A newly-formed community theater company in Grantsville will launch its first production this week.
The Grantsville Performing Arts Council will open its production of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” on Thursday at the J. Reuben Clark Farm, and in doing so will unveil its vision for the future to the community.
“I think it’s a true community venture,” said Matt Price, one of the arts council’s directors and the director for the “Seven Brides” production. “It’s run strictly on a volunteer basis and for the benefit of the community.”
Price said the council chose “Seven Brides” for its first production because of the musical’s popularity with the local community, and because of its potential for large, high-energy dance productions — an inclusion other members of the council specifically requested.
“We had a whole list of shows that we tried to narrow down, that the community appreciates and that people would be willing to work hard on,” he said. “But the fact that [”Seven Brides”] is well-known, the fact that it’s a community favorite, and the fact that it does have those big production numbers make it an easy choice for our first production.”
“Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” is a two-act musical based on the 1954 film of the same name. It follows the misadventures of Adam (played by Price), the oldest of seven brothers who live alone on a farm miles outside the nearest town in rural Oregon.
Adam comes up with the idea that he ought to find a woman to help him run his all-male household, so he heads to town and meets Milly (played by West Valley resident Misti Smith), a waitress at the town restaurant. He proposes almost immediately, and she accepts and returns with him to his home — and all six of his disorderly brothers. Hoping to reform them, Milly teaches the brothers to dance and takes them back into town for a party. There all six brothers meet and begin courting their own crushes, but a fight breaks out when the brothers discover all six girls already have suitors.
Inspired by Adam’s story-telling, the brothers make a plan to return to town and kidnap all six girls — which of course infuriates the girls, and the entire town. Milly herself banishes the boys from the house, forcing the men to live out the winter in the barn. The situation worsens that spring when an angry mob from the town arrives at the farm, but then an unexpected announcement brings Adam home a changed man.
The story should be familiar to those who have seen the film, or previous production of the play, which last made an appearance in Tooele in 2007, Price said. The Grantsville production, however, will feature a slightly different version with a couple of new songs and some added content from the original movie.
The entire 35-person cast consists of volunteers, mostly local actors, and an all-volunteer production staff, Price said.
“We have a full lighting and sound crew, some with experience,” he said. “But everybody is willing to work, and that’s the important thing.”
The production staff has been busy building a series of temporary stages and platforms to be installed at the J. Reuben Clark Farm for the performances. The performance will also make use of the Clark Farm’s historic setting, using some of the farm’s usual features as scenery.
“The big dance numbers take place on the grass right in front of the audience,” Price said, “to try to keep things intimate and to try to keep the audience involved.”
After this Thursday’s opening night, the play will run August 7–11, with the exception of Sunday. All performances start at 7:30 p.m., and the gates at the Clark Farm will open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $8 for adults, $6 for children and seniors, and should be purchased at the gate the night of the performance.
Additionally, Price said the audience will need to bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating.