Another theater season ended with a new one about to begin.
I thought it was time to reflect on this past year, how things are going with Flowertown Players, what’s new, and what we can look forward to coming up.
What follows is my interview with Courtney Bates, executive director of Flowertown Players; Dan Martin, board member and artistic director Ernie Eliason.
For More Information, go to www.flowertownplayers.org.
Regan: Courtney, how did this past season go in terms of ticket sales and your “Walk of Fame” fundraiser, and any other main activities?
Bates: We have seen an 18 percent increase in ticket sales and a 60 percent increase in community donations.
We are so grateful for the community’s belief in what we do and can’t wait to bring them another exciting year of theatre.
Our Walk of Fame fundraiser’s first phase is done — the walkway is beautifully decorated with community memories. We are currently selling the 100 blank bricks that are laid down.
I encourage everyone to come out and take some photos with their bricks. This year’s victories also come down to our amazing teams.
I would like to send out a huge thank you to all our directors, actors, crew, and volunteers for their continued hard work. They say it takes a village to raise a child.
The same applies to theater. We could not do it without our community support.
R: Dan, when did you become one of the 11 board members there as well as being the marketing chair? Your thoughts on what makes this theater successful?
Martin: I was very fortunate to be nominated and selected last July to serve on their board for a three-year term.
When I moved here, I immediately noticed the quaint historic community theater downtown and told my wife how nice it would be to get involved in theater again.
I double majored in business and theater arts. Our first few Board meetings focused on discussions around our mission statement and setting goals, etc. We are blessed with an abundance of talented local artists who share their direction skills, create awesome onstage characterizations, devote backstage talents, and volunteer to fill key roles to help the theater run smoothly.
We have a very diverse culture with a dynamic and passionate commitment to making Flowertown Players reflect what a world class community theater should look like.
If my first year on the board is any indication of what can be accomplished, then the next several years shine brightly.
R: Ernie, how did you come to be here? Which productions did you work on? Thoughts on the future?
Eliason: I got involved as my wife called me up one day and asked me to play the part of a cop who comes in during the last five minutes of the show and yells at everybody.
I have worked in all aspects of theater. We each served a 3-year term on the Flowertown Players Board. I was then hired on as technical director for seasons 40, 41 and 42.
This season I designed the set for Next to Normal. I was hired during the run of “School of Rock” and produced “The Red Velvet Cake War,” “Crimes of the Heart, Seussical,” “The Musical Jr.” and “Hands on a Hardbody” as the new artistic director.
The next season has great opportunities for our local talent to shine and something for all ages. I’m looking forward to creating the worlds that our audiences can lose themselves in.
R: Courtney, an overview of the upcoming 44th Season of Flowertown Players?
B: It is quite diverse, leaning a little heavier on the comic side with shows like “A Doublewide,” “Texas Christmas,” “Over the River and Through the Woods,” and “Moon over Buffalo.”
We open with a fan favorite and extreme dance show, A “Chorus Line” directed by Flowertown vet, David McLaughlin (“Sweeney Todd,” “Bye, Bye Birdie”).
I’m thrilled to be bringing classic dramas like “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” to the stage, too. Our youth show, “Frozen Jr.,” will be a hit and I encourage all local talent to come out for the open audition in December.
R: Courtney, an overview of the upcoming fifth season of Flowertown Underground?
B: The Underground’s shows are adventurous. The intimacy of the black box studio plays on suspension in “Ghost Quartet” and the raw emotion in “Wit.”
Mary E. Regan, Columnist, is a Publicist with her ProPublicist consultancy. Story ideas? Email: Mary@ProPublicist.com
R: Courtney, how do you choose your directors and actors for each play?
B: We have a play reading committee that reviews yearly directorial applicants and works on choosing the best play and director combo.
We encourage anybody interested in directing to apply during our open call. We are always looking for more talent.
Positions such as stage managers, backstage crew, and lighting operators can email us with their interest. No experience is necessary, but they must be willing to learn and be a team player.
R: What special events are planned for this next season?
B: I can’t give anything away now, but I can say if you are a season member, we will be hosting exclusive Behind the Curtain events with actors and crew members for a one-of-a-kind experience. Season tickets are now on sale if you’re not a member as they are a great way to save up to 35 percent on your tickets, plus additional perks.
We see ourselves as a hub for artistic vitality so you can expect to see stand-up comedy and music events, and additional performing artist events throughout the year.