By Gail Hayes
Special to the Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE —
Community Theatre of Terre Haute closes its season with another musical, “Taking My Turn.” It was conceived and adapted by Robert H. Livingston, with music by Gary William Friedman and lyrics by Will Holt. “Taking My Turn” won the 1984 Outer Critic’s Circle Award for Best Lyrics/Music and was a nominee for Drama Desk for Best Musical. The musical plays this Friday through Sunday as well as May 16-18.
“Taking My Turn” was one of the first musicals to deal with aging, and the spoken words were collected from interviews with people in their prime. The musical’s defiant theme is “Fine for the Shape I’m In.”
Veteran Community Theatre director and actor Mark Frederick is the director of the production. David Gibbs is music director, Ted Compton is assistant director and Jean Shutt is producer. “The characters in this show are not caricatures,” Frederick offered. “They are real people. The ability to identify with the audience is very strong.”
Through dialogue and song, the eight characters take the audience on an emotional roller coaster as they live through a year of ups and downs that have to do with getting older, losing loved ones, regretting past decisions and boldly going on with life. “You can’t walk out of this show without feeling a celebration of real life. It’s not an omen to the end but a celebration,” Frederick added
Audiences of all ages will get something from the musical. “You don’t have to be old to appreciate this show,” Compton said.
The show includes a cast of four men and four women. Karen Walker plays Edna, a music teacher who is just overcoming her timidity, daring to accept the romance and adventure that life promises. Interestingly enough, Walker played the same role on the Community Theatre stage in 1991. “The part means more now since I’m closer to the age being depicted,” Walker said. She is also giving music lessons in real life now that she has retired from her career in the library. “There’s a lot of great energy in this show from eight strong voices,” she added. Walker particularly likes the idea of one of the song’s lines: “If old is part of another country, who drew the boundary line?” In other words, people of all ages are relevant.
A newcomer to the Community Theatre stage, John D. Wright, plays Eric, a would-be writer who has traveled the world and is a philosopher-poet of sorts. Wright’s mother was in two plays at Community Theatre in the 1980s, and Wright has long considered auditioning for a show. A musical appealed to him, and the timing was right to give it a try. “I’ve loved to sing since I was a kid,” Wright said. “I love the songs of this show. Both the music and dialogue are engaging.”
Another newcomer, Shannon Orman, has been driving up from Sullivan for rehearsals. She plays Janet, a widow of two years who is a recluse at first, afraid to re-enter life on her own. Orman has really enjoyed the experience of preparing for the show. “I love watching the transformation of Janet. She is depressed at first but starts to come out of her shell. You can really connect as she goes through her aches and pains.”
Rounding out the cast are Denise Collins, Marcia Lane-McGee, Doug Lunn, Mick Mack and Jason Shingleton.
The ticket office is open this week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as well as one hour before show time. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and youth. Friday and Saturday performances are at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2:30. The theater is at 25th and Washington. Learn more at www.ctth.org or call 812-232-7172.
Exhibit mirrors play’s theme
The traveling photo exhibit “Aging in the Wabash Valley,” on loan from Indiana State University’s College of Nursing, Health and Human Services Department of Applied Health Sciences, is on display through May 29 in Community Theatre. Eight of the 17 photos in the permanent exhibit at ISU are featured.