News Column

MTG planning 25th anniversary show

November 22, 2013

YellowBrix

Nov. 22--The Morehead Theatre Guild (MTG) has been entertaining audiences for 25 years.

Plans are in the works for an anniversary celebration that will highlight the group's past and get it ready for the future.

While the show is not until March 29, the planning has been ongoing.

Octavia Biggs is directing the show.

"We began planning this event several months ago, actually because with something this size it is important to realize it takes many hands to put it together," said Biggs.

With more than 80 shows produced in its 25 years, the MTG hopes to bring in former performers to reenact the shows they've been in, bring in members and contributors that have moved away, and invite the community that has helped keep them on stage.

Diana Reeder, president of the MTG, said that this is an important event and they want it to be as special as possible.

"We have made a lot of memories along the way, many wonderful friendships, like a family in many ways. We have celebrated with each other and cried with each other. There have been so many good shows," said Reeder. "There will be songs from many of our musicals performed -- hopefully, some by the original performers. We plan to have a review of our non-musical plays and hope that many of our performers come back to take part in this."

The two agree that the idea celebrates all of those that have contributed to the continuing success of the performing arts group.

"This celebration has much to offer in the same way a family reunion offers a chance for people you care about and do not get to see very often to gather and celebrate and remember the fun times we had as group," said Biggs. "Young people who were in the shows the first few years have grown up and some have moved away. They have a special piece of Morehead history within their hearts. I want to see their faces, their smiles, hear their laughter and share some tears."

The guild has had its ups like being endowed by the Lucille Caudill Little foundation, moving into the Rowan County Arts Center (RCAC), and innovative ideas and executions for individual shows.

But it also has had struggles, like not having a secure performance space until the RCAC and the loss of many members over the years. Plans are in the works to host a memorial segment for those who were a part of the MTG family that are no longer living.

With the concept of bringing back performers, planning which musical and non-musical vignettes will be performed, finding props and costumes, coordinating food, and creating an evening to remember, the guild has been hard at work.

They are asking any past members or performers that are interested in revisiting a role or interested in participating in the performance portion to contact Reeder through email at dianasdesk2002@yahoo.com. It is also important for the group to collect props and costumes to add to the collection already set aside for the show.

"The Morehead Theatre Guild has had an impact on my life and I am so grateful that a group of people, 25 years ago said, hey, what do you think about starting a community theatre? and someone said, YEAH! I think that is a great idea, let's do it," said Biggs.

May 11, 1990, saw the first performance for the MTG and the troupe has no intention of stopping.

The brochure for the event captures the history and passion best, "Over the years, our troupe has grown beyond anyone's wildest imagination. Close to a thousand different individuals have worked as actors, directors, designers, technicians, and musicians. In many ways, we have become a family. We have seen each other through the happiest and saddest of times. For our love of theatre, we have sustained sprained ankles, bad backs, dislocated jaws, glue-gun blisters, rope burns, black eyes, 'blue-lung' disease, and sleep deprivation. We have gone onstage with flu, pneumonia, the stomach virus, and even laryngitis! We have watched a whole generation grow up on our stage and then leave us -- only to find a second generation waiting in the wings! And through it all, we have shared one passion--that the play truly is 'the thing'!"

Shayla Menville can be reached at smenville@themoreheadnews.com or by telephone at 784-4116.

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(c)2013 The Morehead News (Morehead, Ky.)

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