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JRT director excited to get new season of plays rolling

At the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre on Main Street, Artistic Director Christy Vance is more than a little excited.
True, in her previous role as JRT’s interim artistic director, Vance has already experienced her share of opening nights and curtain calls.
But this season, she said, is different.
“I get to be here from the beginning,” she said. “And it’s going to be amazing.”
Kicking off in September with “Hairspray” and ending in July 2013 with the ever-popular “1940s USO Show,” JRT productions for the new season offer something for just about everyone.
“Jonesborough Repertory Theatre is a community theater, and our main goal is in giving the community what it wants and what it needs,” Vance said. “We also want to always offer quality productions with something of a positive message.”
The process to do all this takes time. And Vance is delighted to have been involved in every step of the way.
Vance felt fairly comfortable stepping in as interim artistic director in November of last year after the season had already begun — planning to fill the role until JRT’s new artistic director arrived.
That meant, of course, that much of the preparations for the season had already been done.
When the new artistic director had to decline the job offer due to health issues, Vance was given the role on a permanent basis. That meant being able to be part of it all.
“I’m especially excited to be part of the play-selection process this year,” Vance said.
The process begins, she said, with lots of reading. Through the JRT play-selection committee, works are perused and recommended. The committee tries not only to provide the best for Jonesborough, Vance said, but also to include a variety — from musicals to family productions to drama.
Once a collection of plays is selected, JRT must then apply for the rights to produce each play. If a selected play is not available, they choose another until the final list is complete.
From there, it’s on to director selection, then casting calls for actors to appear in the plays.
“Anyone can audition,” Vance said. “We tend to have a mixture of first-timers with many who have been acting their whole lives.”
The 2012-2013 season includes:
• Hairspray, Sept. 7-23
“This musical is very popular,” Vance said. “We’re doing auditions the second week of July.”
• The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Oct. 26 – Nov 4
“The perfect Halloween play, this one features just three actors playing every role in the show,” Vance said.
• It’s A Wonderful Life, Nov. 28 – Dec. 16
Vance will be directing this holiday classic.
• A Grand Night for Singing, Feb. 7-17, 2013
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, this fun musical will also be included in the annual “Valentine’s Dinner and a Show” package.
• The Hobbit, March 15-31, 2013
“The movie is opening next year, so we thought there might be additional interest,” Vance said.
• Voice of the Prairie, May 3-19, 2013
Not as well-known as some other dramas, this production is set on the prairie during the time radio was big. “It’s really about family relationships and love,” Vance said.
• 1940s USO Show, June 27 – July 7, 2013
Rounding out the season, Jonesborough’s favorite returns again with a little different spin and new songs to keep it fresh, Vance said.
While Vance’s obvious enthusiasm for JRT’s upcoming season knows no bounds, it’s really the community itself that continues to thrill her.
“This theater is a special thing,” Vance said. “It’s very supported by the town and the community. It offers high quality talent, from directors to actors, and it’s right next door.”
Vance encourages everyone to make the new season, their season.
Would-be thespians should certainly consider trying out for one of the plays, Vance said. Those who prefer to be in front of, rather than behind the stage, can provide every bit as much support by playing a part in the audience.
“This really is a season you don’t want to miss,” Vance said.
For more information about the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre, visit www.jonesboroughtheatre.com or call 791-4440. For questions about buying season tickets or individual tickets, call 753-1010.
— Lisa Whaley is a free-lance writer contracted by the Town of Jonesborough to write “Talk of the Town.” Have a suggestion for a topic for the column? Call Town Hall at 753-1031 or email [email protected]