Winters Theatre Company presents virtual production of Robin Hood

The Winters Theatre Company cast of Robin Hood, The Musical Top row (L-R) Cameron Toney, Robert Williams, Bridget O’Flaherty. Middle Row (L-R) Jennifer Rutherford, Morgan Curtis, Elizabeth Williams. Bottom Row (L-R) Alexis Valasquez, Sarah Pattison, Jason Williams.

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The Winters Theatre Company is proud to present Robin Hood, The Musical, viewable on demand on the WTC website (www.winterstheatre.org), beginning at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, through Sunday, Nov 14.

This free virtual presentation originally was planned to be the annual May dinner show to be held at the Palms in Winters. Back in January 2020, director Linda Glick, a founding member of WTC, was told about a Robin Hood production which had been mounted in 1977, by the Bad Actors at the old Palms Playhouse when in Davis. The script had been written by Bill Malone. It too was a musical and many of the lyrics had been written by Winters’ own Bruce Guelden and a Palms friend, Dick Shire.

Glick couldn’t locate their script, but Guelden found an old cassette tape of a KDVS interview with Malone. The story was re-told in the interview, and many of the clever song lyrics were performed.

Glick was inspired. But still she had no script and she wanted a new telling of the tale. She recruited local resident historian and Robin Hood aficionado, Germaine Hupe, to write the script. Sarah Pattison, who loves to write parody, came on board to help write more songs.

The three of them had rollicking creative meetings as they envisioned what could be produced with a live show with a large cast.

But in mid-March, the world changed. WTC’s production of The Miracle Worker was set to open, and on opening night the show could not go on. Broadway and all live theaters had gone dark. And so did WTC.

WTC was now in the world of COVID-19, adhering to CDC guidelines to keep the public safe.

So stuck at home during the pandemic, many professional and local amateur theater companies were finding ways to put on their shows on the internet while staying safe at home. WTC began to rewrite the script for Zoom. All the songs needed to be converted to solos. Zoom makes group singing next to impossible. WTC expert accompanist Marcia Freedman was crucial to this process.

Zoom auditions were held. With a talented cast in place, rehearsals began via Zoom. They were as much fun as in a live show, that is, once everyone learned where their mute and video buttons were located. Social distancing guidelines were practiced, so everyone was in their own home. That created some technical challenges, since everyone had various levels of internet capability.

Cast members created their own Robin Hood world of props, makeup, backdrops, and costumes. When Glick pressed “record,” it was as exciting as a live show.

Through the magic of their patient and gifted editor, Mark Wilson, WTC now has a wonderful, original Robin Hood story to tell. A musical story. It will be on the WTC virtual stage at www.winterstheatre.org, starting Oct. 24. Visit the website for more information and learn how to make a donation to keep local theatre alive and safe during the pandemic.

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