Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Fairfield Arts and Convention Center

One of my biggest sources of pride in Fairfield is our new facility, the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center. It's the home of the Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts. I'm a member of it's resident touring company, The Encore Players, which is the first professional touring musical theatre company in Iowa.

This picture is one of our publicity shots from our second show called Celebrate Sondheim. It's a revue of Stephen Sondheim songs and was created to not only entertain, but to help people understand who Stephen Sondheim is and how he has changed musical theatre. We performed this show in the Pavilion side of our facility because our theatre wasn't finished yet. We're really blessed to have our theatre named for such a genius.

The first Encore Players show happened before we even had a building at all. We performed Musical of Musicals, the Musical! in two different Fairfield locations. We also toured all over southeast Iowa. We were the fourth company to ever do this show, and we were honored to host its creators from New York during our opening weekends. Ours was the first production of the show that did not directly involve them, so they were very excited to see how another company would interpret their work.

After Celebrate Sondheim, I was lucky enough to be cast in a workshop production of the new musical, Happy Hour! by George Furth and Doug Katsaros. They came to Fairfield to workshop the show with us before it heads to New York. I don't think I've ever had such an amazing theatre experience. We learned the show in 2 1/2 weeks, and we had changes to make in the script and music after every rehearsal and performance. It was intense and FUN! I think I really grew during the process. And, it was so cool working with George and Doug!

All these experiences took place before the Sondheim Center even opened. I'll have to write more about the Opening Gala later, but we just finished our first self-produced event... a production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum starring Richard Kind! It was a smash, and even though I wasn't on stage for this one, I was so proud! Being in our space, you'd honestly swear you were in Chicago or Minneapolis, or dare I say... New York!

I've been a board member for the Center for two years, and I've learned so much. During my first meeting, I really thought I had made a mistake. I didn't understand anything they were talking about, and it took me 2 hours to figure out that HVAC meant "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning!" Now that the facility is built and running, I'm feeling much more at home and much more useful. I'm chair of the programming committee. That committee is in charge of planning the Presents series... all the performances that will present in our space that aren't part of the Broadway season. Check out the Center's website at Also, if you're a supporter of the arts (and the arts always need to be SUPPORTED... they are almost never self-funding), I'd love for you to become a supporter of the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center. Comment here to ask me how!


  1. Sorry to be inarticulate guy, but wow.

  2. i love are theatre! I am so excited about Godspell!


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