Lynn Elkin has been stage managing their productions since 2000 and will be directing this year’s show.
“Ptarmigan Ptheatrics has been around since the early 1990’s, and our mandate is to provide musical theatre in Yellowknife,” Elkin says. “Generally we do one musical a year, and we do it in the spring.”
Each year they try to put on a show that’s a little bit different than the year before she says.
“Something that involves people from different age groups, that has a nice balance of parts,” says Elkin.
“For example, in Mamma Mia, there really are 12 people that have larger roles, and so that gives lots of people a chance to showcase talent. But we like to do shows that aren’t just a small cast, but that have lots of room for other people to come and be part of the village and the dancers and the fishermen. And so Mamma Mia really fit that bill for us. The music is so fun, lots of room for great harmonies in the music, lots of room for dance and movement for those where that’s their strength or their interest, room for characters of all ages and room for lots of people.”
A musical production with a nice-sized cast is something they’re always looking for, she says.
“And Mamma Mia is going to need a cast of people from all different ages, all different genders and different backgrounds, that have sort of ended up on this island in Greece,” says Elkin.
But in the last few years, they haven’t had a lot of new people coming out for auditions she says.
“We haven’t had a lot of young men coming out in the last few years for auditions,” Elkin says.
“I’m just not sure that they know that musical theatre can be a ton of fun. Some years we’ve had groups of friends come out and be part of our shows, and they tend to stick with us for quite a few years once they get into it and show much fun it is. We would love to see some new faces. If it’s not for you, it’s not for you, but you really should come and try it once.”
So this year they’re trying something different attract some interest early on and let people see what it’s all about before they make any commitments, she says.
“So later this month, we are going to be doing some introductory sessions. They are for people who have not done a Ptarmigan show before, they’ll be about an hour and a half long, and we’ll book people in. These are not a drop-in, you book a session and come, and we’ll just cover a little bit of what musical theatre is all about.”
The sessions will be very active and will include a chance for participants to learn about singing, movement and dance, and theatre games.
“And of course, if people want to move on to the next part of the process, helping them understand what the commitment is,” she says.
Rehearsals for the musical don’t start until February but once they do, it’s a fairly significant, two day a week minimum rehearsal practice until the end of April.
“So that’s what we want to do, is give people who might be new, or who’ve never thought of it but like to sing in the shower or tap their toes along to music when they’re sitting in the park and somebody’s playing. We’d love to have them come out and give this a try.”
The introductory sessions will start in the third week of September.
Ptarmigan Ptheatrics will have more information about the sessions at the upcoming community showcase, as well as via their Facebook page and website.
Their production of Mamma Mia will be held at the Northern Arts Cultural Centre (NACC) in late April or early May 2019.