It is such a joy to be involved in the process of bringing this new work, Banjo Boy, to the stage at the Sondheim Center. As rehearsal unfolds, the hands of creation have added a new song and even a new insight into what this production is about. I received an email from the composer and playwright of Banjo Boy, Randy Hobler, passing this latest insight on to me: “Banjo Boy is Meredith Willson’s wishbook. He had three unfulfilled wishes in his life, and in this musical his life is relived and those wishes are fulfilled.”
Another piece that has surfaced in this portrayal of 1950s America is Meredith Willson’s view regarding ethnicity. He was clearly a man who welcomed all humans as equals, regardless of the color of their skin.
I wish I could effectively express what it is like to participate in this truly artistic process and how special it is to have it in our own lively town. I’m in direct contact with the artists as their work evolves and, as Marketing Director, I’m charged with being their voice until their art can be directly experienced by the public. I witness the artistic process as the actors sink into their characters and own the songs, as the set is built and the illusion becomes flesh and bone—it’s pretty fantastic.
Lastly, because it is a brand new work, if you come to the show the first Saturday, you may see a different show on stage on the second weekend. Things are morphing and changing, and the audience will be the gauge in determining the final product . . . so come, participate, and we shall see you at the theater!
Banjo Boy opens Friday, August 8th, and runs two weekends through the 17th. Please contact the box office for ticket information 641.472.ARTS (2787) or www.iowatix.com