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Woodland Opera House

By Kelly Newsom | Photos by Killion Newsom

Mary Poppins takes the Woodland Opera House (WOH) Mainstage tonight at 7:00pm.  The musical, presented by the Woodland Opera House Guild, runs through August 30th.  VisitWoodland had a chance to sit down with the WOH’s Executive Director Angela Baltezore for an inside look at the musical and the Opera House.

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HOW WAS MARY POPPINS SELECTED

Show selection is determined by several variables including cost of the production, what would interest the community, and whether or not the production will look right on the WOH’s proscenium stage.  (The proscenium of a theater stage is a structure in front of the stage that frames the action of the play. It can be square or arched, and the stage curtain is generally directly behind it.)  Mary Poppins is a fan favorite and fit all the criteria Angela and the Board of Trustees had.  The WOH purchased the rights to the play, which has very strict criteria of it’s own.  The main requirement is that the script cannot be altered in anyway.  However, WOH can take some liberties with set design, use of props and costumes.  It is within these liberties that WOH can fit the project within their budget.

WOH

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COORDINATION IS KEY

Mary Poppins is not the only show that is in the works.  While Mary Poppins rehearses on the mainstage, the children’s play Into The Woods (opening September 19th) rehearses at the WOH’s second stage on 4th street.  But it doesn’t end there!  Once Mary Poppins opens, Into the Wood’s rehearsals move to the mainstage Monday – Thursday nights and the WOH’s production of Steel Magnolias (opening October 6th) begins rehearsal at the 2nd stage.  This process of coordination will continue through the entire season.

BEST KEPT SECRETS

Although Angela says people always want to hear about ghost stories, she feels the best secret about the WOH is the fact that for almost 60 years the building was boarded up and not used – in essence keeping the structure safe from demolition.  Closed in 1913 the WOH was not reopened until the 1970’s.  At that time major renovations were completed and performances began.  In fact, while in high school Angela performed at WOH in 1975.  She’s come full circle so to say; 14 years as Educational Director and the last 18 months as Executive Director.

Another thing you may not know is that everyone who works at WOH are volunteers.  The production of Mary Poppins alone takes the hard work of almost 60 volunteers.  The cast and crew all have regular day jobs and then rehearse from 6:00 pm until 11:00 pm, sometimes later.

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COME VISIT

There are several ways you can see the Woodland Opera House.

  • Tours are given each Tuesday from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
  • Audition for a performance.  Angela encourages anyone who is interested to audition.
  • There is a production for everyone’s tastes.  Check out the WOH website to see what they offer our community here

Visit them soon!

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