What started out as a dream shared by a McNary High School teacher and one of her former students has yielded Keizer’s own theater group which is currently in its second season.
Keizer Homegrown Theatre (KHT), established by Linda Baker, a teacher at McNary who ran the drama department for years, and Evan Christopher, who has appeared on the stage of the Ken Collins Theatre more than a few times, has staged three shows so far.
Last summer they staged Shakespeare’s Macbeth at the Keizer Rotary Amphitheatre at Keizer Rapids Park. Expecting a few hundred hardy theater souls, the show was a success beyond the dreams of the organizers. Baker and Christopher proved there is a thirst for culture and theatre in Keizer. And they are delivering.
Since the success of Macbeth, Keizer Homegrown Theatre has presented The Dining Room and The Odd Couple. With the help of J.B. Summers, KHT turned a part of the Keizer Civic Center from a conference room into a theater with tiered seating. Both of those shows were successful as well.
Next week Keizer Homegrown Theatre presents its second Shakespeare in the Park production with one of the Bard’s accessible comedies, Much Ado About Nothing. The theater group gives local thespians an opportunity to trod the stage. Most are not professional, just folks who like to be part of the theatre experience. And Keizer Homegrown Theatre gives them that. The actors, regardless of their part, are dedicated to the show, earnestly learning their lines.
If the size of last year’s audience for Shakespeare is any indication, Much Ado About Nothing will have them standing in the aisles. There is culture in Keizer and it’s free. That’s a good thing.