Lauren Stapleton stars as Tracy Turnblad in the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild’s production of “Hairspray.” (Photo by Amelia Beamish/2016)
The Baldwinsville Theatre Guild is raising the curtain on a few changes it has made.
“We have a really, really great community theater in this town, and Baldwinsville deserves to be a part of it,” said Korrie Taylor, producing director.
Taylor said BTG is well-known in local theater circles, but it’s still a hidden gem in its own community.
“My personal goal as the producing director is to make people aware of the BTG who we are what we do,” she said.
Going into its 77th season, the guild has made some changes to its leadership. It has made producing director and artistic director positions distinct from the board “to add some continuity,” Taylor said. Since board member terms are two years long, there is lots of turnover.
“We’re trying to do all these new things because you’re trying to get something rolling, and then it’s May and you have to explain [things] to the new people,” Taylor said.
With more permanent leadership in place, BTG can expand its offerings. In addition to its four-show season, the guild will put on three additional cabarets. It is running a revamped theater camp for kids next summer as well.
“We’re doing a focus on more of the backstage of things,” Taylor said. “It’s not just going to be performance.”
Campers will learn how to operate lights, work the sound system and build sets. The goal is to have a completely student-run production of “Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka.” Younger kids will portray the Oompa Loompas and other characters, and the older ones will manage the production behind the scenes. Actors in the community will audition for the adult roles.
“My husband Josh is the technical director for the theater guild,” Taylor said. “Little kids can make decorations for set building, like lollipops, but then for the older kids, he’s going to teach them how to actually paint the wall [and build sets].”
Another new feature is the “swag shop.” Theatergoers can purchase coffee mugs, which lets them have unlimited coffee during the show. T-shirts for each production will also be on sale.
“If it’s the show you’re going to see, it’s a little more expensive, but if it’s a past show, we knock off a couple of bucks,” Taylor said.
Community members are welcome to join the guild’s team as volunteers.
“We’re always looking for new volunteers. Whether it’s onstage, offstage, we love getting new people involved,” Taylor said. “It’s what keeps the theater going.”
Having just wrapped on its fall production of “Dracula,” work is underway on the winter show, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” The musical is about a group of socially awkward middle-schoolers competing in a spelling bee. The students are played by adults, and the show features audience participation. It runs Jan. 18 through Feb. 2, 2019. Tickets are already available at baldwinsvilletheatreguild.org.
“It’s very, very fun. It’s a little on the adult side,” Taylor said. “It’s definitely a little more light than ‘Dracula’ was. I think it’ll be very well-received.”
Taylor said despite being tucked away in the Presbyterian Education Center, BTG is top-quality theater whose performers have appeared on Broadway or toured nationally.
“From the outside it just looks like a little church,” she said. “I tell people, ‘Don’t judge from what it looks like on the outside.’”
BTG performs at the Presbyterian Education Center, located at 64 Oswego St. in the village of Baldwinsville.
Ashley M. Casey is a reporter for The Baldwinsville Messenger and The Eagle Star-Review. She graduated from Le Moyne College in 2012 and previously worked for the Scotsman Press.