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Answer Man: Rochester Civic Theatre adds shows, grumps a parent or two

November 30, 2018

Shea Morrey plays Annie and Mark Morrey plays Daddy Warbucks in Rochester Civic Theatre’s production of “Annie.”

Dear Answer Man: Rochester Civic Theatre did not get all parents’ permission before adding its two extra shows.

The cast has to pay for their own “Annie” cast T-shirts at $14 to $24 a pop. The volunteer actors should be thanked, not charged for earning this institution ticket sales for two extra shows.

Does the theater have policies regarding its youth actors? — Disheartened & Disappointed.

Dear Disheartened: Yes, it does, says Rochester Civic Theatre Executive Director Kevin Miller, who adds that the two extra shows would not have been added if not for the enthusiastic and unanimous backing of cast, crew and parents.

“We took it to the whole crew and parents. They were to give us feedback. And there was zero dissent,” Miller said.

The musical “Annie,” which opens Friday, sold out three weeks ago. That’s when discussions began about scheduling two more shows to the 11-show run. Miller says he was not at first keen on the idea.

In fact, crew members were eager to do a third added show, but Miller said he opposed that idea.

“I’m on the record as saying that we’re not going to add any shows, because it’s Christmas. I’m a parent. I get it,” Miller said.

But Miller said the strong support they heard from cast and parents outweighed his original misgivings about extending the run. And when Miller announced the decision, the cast and crew “lost their minds.”

“They were thrilled. They were screaming when we made the announcement,” Miller said about adding the two shows.

The added shows will run Dec. 8 and Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. The first show sold out in 17 hours. And the second one sold out in 47 minutes.

Miller said he understands that there might be a parent or two opposed to the idea but chose not to speak out for fear of being in the minority.

As far as the T-shirt issue, Miller was taken aback by the complaint. He points out that ticket sales cover about 45 percent of the cost associated with the production. It’s hardly fair to kick him in the shin for not handing out free keepsake T-shirts.

“We’re really proud of what we’re about to put on. It’s the biggest we’ve ever done. It’s bigger than “Shrek.” So this is a great experience for the kids,” Miller said. “Right now, it’s all we can do to get these shows up at a high level, and now I have to be the T-shirt man, too.”

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