The Hamilton Players will continue their fundraising, performing and celebrating of community partnerships and volunteers for 2017. 

On Jan. 2 and 3 the Hamilton Players have auditions for “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” and on Jan. 7 they are hosting a special evening in appreciation for anyone who has every volunteered or wants to volunteer with the playhouse.

“I am not sure that people truly understand the importance and value of Hamilton Players’ volunteers to the overall success of the organization,” said Denise Rose, executive director.

Rose is the only full time employee at the Playhouse. She has a high school administrative assistant who works after school and some weekends and there are a few artistic positions: directors, music directors, choreographers, and musicians who receive compensation as temporary employees and contractors for each show.

“But the bulk of the work rests on the shoulders of volunteers who make up the actors, builders, house staff, and designers,” Rose said. “Take for example last year’s show, ‘Pride & Prejudice,’ which took over 3,750 volunteer hours to produce.”

Analyzed by duty and time that was 27 actors rehearsing 14.5 hours each week plus nine 5.5-hour show days, for a total of over 3,000 hours; five volunteers working five hours each Saturday for six weeks building set, for a total of 150 hours; three costumers working 12 hours a week for six weeks, for 216 hours; house volunteers for the shows, 70 hours; and offsite hours for artists that equaled more than 350 hours.

Rose pointed out that those hours and amount of dedication by volunteers are just for one show.

“Multiply that number by four shows in a season and the volunteer hours could easily equal 15,000,” Rose said. “If those volunteers were paid minimum wage, though many volunteers are skilled tradespersons, the total would be $120,750.”

“That is simply remarkable,” Rose said. “There is no way that the Players could hope to succeed without the support of the volunteers who dedicate so much time and energy to the organization.”

The Volunteer Appreciation is an annual event that celebrates the volunteers as a thank you for their time and commitment to community theatre at the Hamilton Playhouse. The players will announce the volunteer of the year, all volunteers’ names are entered in drawings for prizes there are treats and games. The event is free and all volunteers for productions and efforts past and present are welcome.

Rose said the event is a good opportunity for community members who have considered volunteering with the Hamilton Players to meet volunteers involved and learn more about the Playhouse.

“The Volunteer Appreciation Event is just one small way that the Players can thank the people who make the magic happen,” Rose said. “We will celebrate them, thank them, and hopefully, give them just a small taste of the joy that they provide to this community thru their gift of volunteerism.”

The Hamilton Players Volunteer Event is at 7 p.m. on Jan. 7 at Hamilton City Hall (Bedford Building) 223 S. 2nd St. RSVP by Jan. 6 by calling 406-375-9050, emailing boxoffice@hamiltonplayers.com or stopping by the Hamilton Players Box Office, Wednesday through Friday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., at 100 Ricketts Rd. in Hamilton.

Auditions for “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” are 7 p.m. on Jan. 2 and 3, with roles available for 20 men and women (character ages 18-65) and one young man (character age 10-14). Perusal scripts are available for 48-hour checkout at Chapter One Book Store in Hamilton or from the Box Office at the Playhouse.

Rose said “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” is a musical play based on the final, unfinished, novel by Charles Dickens.

“It is a musical-murder-mystery-metatheater-comedy,” she said. “For the audience, it’s practically one of those ‘choose your own adventure’ stories. The show is full of wildly suspicious characters who, from time to time, interact directly with the audience.”

Rose said the play has ribald humor, some provocative costuming and not appropriate for young children.

“It’s a show that is super fun to produce and to watch and even though the title may not be very well known, I encourage everyone to take a chance on it. They won’t be sorry,” she said.

For information about the performance season, listing of shows and purchasing tickets visit Hamiltonplayers.com.

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