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‘Pippin’ opens Friday at high school auditorium

Special to The PREVIEW

IMG_0147The curtain will go up tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium for the opening night of “Pippin,” presented by Curtains Up, Pagosa! Tickets are $15 (adults), $12 (seniors 65-plus), and $10 for students. The play is rated PG for language and adult content.

Curtains Up, Pagosa! production director Dale Morris, and music director Sally Neel, are CUP veterans who lend their expertise to bring this volunteer cast to amazing levels of excellence.

“I love working with Sally,” said Morris. “Sally understands the detailed work that must go into preparing such a complex musical score. She and I have a wonderful working relationship and a very special friendship. We read each other well… we know what is needed and work together as a team to help our actors achieve their best performances. Sally brings her humor and her talent to each rehearsal, inspiring our actors and our pit orchestra to reach new levels of musicality and competency.”

“In spite of our directors, a production of this size and nature would not be possible without a large and very competent volunteer corps,” said CUP’s board president, Bill Stine. “Curtains Up, Pagosa! is a completely non-profit, volunteer organization and relies heavily on those people behind the scenes who are sewing and managing costumes, styling hair and applying makeup, designing and building sets, selling tickets and concessions, running the lights and sound, selling program ads, and helping with publicity. The amount of work that goes into productions such as ‘Pippin’ is mind-boggling, but is a sure representation of the wonderful spirit that inhabits Pagosa Springs.”

Though the cast and orchestra is completely volunteer, that is not to say that there are not a number of professional-quality actors and musicians in the mix.

“We are so fortunate to have such highly qualified, talented people to work with,” said Morris. “The singing, dancing, and acting are over the top for a community based organization such as ours. Two of our leads, Robert Neel and Max Miller, are CUP scholarship winners who are currently majoring in musical theater in college. Our King Charlemagne, played by Keith Paulson, is a professionally trained singer, as is Darcy DeGuise, who plays Fastrada. The dancers are beautiful to watch as well. To top it off, how many community theater groups can boast a live volunteer pit orchestra? I think our audiences will be truly amazed and pleased by the professional caliber of our performances.”

Proceeds from this production provide scholarships for selected students majoring in the arts and providing needed, unbudgeted equipment for the arts departments in our public schools. Originally called Music Boosters, Curtains Up, Pagosa! has been a part of the Pagosa Springs arts community for the past 24 years, mentoring youth in the arts, helping to promote the arts in our schools, and providing high-quality entertainment to the public.

“We hope to have large audiences every night,” said Stine. “The community support we receive, in terms of volunteer work, audience members and extra financial contributions, has an immediate and important impact on our mission. The number of young people and adults who have benefited from Curtains Up, Pagosa! over the past 24 years is more than any of us could ever imagine. Without the support from our local citizens, we could not possibly bring this kind of entertainment to fruition. I think everyone will be genuinely impressed by the talent, hard work and commitment our artists bring to the stage.”

This story was posted on June 27, 2013.