This from Pirates of Penzance Director, Spencer Ver Meer:
Well, we have docked our ship once again after ten weeks at sea, and we can finally feel dry Iowa land again. It was an utter delight to work with all those who were involved in this wonderful production. I felt a considerable amount of trepidation coming into the early practices, to be honest. I had two young leads who I had never heard before, and were unproven on USP’s stage. They turned out to be boatloads of talent that more than a handful of people credited me for finding. I had to tell them the truth, I got really lucky to have them drop in my lap.
I had several comments on how pure of a sound the daughters collectively had. I had lots who stated the police stole the show. I had a bunch who said the pirate kickline unquestionably had to happen. They knew it was coming instinctively, yet still cheered when it materialized. I had so many who loved being able to see the orchestra and having them as a “part” of the production. I had some that couldn’t believe Arvin could talk that fast (5 for 5, AVZ!), then see him equaled by three more in the second act (5 for 5, again). I had…a great time.
Some that I need to publicly thank. #1: Arvin Van Zante, who was there more than I was in the last two weeks working on lighting schemes to enhance the show even more. My minimalist approach was trumped, and brilliantly I might add, by him. For that I thank him for his dedication. #2: Dan Fynaardt, who came up with the idea of the set, built it all, and gave us tools to use in the future. If anyone needs a couple boxes to borrow for something, I think we can accommodate. #3: Lisa Witzenburg, who stepped up to helm the costume ring. I tired of the “unable to’s” this year from people when I asked them to be costumer, and after so many no’s, you run out of options. Lisa grabbed the rather large bull by the horns and won the battle for all of us. #4 and 5, Jamie Kacur and James Punke, who collectively relieved me of a lot of behind the scenes duties as producers of the show. #6, Tom Hallam, who had the unenviable task of operating 9 mics up and down for two hours a night, and Harv Olsthoorn who organized a lot of the gear we used for this event. #7, Deanna Ihde and Dan Spotten, who ran our light board for the dress rehearsals and performances. #8, our delightful orchestra who made us sound even better. #9 Barb and Brian, who put in a ton of time accompanying during these long rehearsals in June and July. And #10, Vern Haagsma, who had never worked with a baton before (Man, Doug, you got beat by a rookie!), but had worked in everything else directing-wise for many years. And it showed. My favorite comment, and one of the ultimate compliments, was “you could tell he knew how to TEACH, and that’s what he did.” So Thanks to you, Vern for mating this ship with me.
Best of luck to Anne McCullough Kelly in her endeavours with <X12! Don’t miss auditions!
Spence Ver Meer