THE EXCITEMENT OF A NEW SHOW:
How SBMT’s musicals are selected
At the most recent SBMT membership meeting on August 27, Board member Walter Mayes explained to attendees the philosophy our play selection committee follows when choosing a slate of musicals each year to present to our subscribers. It’s a tricky balancing act, because if you ask people what musicals they want to see, they are likely to suggest the old chestnuts that have been around for half a century (e.g. My Fair Lady)—or at the other end of the spectrum, they may list shows that are still on Broadway and have not yet been released for amateur production (e.g. Wicked).
Faced with this dilemma, what’s a play selection committee to do?
The first titles we consider are the new shows that have been released in the past year, since it’s always exciting when we can be among the first to bring a new work fresh from Broadway. Our first show of the upcoming season, The Bridges of Madison County, is a great example of this, and SBMT jumped at the chance to present such a high-quality (Tony winning) show that gives our subscribers something they haven’t seen before.
Once we lay claim to such an “undiscovered gem” to add spice to the season, we look for an anchor show that is well known and beloved—but hopefully not overexposed here in the Bay Area. Finally, we search for a third show that will help us attract the most talented actors and volunteers. It’s an unfortunate fact of life in community theater that more women turn out for auditions than men, and yet most shows feature primarily male roles (e.g. 1776). So it’s always nice when we can find shows with a fair share of great parts for our wonderfully talented divas who love to perform for you.
Since The Bridges of Madison County opens in just one week, I did a little research to answer some of the frequently asked questions about this remarkable show.
Where are the bridges of Madison County?
Although there are counties named Madison in numerous states, this story takes place in Madison County, Iowa. The movie version, in fact, was partially filmed on location there in the town of Winterset. There are still six covered bridges standing there, which provides the raison d’être that brings the lead characters together.
Is The Bridges of Madison County based on a true story?
No. It’s a moving love story about a National Geographic photographer from Bellingham, Washington on assignment to create a photographic essay showcasing the historic covered bridges of Madison County. He meets a housewife whose husband and children are away on a trip. A romantic relationship blossoms that is never sordid, but rather one of “two soul mates who have met too late.” The novel is presented as a novelization of a true story, but it is in fact entirely fictional.
Why are the bridges of Madison County covered?
The bridges were covered to protect the roadway, because it was cheaper to replace the boards of the roof and walls, than the heavy beams of the actual bridge.
How do I get tickets?
Tickets for the entire season—or for this show only—are on sale now either online or by telephone. Go to southbaymt.com to pick your own seats, or call 408-266-4734. The phone is usually answered between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., but you can leave a voicemail 24 hours a day and we will get back to you promptly.
Seductive and romantic. The palpable chemistry between Robert Kincaid (Chris Janssen) and Francesca Johnson (Alicia Teeter) reaches a fevered pitch in the musical version of The Bridges of Madison County, playing September 23 through October 14 at the Saratoga Civic Theater. Don’t miss this fresh-from-Broadway masterpiece. Call for tickets today: 408-266-4734 or visit our website! See you at the theater.