The producers of All Together Now are happy with how the production went. The show was performed November 14 and 15 at the Conexus MCC Centre in Moosomin.
“I’m elated,” says Sherrie Meredith, producer and director.
“There was a lot of uncertainty going into it—whether we’d get to put it on stage. Because of that, out of all the productions we’ve done, this was the one we were most excited to see come to fruition.
“We knew we had everyone from 7-year-old kids to people in their 80s and we knew we had to start masking right away,” says producer and musical director Sandra Poole. “We did that, before that was required October 1. We took it one day at a time, and we were hoping we would get to perform in front of an audience, and if we didn’t there’s always the journey.”
“We could have done a livestreamed performance if we had to,” says Sherrie, “but the performance is the icing on the cake and even if it didn’t hit the stage it would still be worth it because it brought all those people together and we learned all the music, but to be able to perform it for a wider audience was our end goal, and we’re so happy we were able to do that.”
Doing a show consisting of numbers from different musicals allowed the group to highlight more performers than doing a full musical.
“It gave us an opportunity to showcase more people,” says Sandra. “There was something for everybody, so we could showcase lots of people. I think people really enjoyed that.”
“What I personally enjoyed about this show was being able to include so many people,” says Sherrie. “There are a lot of shows we can’t put on because of the demographic—there are no children’s parts, or a high number of male parts or a high number of female parts—but we could take pieces of them and share them. Hairspray, for example—chances are we won’t be able to do it in its full form, but to do a snippet of it was so much fun.”
“We got to work with everyone who wanted to be there,” says Sandra. “We did Into the Woods a few years ago and it didn’t call for a big chorus, so not everyone could be included. Some years we’ve not had a lot of parts for children. With this show, we could tailor it to include everyone who wanted to be part of it.”
The production came together in a different way than full musicals usually do.
“We all rehearsed separately,” says Sherrie. “We would have a ladies’ night, a men’s night, a kids’ night to do different numbers and it really wasn’t until we moved into the MCC Centre for rehearsals that people heard each other performing. The last 10 days were a highlight for everyone, to hear the band and hear all those pieces.”
The producers say it was great to see the production come together.
“Every day you would see it morph into something more,” adds Sandra. “I watched the kids do Matchmaker, then the band came in and I had my head buried in the music. Last night I saw the show and saw it all together for the first time, and I thought it was amazing.”
The production introduced the audience, the cast members and even the producers to some new musicals.
“There were so many I hadn’t heard of before,” says Sherrie.
“I had never heard of Five Guys Named Moe before,” says Sandra. “It was supposed to be five guys, but we had five amazing women. But I loved all of the pieces. Every one is my favorite.”
“They all become ingrained in you, every night I find myself singing a different number,” says Sherrie.
The women say there has been great feedback on the show.
“One of our cast members who has been with us from the start says that was one of our best shows,” says Sandra. “She just loved it. From the audience we’ve heard from people who were just so thankful there was something to go to and they loved it. They said it was our best show yet. I asked my students at school what their favorite piece was, and every student had a different answer. It’s very gratifying. We put forth this show and we knew we loved it. We loved working with everybody, and you just hope the audience will love it, even a little bit as much as you do. It’s very gratifying to hear that feedback, to know that people really enjoyed it.”
“I’m very proud of the entire company,” says Sherrie. “Every avenue of it was so well received and they worked so hard, and all of their efforts paid off because it was a tremendous show.
A lot of work goes into a performance like this. Why do the women do it?
“Within our jobs we’re working with people and working with music, but some of the people we have involved, some of the seniors, this was just a wonderful way for them to come back to socializing,” says Sandra. “We had people say it was wonderful just to be in a facility with other people.”
“I think everyone needs a creative outlet,” says Sherrie. “Sandra and I find ways in our jobs and our personal lives to be involved in music and the arts. It’s part of who we are. To give that gift to others is gratifying.”
Sierra D'Souza Butts, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator