TBT welcomes spring season core company

Although Thunder Bay Theatre welcomes its spring core company next week, only three of the 12 company members are fresh faces to Alpena audiences.

“It’s exciting because only three are new people,” said TBT Artistic Director Jeffrey Mindock. “Everyone else is returning.”

Mindock appreciates being able to bring back not only former design team members, but also performers who the community has grown comfortable with from watching them act in multiple productions during seasons past. Among those coming back to perform in TBT’s touring children’s production, “3 Billy Goats Gruff,” and the mainstage musical revue, “A Grand Night for Singing,” are Michael Cleary and Erica Werner.

Joining the two returnees on stage for “A Grand Night for Singing” are newcomers Hailey Aviva, Corey Moore and Emily Samuelson.

“We’re bringing back the entire design team and two actors who have already been on the TBT stage,” Mindock said. “That speaks not just to the work we do here as an organization and the opportunity given them, but also about how supportive the community has been.”

He said several area businesses routinely give his company members discounts, while other supporters in the community stop by the theater with baked goods and other gifts of food. People treat them here like family, he said, so it’s just as much the people of Alpena who factor into their wanting to return as it is the theater itself.

According to Mindock, his arrangement with several of the design team member is such that they do their part primarily from a distance. That includes scenic designer Jack Golden, who works out of the Washington, D. C. area. Golden comes up with the concept for sets based on input from TBT’s design team. His concepts are then built on site in Alpena by others at the theater.

TBT also is bringing in David Delano as music director for “A Grand Night for Singing.” Delano has been busy making tracks for the show that features the best loved songs from the extensive canon of Rodgers and Hammerstein. This musical revue opened in 1994 on Broadway and earned two Tony nominations, including for Best Musical.

The theater starts the spring season off March 2-12 with the children’s show, “The Jungle Book.” “A Grand Night for Singing” plays March 24-April 9. Along with these two performances, TBT will be taking “3 Billy Goat’s Gruff” out on the road as a touring production from April 10-23.