White Christmas Cast, Crew 'Techs' Show in Paducah
By Bill Hughes
PADUCAH - Paducah's Carson Center has been buzzing with activity, even if you haven't seen any shows over the last week. But Thursday night's show will be the culmination of all the work, as the cast and crew of Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" present their production for one night only before beginning a national tour.

The final week before opening night is called technical week because all of the elements of the production - costumes, music, set, makeup, lights and sound  - are present during rehearsal for the first time. These teams have been working independently, but now they begin collaborating to familiarize each other with their cues and streamline any problems in anticipation of opening night. 

This is the first time any touring production has "teched" their show in Paducah.  

Nancy Gabriel, Vice President and Producer of Work Light Productions, said companies typically choose a smaller city to tech their shows because venue and labor costs are lower, and they get to present the show to that audience. They choose a theatre in a city reasonably close to where the show will begin the tour, so their caravan of six tractor-trailers won't have to drive too far. 

Based in New Jersey, Gabriel said she has enjoyed her time in Paducah and has been impressed by the beauty of the riverfront. She said the cast enjoyed Kentucky barbecue on Tuesday, and the entire cast has been curious about the flood wall murals, painted by Robert Dafford.

Gabriel said, "Some of us are at the Holiday Inn, which is just a walk down the river. I will say that it's just beautiful!" She added, "Yesterday, I took a nice walk and basically read all of the plaques and took my time and felt like I got a real slice of history here. I'm amazed at the flood wall, I'm amazed at the marks of the floods. I can't even imagine how much water could come down this vast expanse to go up to the levels on that wall. We're from the east coast. We don't have anything like this, so it's very different for someone that doesn't come from this area to see that."

Lisa Lauck, Marketing Director for the Carson Center, said Paducah benefits from hosting technical week because Paducah could never fill the theatre for a full week of performances, so a show like this would not otherwise come. 

Plus, Gabriel said the cast and crew are contributing to the local economy - hotels, meals, sightseeing, shopping - and meeting any physical or technical needs that arise related to the show's final preparations. 

Gabriel said that once they use a venue for technical week, it's always under consideration for a future production, which would provide another unique performance for locals. 
She said, "We love to establish relationships where we can tech a show, because once we know what the infrastructure is, once we know the theatre, and your theatre was able to accommodate it, which is wonderful. This is a beautiful, beautiful facility, you're very lucky to have it. So, yes, we would come back, I would hope to tech another show in Paducah sometime."

Kentucky's Film Credit Tax Program has also provided incentive to Work Light Productions, where they get a tax break on their production costs. The company has previously teched a show in Owensboro, too. 

There are thirteen people in the crew, four stage managers, twenty-seven in the cast, one tutor for two juvenile actors, and three traveling musicians. But local musicians fill out the rest of the sixteen-piece orchestra.

The traveling musicians have rehearsed with 13 local symphony musicians who will play during the local show, and this local recruitment-rehearsal-performance cycle happens at each city on the 7-8 week tour. 

After visiting Chattanooga this weekend, the tour will spend a full week in Nashville, Tulsa, Atlanta, Denver (two weeks), Orlando and Miami. 

On Wednesday morning, tickets were still available for the one show in Paducah. Visit the link below for more information. 

If you can't make the Paducah performance, the dates in Nashville are November 13-18 at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.

On the Net:

The Carson Center events page

Published 10:57 PM, Wednesday Nov. 07, 2018
Updated 09:01 PM, Thursday Nov. 08, 2018

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