Just seven short months after the Paramount Theatre’s first foray into community theater, it’s mounting a second production. The Paramount Players and Grace Congregational Church will presenting “Shrek the Musical” next, and auditions take place in just over a week.
“The whole concept is exciting,” said Paramount Theatre Program Director Eric Mallette, who will be directing “Shrek.” “Mama Mia!” was the first community theater show the Paramount has ventured into, and it had a run of almost sold-out shows each night.
The three performances of “Mamma Mia!” saw an average house of over 90 percent sold, which Mallette called “a true testament to the community involvement.”
“It was no surprise to any of us on the production team because we have such a talented community,” Mallette said. “We have this great pool of talented resources from which to draw.”
“Nationally, Shrek has done incredibly well,” Mallette said. “It’s just a fun story.”
Shrek, Fiona, Donkey — you know the story: Once upon a time, in a far away swamp, there lived an ogre named Shrek, whose precious solitude is suddenly shattered by an invasion of annoying fairy tale characters.
It’s like the movie in a lot of ways, but because it’s live action as opposed to cartoons, Mallette says, it allows for some of the humor to breathe a bit more.
“The show is absolutely hilarious — it’s laugh out loud funny,” he said. “And it’s going to be fun seeing local people up there in goofy costumes singing goofy songs just to make us laugh.”
The show requires a cast of 25, but Mallette said, “I would expect a cast no smaller than ‘Mamma Mia!’ which was 30.”
The show is a partnership between the Paramount and Rutland’s Grace Church, which has a history of presenting musicals at the Paramount, renting the space and producing shows from the artistic to the financial side themselves. This time, both organizations are working in tandem, a relationship Mallette said, “doesn’t really exist elsewhere.”
He’s stepping out from behind the scenes this time to direct, a joint venture with Alastair Stout, minister of music Grace Church, as music director.
“In ‘Mama Mia’ if you could bottle the energy we could power the building for a decade,” Mallette said. “It would be foolish of us not to capitalize on that both artistically and financially, which is why only seven short months after our inaugural production we’re mounting another one.”
“I am telling you there is no other greater experience (than) the camaraderie that the cast forms,” he added. “It’s a sports team times 10 and it’s that magic that creates that connection between the cast and the audience, and we really felt that in ‘Mama Mia!’”
Auditions for “Shrek The Musical” will be held on four dates at Grace Congregational Church at 8 Court St. in Rutland. Principal role auditions are by appointment only 2 to 5 p.m. Jan. 5, 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 7, and 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 9. Ensemble auditions and callbacks will be Jan. 11. Time slots are at 20-minute intervals and will be available on a first-come-first-served basis.
Rehearsals begin June 7. Show dates are July 16-18 at The Paramount Theatre.
To express interest in auditioning and to schedule your audition time, email Eric Mallette at firstname.lastname@example.org.