons, and I loved it,” she said. “Early on I got serious in practicing an hour a day and bumped that up to two hours when I got older.”
Lillquist was an active member of her school’s band.
“I played different instruments,” she said. “One year I played the drums. One year I played the trombone. Music theory came easy to me, so I was able to transfer to one instrument to the other.”
By the time Lillquist got into high school, she resorted to just playing piano.
“I accompanied the high school choir,” she said.
Lillquist entered college as a music major.
“I went to St. Olaf, a little liberal art school in Northfield, Minnesota,” she said. “They are known for their music program, and that’s why I chose that school.”
During her first year, Lillquist attended a symposium about women in math and science careers, which shifted her focus.
“Math also came easy to me, and I got convinced that was the route I should go,” she said. “I ended up majoring in math and concentrated in computer science, but I still continued taking music lessons.”
Lillquist moved to Utah 27 years ago, after her husband Dean graduated with a Ph.D in environmental health and occupational health from Colorado State University.
“He wanted to teach in a collage and the University of Utah made him an offer,” she said.
The family settled in Park City because of the programs offered at the National Ability Center.
“At that time our daughter Anna, who just got a job at Lucky Ones Coffee at the Park City Library, was diagnosed with cererbal palsy,” Lillquist said. “If it wasn’t for that, we would have lived in Salt Lake City.”
During her time in Park City, Lillquist still enjoyed playing the piano.
“I have done a lot of accompanying,” she said “I was the accompanist at the Park City Community Church for many years. So, playing with ‘The Park City Follies’ is fun for me.
“I’m a classical pianist, so it’s different than preparing a whole piece,” Lillquist said. “I can play chords and little things with the band, and that has forced me to do a little more listening and improvising.”
Lillquist said she would love to work on ‘The Park City Follies” as long as they will have her.
“The No. 1 motivator is that ‘The Park City Follies’ is a fundraiser for the Egyptian Theatre, and while we have supported the theater with donations, I was thrilled to help in such a different and substantial way. It’s a win-win because I’m doing something I love to do. I love playing music with other musicians, and I love accompanying singers.”
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