Tahoe theater group hits the road with ‘Oliver!’
The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, flexing its muscles after declaring its independence earlier this year, will take its first show on the road Friday, when it produces “Oliver!” at the Resort at Squaw Creek.
The musical production will be the first off-season performance by the Incline Village-based theatrical group, which has performed Shakespearean dramas and comedies outdoors at Lake Tahoe’s Sand Harbor since 1976.
Earlier this year, the Lake Tahoe troupe parted ways with the Foothill Theater Company of Grass Valley, which had managed all the festival’s events for many years.
Now, the Incline theatrical company is collaborating with the Nevada Shakespeare Company and the Truckee Tahoe Youth Theater to produce the Charles Dickens “inspired” “Oliver!” and recruit students from the area to participate both onstage and off.
The cast will boast nearly 70 local youths, and the show’s music will be performed by a live orchestra featuring performers from around the Tahoe Basin.
“It comes down to providing the kids with a learning and performing experience with professional actors,” said Director Joe Atack of the Nevada Shakespeare Company.
Atack and his colleagues believe a theatrical background helps youth become better rounded.
“It teaches them that things can be resolved by communication rather than violence,” said stage manager Karen Meyer, who has worked with the company for 17 years.
A classically trained actor from England, Atack said the production would not have been possible without community donations.
The Truckee-Tahoe Airport donated a hangar for set design and preparations, Bar 1 in Squaw Valley donated space for rehearsals and the Resort at Squaw Creek has provided an area to host the performance, Atack said.
“It’s all about engaging the community,” he said.