CHS theater program seeks immediate funds for spring musical
Mark Friedel Staff Reporter
The Claremore High School Fine Arts Department needs community support to raise money for this year’s spring musical production of South Pacific.
In order for the production to happen, the theater program needs $17,000 within the next nine days, said Ruiel Doonkeen, director of vocal music at Claremore High School.
Doonkeen said the idea is to keep ticket prices low, and due to a major increase in production costs, that is not possible without assistance from outside sources.
“We want to keep (ticket prices) under that $10 mark so that everyone can come see the performance. Usually when people pay to see a show at the PAC, they’re paying $45-65 per ticket, which is about the going rate if you go to see a show at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center downtown. We’re using the exact same instrumentalists that (Tulsa PAC) uses, and those people are union-paid so they require a certain fee per hour,” said Doonkeen.
“It gets really expensive per show and with weeks of rehearsal. Royalties for the music alone is roughly $4,000.”
In addition to musician costs, he said the set is more elaborate this year.
The fine arts department rents their drops, which is the part of the set that enhances the view of the stage.
Doonkeen said the fine arts department tries to break even on ticket sales every year and use those funds for the next spring performance, but every year ticket prices are going up, and their ticket sales are not. Now the music theater program is starting over from “ground zero.”
“I would like to keep prices the same as last year, and also have the community be aware of where that money is going,” said Doonkeen.
“It’s really going to the people that watch the show; they’re saving a bunch of money to come see a professional, organized show,” said Doonkeen.
Doonkeen has launched a “ickstarter” project, asking for backers from Claremore and beyond to pledge the remaining amount.
The project will only be funded if the remaining $17,000 is pledged by Oct. 20.
Doonkeen, students and teachers are asking for community support to help purchase costuming and provide royalty fees to Rogers and Hammerstein.
Money will also be utilized for set construction and scenic rental to make the show realistic, he said.
“We have fabulously talented and committed students in the cast and technical crew, but the show will only happen if the community wants it to happen,” said Doonkeen.
This year’s performance will be different from the past two years, dealing with more adult issues and offering more of a mysterious theme with darker music.
“South Pacific is a captivating story and the music is fantastic. There again is why we need to have the best players in the orchestra, and that’s what the audience can expect,” said Doonkeen.
“We have all spent countless hours on pre-production and are confident that this show will be enjoyed by fans of Rogers and Hammerstein.”
If the Kickstarter is a success, the production of South Pacific will be April 25-27 at the Robson Performing Arts Center.
For more information on the reward system for pledge amounts or to make a pledge, visit kickstarter.com and search “South Pacific.”