The chance to catch nationally acclaimed actors in the valley doesn't come that often, so mark your calenders for May 7-8.
"Broadway in the Bitterroot," a musical featuring Broadway stars Tom Hewitt and Edward Staudenmayer, will light up the stage at the Mary Stuart Rogers Performing Arts Center in Victor School for those two nights. The production will also feature talented Victor students and faculty. All proceeds will go to benefit the Victor Schools Foundation.
Hewitt was born and raised in the valley and graduated from Victor High School in 1976. After college, he spent several years touring the U.S. and abroad, and made his Broadway debut in 1992 in "The Sisters Rosensweig." He has since appeared on Broadway in "The Lion King," "The Rocky Horror Show," "Dracula the Musical" and "Chicago the Musical," among many other productions. He has appeared in national television shows such as "Law and Order," "Frasier," "All My Children" and "Fools' Fire." He has been nominated for the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critic's Circle and Helen Hayes awards.
"I'm really thrilled about performing in Victor," Hewitt said from his home north of Manhattan. "It's kind of full circle. It feels really, really good to come home, and show off a little and raise money for a good cause."
Staudenmayer just finished starring in the world premier of "Wonderland" in the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, and he has played opposite Martin Short for many performances, and has toured with "Beauty and the Beast" and many other productions. He is a graduate of UCLA, and is a recipient of the Carol Burnett Award.
"Edward and I have both played villains a lot," Hewitt explained. "So the evening will be a little photo heavy, but I think those are the best characters."
It was only by coincidence that Hewitt was enlisted to put on a production at the PAC in Victor.
Bill Stephani, vice-president of the Victor Schools Foundation, was at a birthday party for Hewitt's mother in Victor last year, when he ran into the actor.
"I saw him in the house, and I overheard him saying how he would love to do a show in the new auditorium," Stephani recounted.
The Victor Schools Foundation was instrumental in building the PAC, and they are still in debt for the construction costs. Stephani ran over to Mr. Hewitt, and made him an offer he couldn't refuse.
"I said, ‘Anytime you want to put a show on in the auditorium, you got it'" Stephani said. "To get this type of talent you have to go at least to Spokane. It really is amazing that we are getting this type of production in Victor."
The song list for the production of "Broadway in the Bitterroot" includes such titles as Razzle Dazzle, Impossible Song, Stars and the Moon, and Captain Hook. Victor students will be enlisted in running the lighting, and Victor music teachers will help with instruments and vocals, along with the 15-20 choir students that will sing.
"It's basically a musical review, without exception, from shows we've performed," Hewitt said. "We want to put together a fun, not too heavy, performance. I guarantee that people are going to be entertained."
There will be a reception following each of the shows, with Hewitt and Staudenmayer available to chat with the public. Friday's (May 7) reception will be held in the school multipurpose room with light refreshments, and Saturday's (May 8) reception will include wine at the Victor Steak House. Both receptions are free for attendees.
Seating will be reserved seating only. All tickets are $30 and can be purchased at Farmers State Bank in Victor or by calling 829-5155.
Stephani said that Mr. Hewitt and Mr. Staudenmayer are donating their time and talent for the performances, and are not being reimbursed for their travel expenses to Victor from New York.
"This show is the same caliber as a Broadway show," Stephani said.
Proceeds from the show will go to pay off the existing debt on the PAC, Stephani said.
"The school has been good to us over the years," he said. "We are just trying to continue helping Victor students with educational opportunities."
For more information, contact Bill Stephani at 642-3494 or Lois Dobberstein at 642-3236.
Reporter David Erickson can be reached at 363-3300 or email@example.com.