Heber Valley’s theatre company gets set for new show
Of the Record staff The Timpanogos Valley Theatre Company is, undeniably, a community theatre company. The organization is run by volunteers, performs with a cast of community members, and stages its productions in the Midway Town Hall. As such, the organization keeps its selection of plays simple. We like to do things with humorousness and wholesomeness, said Ellen Bonner, the group s president. The theatre company stages two shows each year, a spring musical, and a fall melodrama. This year, for the latter, the organization has chosen Arsenic and Old Lace. We chose it because it s just a real comfortable play, said Bonner. A lot of people on the board liked it. It s a classic, said Ken McConnell, a theatre company board member who plays Jonathan in the play. And it s a challenge for the group. It s a good, old-time family show, she concluded. A farce written by Joseph Kesselring, Arsenic and Old Lace tells the story of Mortimer Brewster, a theatre critic, who must deal with two old aunts who murder old men, a brother who believes he s Teddy Roosevelt, and another homicidal brother Jonathan who, due to some bad plastic surgery, resembles horror-film actor (and original Frankenstein) Boris Karloff. The plot, said Bonner, revolves around a gallon of elderberry wine. It s a dark comedy, said McConnell. The little old ladies are very charming, Bonner said. She noted that the play would have several highlights. Our Teddy Roosevelt is as great as the original, she said, referencing the character played John Alexander in the film version of the play, and Robert Bridge, who is acting in the Timpanogos version. Jonathan is the villain in this one, Bonner continued, and he s even better than the original. In my case, I m going to try and put a little different spin on it, said McConnell. Bonner also pointed to Dr. Einstein as a role that was turning out nicely. The play will run with 10 actors, almost all from the Heber Valley area. Bonner said the group had been rehearsing for six weeks, and had just recently begun to do so daily. I m impressed with the level of talent they ve been able to amass, said McConnell. The accomplishment is considerably impressive, he noted, because the case was drawn almost exclusively from the Heber Valley. McConnell has some experience to draw from, as well. He has made a career of his acting and has worked as a stuntman and taken parts in Touched by an Angel. He also noted the stage for the theatre company s performance of Arsenic and Old Lace. The play runs down low, almost on the same level as the audience. It s down closer to the audience where the audience is up close and personal, said McConnell. The audience almost becomes part of the stage. The theatre company is looking to continue the success it has seen in its first two years. In June, the group attracted sell-out crowds for each of its four showings of Annie Get Your Gun, playing before 2,000 people, in total. That was our very first musical and it was just an amazing turnout, said Bonner. We get a lot of response that people like what we re doing. The organization, she said, is a labor of love for its members. We all put in our time, she added, because we love doing it. Bonner posed a possible reason for the play s popularity. The reason this play is such a classic is that we re all a bit strange inside, she noted. The whole community is beginning to say, My gosh, we ve got some talent here, said McConnell about the theatre company. I think we re going to make our mark in the community and people will sit up and notice we ve got something great here. McConnell also said the Timpanogos Valley Theatre Company also had some greater ambitions. Our ultimate goal would be to have our own theatre, he said. I think we have the talent, and I know we have the determination. Arsenic and Old Lace will play Nov. 11, 12, 14, 17 and 18 at the Midway Town Hall, located at 120 Main Street in Midway. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children and are available at locations around Heber Valley and at the door. For more information, call (435) 654-6406 or visit http://www.tvtheatre.org.
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