More stages available for local theater talent

July 15, 2018

With new theater companies springing up every year or so, former volunteer actors, musicians and technicians who say they won’t return to Rochester Civic Theatre have more options than ever to satisfy their performance bug.

And there’s one theater that will likely attract more than its share of talent, even though it isn’t in operation yet: The Greg Miller Project. That venture, to be run by the former artistic director at Rochester Civic Theatre, is scheduled to open later this year. It will be located in the former Whiskey Bones building on the north edge of Rochester.

“If Greg’s thing gets up and running, I could see a lot of people going over there,” said Warren Bandel, who played in pit orchestras at the Civic for 37 years.

“If Greg gets rolling, you can be assured I’ll be there,” said Jerry Casper, director of theater at Rochester Community & Technical College, who has acted in several shows at the Civic. “That’s where I’ll spend my time.”

There has always been a sharing of talent locally, with actors, for example, appearing at two or three theaters in the same season. That will likely continue, given the number of opportunities now available.

Here’s a look at other theater companies currently operating in the area:

Absolute Theatre begins its third season this fall. Performances are in the black box studio theater at Rochester Civic Theatre.

In Heart Theatre presents one or two productions a year, usually in “found” performance space, such as the second-floor rehearsal room at the Rochester Repertory Theatre.

• Rochester Repertory Theatre will launch its 35th season in September, making it the second-longest active theater group in the city.

Mantorville Theatre Company presents the summer melodrama season, as well as more traditional productions during the rest of the year, all at the historic Mantorville Opera House.

Wits’ End Theatre in Chatfield performs in the refurbished Potter Auditorium. The company’s annual Western Days musical is just around the corner.

Stewartville Community Theatre traditionally presents full-scale productions in summer and winter at the Stewartville Performing Arts Center.

Once and Future Classics produces plays based on classics of literature and the theater.

• The various offshoots of Words Players include Minnesota SkyVault Theatre Company. Local performances have been sporadic since the company lost its former building, but the troupe is still active.

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