October busy for Guild Builders

The Guild Builders Teen program horsing around during a break from rehearsals for “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” (Photo Provided)

PARKERSBURG — Guild Builders, the Actors Guild of Parkersburg’s youth theater program, will have a busy October, program Chair Brent Null said.

“October this year will be our busiest month of the season,” he said. “We will open and close two shows and hold auditions for a third.”

Guild Builders, which performs one large production each season at the guild, is a free theater program for any student in the Mid-Ohio Valley in fourth through ninth grades. The new Teen Program also is free and includes those in ninth through 12th grades.

First up is the premiere production of the Guild Builders Workshop program “Mission: Improbable.”

This Workshop Program is new and different from the large-scale Guild Builders productions, Null said. The core focus of the workshop is more on the disciplines of theater and less on the large budget items like sets and costumes.

Sam Miser, musical director for “Mission: Improbable,” instructs the kids on vocal techniques. (Photo Provided)

“This model has been successfully done in other youth theaters across the country and it is very beneficial to those involved. We take kids with varying degrees of skill and ability and, based on how the production is structured, we give everyone an equal opportunity to shine,” Null said. “There are no ‘lead’ roles and there are no ‘supporting’ roles. Everyone is a lead.”

“Mission: Improbable” tells the story of the evil Dredd Family that has kidnapped seven world-famous scientists from the Incisor Institute. The scientists are working on a toothpaste formula which, if successful, would rid the world of cavities.

The evil Dredd Family, having just cornered the market in the Dental Drill industry, is trying to prevent the release of this toothpaste. Spies from overseas have heard rumors of this new formula and have been sent to America to steal it.

U.S. secret agents have been dispatched to find the scientists, stop the spies, and restore hope for a cavity-free society, before the intrepid reporters assigned to investigate the kidnapping unravel the mystery.

Performance dates are 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17-18 and 2:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Actors Guild of Parkersburg on Market Street. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for students.

Next up is the Guild Builders Teen production of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”

The Teen Program has seen tremendous growth since it began in the fall of 2017. Participants have performed “Spoon River Anthology,” “Glimpses,” “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

An infamous tale, Sweeney Todd, an unjustly exiled barber, returns to 19th century London, seeking vengeance against the lecherous judge who framed him and ravaged his young wife. The road to revenge leads Todd to Mrs. Lovett, a resourceful proprietress of a failing pie shop, above which he opens a new barber practice.

Mrs. Lovett’s luck sharply shifts when Todd’s thirst for blood inspires the integration of an ingredient into her meat pies that has the people of London lining up. And the carnage has only just begun.

“Sweeney Todd” will be performed in collaboration with West Virginia University at Parkersburg 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31, Nov. 1-3 and 2:30 p.m. matinees Nov. 2-3 in the school’s little theater. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for students.

From 2:30-5:30 p.m. Oct. 26, Guild Builders will host a combined audition workshop and auditions for its upcoming musical production, “Madagascar Jr.” Call-backs, if necessary, will take place on Oct. 27.

The Audition Workshop and auditions will be held in the Actors Guild Annex at 716 Market St.

Among the characters are Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the hip hip Hippo and the hilarious plotting penguins as they bound onto the stage. The show, based on the DreamWorks animated motion picture, follows the characters as they escape from the New York Central Park Zoo and find themselves on an unexpected journey to King Julien’s Madagascar.

Performances will be held 7 p.m. Jan. 24, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 and 2:30 p.m. Jan 25, Jan. 26 and Feb. 1 in the Blennerhassett Middle School Auditorium.

For more information about the Guild Builders production, email guildbuilders@actors-guild.com. Tickets for “Mission: Improbable” and “Sweeney Todd” can be purchased by visiting actors-guild.com/buy-tickets.html.