Arkansas Public Theatre leaders revealed their Season 38 at the annual SeasonLeaks! on Jan. 20 at the Victory Theater in Rogers. The season will be abbreviated as the theater group and the city of Rogers are partnering to restore the nearly 100-year-old theater with an expansion of seating, and it will be closed down August 2023 to January 2024.
Jeff Dunn, APT Board chairman, told Leaks! guests,: "When the theater is full of people, it vibrates. When you're in here, it's like a battery. It's giving energy to everyone who's in here. This partnership with the city is going to let us let more people experience that more often. The more times we can have the lights on and the place full is going to be great for everybody."
Rogers Mayor Greg Hines told those gathered that since its beginning, the Victory "has been a convening space where all can come together. Whether it be from when it was a movie theater to when new life was brought in when APT took over. Then the city acquired the property and in an arrangement with APT has continued to support those arts. The transformation we're going to see here over a short period of time again opens and redefines what it means -- what this space means -- to our entire community [and] is going to expose so many people on so many levels so much more often. And that is what ultimately leads to all our future success -- from APT's future success to the city's commitment to bringing in arts and culture as a matter of public policy and not relying on organizations such as yourself to fulfill that need in the community."
Arkansas Public Theatre's Season 38 offers:
• "Into the Woods" (winter 2024);
• "Rent" (spring 2024); and
• "Kinky Boots" (summer 2024).
The evening was also an opportunity to welcome the new slate of APT Board members and laud exceptional patrons and volunteers.
Board members for 2023 are Rusty Turner, chairman; Ron Sasine, vice chairman; Joe March, treasurer; Debbie Alsup, secretary; Ed McClure, artistic director; Jim LeFevre, facilities chairman; Alix Barrett; Amy Harris; Amy Johnson; and Farris Bergant.
Annual awards were presented to:
• Sponsor of the Year -- Landmark CPAs;
• Board Member of the Year -- Joe March;
• Front-of-House Volunteers of the Year -- Bob and Terry Bland; and
• Production Volunteer of the Year -- Sara Patterson Craighead.
Staff members were recognized on stage with a special honor going to part-time staff member Karen Maxwell for her 800 volunteer hours over the last three years beyond time as a paid employee.
Memberships and sponsorships -- including Ghost Light memberships -- are now available for Season 38.
"There is a tradition in the theater world of keeping on a ghost light," explains Sarah Oakley, director of communications for APT. "This light is left on the stage when the theater is unoccupied and would normally be completely dark. APT is asking for those who are willing and able to purchase the Restoration Ghost Light Membership package. These will be the same prices as the Season 37 packages members are currently enjoying to help keep the organization running smoothly [and] will help sustain APT until the 2024 season begins."
Information about the sponsorship packages is available at arkansaspublictheatre.org or by calling (479) 631-8988.
For more event photos -- nwadg.com/photos/society.
Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at [email protected]
At a Glance
Who: Arkansas Public Theatre
What: The community theater troupe announced its upcoming 38th season of shows.
When: Jan. 20
Where: The Victory Theater in Rogers
Next: “Little Shop of Horrors,” a musical by Howard Ashman, is onstage Feb. 10-12, 16-19 and 23-26.
Information: (479) 631-8988 or [email protected]