Members of the all-volunteer Sterling Playmakers, several of whom were busily labeling the organization’s bulk mail before Monday’s rehearsal, have always been in it for the love. But more than the love of theater will be in the air at the company’s February performance of "Valentine Follies."
In honor of Valentine’s Day, which the one-weekend-only show precedes by a few days, the Playmakers will present a musical revue that producer Deb Bartram said explores all aspects of love, "from funny to romantic, to sorrowful." All of the songs come from Broadway plays, she said, including hits "as well as a few misses."
ALONGSIDE STANDARDS from shows like "Oklahoma," "A West Side Story" and "Les Miserables," audiences will hear tunes from lesser-knowns, such as "Chess" and "Parade," said Bartram’s husband, Glen, who is the show’s director.
"We don’t normally do husband-and-wife productions," Deb Bartram said smiling, adding that such arrangements can prove problematic.
Two emcees, scripted by Glen Bartram, will narrate in between songs. A dessert reception will follow the show.
Between its three major productions each year, said Deb Bartram, the company puts on smaller acts, such as murder mysteries, the upcoming "Shakespeare in the Park," or "follies" such as this. "Every couple of years, we try to get back to doing a show like this," she said.
The Playmakers’ last "Valentine Follies" was in 2001. "It got a very good reception the last time we did it," said Glen Bartram, noting that the earlier production had been a mix of song, skits and poetry. The coming show, he said, would stick to his background in musical theater.
He said some of the songs in the show were his personal favorites, such as "Seasons of Love," from the musical "Rent," while others were suggested by cast members. "I think that gives a stronger feeling, if people really have that attachment to the music they’re singing," said Glen Bartram.
TOSIA SHALL, who has been with the company since 2001, said she was especially looking forward to her solo performance of a tune from "Songs for a New World, called "Stars and the Moon," which tells the story of a woman who thought she knew what she wanted until she got it. Shall said she was also excited to have a couple of new people on board. "They’re fantastic and it’s fun to have this infusion of new folks into the group."
Joining the show for her first performance since the seventh grade will be Brittany Washington, who was convinced to audition after her sister participated in a tutorial by the Playmakers’ sister organization, The Sterling Swordplayers. "I was actually really surprised when they called me back and asked me to be part of the production," said Washington. "It’s really exciting, just knowing opening night is coming, because it’s been so long since I’ve been able to do something like this."
Glen Bartram said he expected the Valentine’s Day theme, as well as the reception, to bring audiences out to the show. "Get out for a great night of music with your sweetie," he said. "I’m also hoping the Playmakers’ reputation will drive people’s interest in the show."