Ask any stage actor, including those working at Thunder Bay Theatre, and most will tell you they would much rather perform to live music than pre-recorded sound tracks that don’t allow for adjustment of the show’s pacing.
While that may be the natural preference for performers, the problem arises when budget constraints make it difficult to hire enough band members. Keeping the always tight budget in mind, TBT has come up with a first-time event aimed solely at raising the necessary funds to employ a full band of local musicians during the theatre’s upcoming summer season.
Appropriately called Band Aid, the event is set for this Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Fletcher Street Brewing Company. The two-hour musical review of show tunes from well-known musicals will feature many local singers and musicians.
“It is a concert designed to aid the performers,” said Pam Powell, a member of TBT’s board of directors who serves on both the fundraising and program committees. “In the past, TBT has had monetary issues coming up with enough funds to hire enough band members. We got feedback from the actors, who indicated they would much more enjoy utilizing live musicians.”
After listening to the feedback, TBT’s board decided to plan the fundraiser in order to raise “band aid.”
“This has been in the works since December,” Powell said. “We’re hoping to be able to pay for all the musicians for the summer. We have incredible talent in this town. We’re hoping to have four to five-piece bands, if not more. It depends on how much we raise during the two-day event.”
Shows lined up for the summer months include “Footloose,” which opens in mid-June, and “High School Musical.” Both are large-scale musicals that should draw big crowds to the theatre.
The event this weekend is under the musical direction of Bunny Lyon, who also will be playing keyboard. Additional featured band members include Courtney Marshall on sax, Josh Bisanz on sax, Conor Larkin on guitar, Pat Altman on bass guitar and Stephanie Woytaszek on drums.
Others participating in Band Aid are Suni Travis, Mac Fountain, Ashley Timmreck, Carol Rundell, Kristen Mainka, Zach Clement, Nickie Hilton, Hannah Matzke, Colin Marshall, Randy Bouchard and Powell.
“This concert is about artists supporting artists,” said Powell. “So the actors picked their favorite tunes everything from the 1950s to the present. They picked some real classics.”
Among the songs performed will be “Seasons of Love” from the musical “Rent,” “Time Warp” from “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music.”
Tickets are $10 per person and available at the door. For more information, call TBT at 354-2267 or go online to www.thunderbaytheatre.com.