By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
Anyone familiar with Linda Baker’s work in the McNary High School drama department might have wondered how long it would be before she had the players of Keizer Homegrown Theatre (KHT) doing a musical.
The answer: two years.
KHT is kicking off it’s 2014 season with the musical skit comedy I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. The local stage troupe begins its run March 20 and continues with performances March 21-22 and 27-29. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for students and seniors. Curtain time is 7 p.m. for all shows at the Keizer Civic Center, 930 Chemawa Road N.E. While there is much to laugh about, parents should know the play has a PG-13 rating.
The play itself, from the book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music by Jimmy Roberts, is a series of vignettes connected by the theme of love and exploring relationships from dating through marriage.
“It’s a bunch of self-contained scenes within the play. The first act is all around dating and ends with a marriage. Act two starts with a marriage and everything that follows,” said Laura Reid, who is directing her first production for KHT.
Usually told with four actors, KHT’s run will feature eight, four males and four females.
For Carol Adams, the run is a chance to explore some of the skits she didn’t get the chance to perform the last time she was part of a production in Wisconsin.
“I purposely asked for scenes that I hadn’t done before,” Adams said. “There is a lot of fun in following one character throughout a whole show, but this is a skit format. As an actor it’s fun because you get to do so many characters.”
Holly Beaman had bits parts in productions in high school, but I Love You will be her first time as a featured actor.
“I’m having a blast at rehearsal and everyone is patient. Laura was yelling at us to move downstage and I had to stop and tell them I didn’t know what direction that is,” she said.
While the terminology is sometimes new, Beaman has no trouble getting to the core of some of the characters she plays.
“I’m married and have kids so I could relate to a lot of the characters,” she said. “As a stay at home mom, you can lose your identity. You don’t know how to talk to adults and you become very awkward, but this has brought me out of my shell.”
For Michael Swanson, the challenge of the play has been its musical numbers. He’s never performed in a musical and he’s learning how to read sheet music for the first time.
“I’m not a singer, so that’s a challenge. But, whatever I do, I like it to take me out of my comfort zone,” he said.
The male players include two veterans of the McNary High School stage, Jeremy Clubb and Dillon Bien.
The small cast is a change from the musicals and large Shakespeare productions McNary produced during Bien’s high school years, but he’s okay with that.
“I like how small this one is. Small and really low-key,” Bien said.
It’s Clubb’s first time back to a Keizer production since graduating in 2006, but he’s relishing the chance to work with his former directors, Reid and Baker.
“I’m just enjoying being back in the game. It’s a very talented group of people and they are on it all the time,” Clubb said. “And, if you’ve ever been in a relationship, there will be one moment where they think, ‘yeah.’”