Two Portsmouth locals comprise half of the cast of “[Title of Show]”, which is being produced by the Ashland, Ky. theatrical company, Company of Dreams. This one-act musical comedy chronicles its own creation as an entry in the New York Musical Theatre Festival.
The show within a show focuses on the struggles that the production team faced in the three week creative planning period. It was eventually produced both on and off-Broadway and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical.
The show begins as two friends decide to write a play for a theatre festival and end up bringing in the help of two other female friends to help make it happen. They fight writer’s block, struggle with future-fame, inadequately plan media coverage, and even have a dramatic falling out with creative differences.
“I saw the show on Broadway and it really touched my heart, because of these two guys that had such passion about theatre and wanted to create this great show. They are just so passionate about what they put into a show. It’s just very charming and sweet. Anyone who has been touched by theatre in anyway will love it,” Director Jim Maggard said.
While those bitten by the “theatre bug” will obviously take more from this show, the meaning behind the show has something to draw in any member of the audience.
“‘Title’ talks a lot about different shows that didn’t make it on Broadway, because the company cared more about the money and not about what came from their heart,” Maggard said. “They talk about their show being a rice crispy treat and not a red velvet cake, but you know, some people like rice crispy treats and don’t need a red velvet cake. They just simply put their passion and soul into their work and it shows.”
Company of Dreams has always gone low budget on shows, instead focusing on acting of a production. Maggard’s goal has always been to produce quality shows at a cost that everyone can afford.
“We’re kinda the rice crispy treat of theatre,” Maggard laughed.
Chanan Brown, 18, will be playing Jeff, who is based off the show’s writer, Jeff Bowen. Brown has been doing community theatre for many years and will be going to Rider University in the fall to study musical theatre.
“He [Bowen] is a much more difficult character than I anticipated he would be. It doesn’t seem difficult at first because we understand the characters as working towards their life goal,” Brown said. “However, portraying Jeff is difficult because there’s so much more to the story. Jeff is at a place in his life where he has given up on his dreams and is just trying to make a living.”
Brown also explained that the show’s writing is another hurdle in portraying the characters accurately.
“It was written by and for the real-life people who we actors are portraying. The entire show is filled with very personal things about each character and it’s challenging to put all of the very specific pieces together,” Brown explained.
Samantha Bibbey, 20, of Wheelersburg, will be playing Heidi, friend of the protagonist in the story. Bibbey has been doing community theatre for the past few years, from PACT, to playing the leading role in Paramount’s “Footloose.”
“She [Heidi] is a spunky theater dork who is just searching for her place on Broadway that will allow her to show the world the talent that keeps getting stuck in the background. “
Bibbey is a fan of the show and loves how unique the experience has been.
“This show is unlike any show you will ever see. It is goofy and heartfelt which will leave the audience wanting to see more,” Bibbey said. “Many people have never seen a show like this one. If they are a theater junky there is no possible way that they will not connect with this show and simply fall in love with the characters.”
While this show will have a strong connection with those who adore the theatre, the show is more than just that.
“This show appeals to almost every kind of audience. I will say that even if a person has not seen a musical or theatrical show that this one will keep them entertained,” Bibbey said.
“[Title of Show]” will run June 6, 7 and 8 at 8 p.m. at the Cosmopolitan Club in Ashland, Ky. Admission will be sold at the door and is $10. For more information, check out the Company of Dreams Facebook page.