Playing in public, community theater stages good time for all

The 4 Community Theatre group completes the run of its 19th production, Camelot, and takes a deserved bow. The group originated in Rockford 15 years ago, and remains a viable entertainment machine showcasing talented performers throughout the metropolitan area. (Photo by Linda Herkenhoff)

The 4 Community Theatre group completes the run of its 19th production, Camelot, and takes a deserved bow. The group originated in Rockford 15 years ago, and remains a viable entertainment machine showcasing talented performers throughout the metropolitan area. (Photo by Linda Herkenhoff)

“Movies will make you famous; Television will make you rich; But theatre will make you good.” (Terrence Mann)

The longtime Broadway actor and director could have added “and bring you joy,” but if you’ve attended community theater productions, that’s apparent. Aside from all the rehearsing and hard work, the long hours and performance anxiety, there is an element of true enjoyment that comes across from the actors and stage crew that immediately infects all within the sound of their lines and choruses.

4 Community Theatre (4CT) is a unique band of performers and theatre buffs who come from all across the metro area and hold varying levels of experience. Some veterans of this troupe got their start with 4CT, while others signed on with many productions under their belts and, in some cases, profession degrees relating to performing arts. Among all who participate, there is at least one common thread: They all love being part of a production and aim to make each one that theatergoers will enjoy and remember. So far, mission accomplished.

4CT is relatively young in theater years. It was born in 1998 in Rockford. Orono joined 4CT in 2003, and Mound/Westonka recently threw its hat into the spotlight. A board that oversees sponsorship by the Discovery Arts Council through Orono Community Education runs the organization.

The theater troupe has, in its 15 years, performed a wide scope of material from classics like Death of a Salesman and On Golden Pond, to popular musicals including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Music Man, Oklahoma and, most recently, Camelot.

4CT’s production of Camelot was delightful, well received and hit all the major musical notes. Songs were cued up without lag and performers delivered clearly worded, even sounding vocals without hesitation, while staying true to the Lerner and Lowe script, which chronicles a magical time with honor and humor. The costumes were colorful and authentic looking as were the sets and props, which were changed out smoothly between scenes. The main characters Arthur, Guenevere, Lancelot and Merlyn, were played well by actors Michael Sieg, Laura Smith, Ben Rowe and John Cornell, respectively.

The supporting cast was equally effective in promoting a well-flowing exchange of dialogue, song and movement including a comical breakout number by Morgan LeFey, played by Brianna Graner. Graner is a Rockford High School junior, while Sieg and Smith are recent RHS grads. Rowe is a 2011 Wayzata High School graduate. Cornell was involved in theater at Watertown High School decades ago, and has recently returned to the stage via 4CT.

Jack Neveaux directed the production, and had a long history with this company, acting and directing, as well as professional theater work in design and lighting with the Minnesota Opera Company, the Minneapolis Children’s Theater, the Chanhassen Dinner Theater and college theater programs including the University of California, Santa Cruz.

The vast range of ages, experience and musical abilities is telling. 4CT is community theater, and is true to its moniker. Members, all ages and entire families, are encouraged to audition. Although the next production had not been announced, there will be one, and a call will go out for anyone interested in being a part of it from “stage right” to behind the scenes. You may want to consider answering it.

“The art of acting consists in keeping people from coughing.” (Benjamin Franklin)

For more information on 4CT, including membership opportunities, upcoming plays and audition information, go to 4communitytheatre.org

up arrow