Hidden Cleveland: Ocoee Theatre Guild: Goal to produce quality shows
by WILLIAM WRIGHT Lifestyles Editor
Jul 17, 2014 | 1980 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HC Ocoee Theatre
OPPORTUNITIES to work in the theater are open to the Cleveland community thanks to the Ocoee Theatre Guild. From left Terrie Kirkpatrick, costume designer, James Marler, director, and Dan Buck, improv coach, review “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” script in preparation for auditions.
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Cleveland’s newest theater company, The Ocoee Theatre Guild, will be producing a wide variety of productions with many opportunities for local residents to get involved in all aspects of the nonprofit organization.

Candy Tapper, a Cleveland resident and founder of the company, said, “We want persons of all backgrounds with an interest and passion for live theater to get in touch with us.”

According to Tapper, the Ocoee Theatre Guild is on its way to becoming “the go-to theater company for diversity of productions of professional quality” in the Cleveland community. After living in Cleveland for more than a decade, Tapper said she has met Cleveland natives as well as transplants to the area who enjoy live theater.

“Our goal is to produce quality shows that are elevated above what people usually expect of community theater,” Tapper said.

“We want theater-goers to recognize us for professional quality using the best of local talent in every respect — from those who have skills to build scenery, to box office personnel, audio-visual technicians, graphic and scenic designers, and of course, the actors.”

Tapper said volunteers are encouraged to contact the OTG even if they do not have any skills, explaining,

“We will have people who will train you as working interns. All you need is the passion and enthusiasm to participate in a fun-loving atmosphere with people who share a love for quality theater.”

The Ocoee Theatre Guild is set to hold open auditions for its upcoming production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” on July 20 at 2:30 p.m., July 21 at 7 p.m. and July 22 at 7 p.m. inside Ocoee Middle School at 2250 N. Ocoee Street.

The Guild will be casting approximately 12 actors/singers from young adults to mature adults in a variety of roles.

Tapper said the Guild is also seeking musicians for the show, in particular, those skilled on the cello, reed, percussion and synthesizer instruments. Auditions for this production are open to all community members.

As a person with a long history of involvement with professional theater, and a passion for theatrical productions, Tapper said, “I have seen many community theater plays and felt a need to show that more professional quality theatrical stage productions can be produced using the huge amount of talent in our area, so I formed this nonprofit corporation with an enthusiastic group of prominent persons on our board of directors.”

The board consists of Tapper; Daniel Buck, assistant professor of theater at Lee University; Phyllis Narus, entrepreneur and owner of R&M Yarns in Georgetown; Judith Mellinger, who is experienced and skilled in all aspects of theatrical productions; Kay Free, Realtor in Keller Williams Realty; and J. Adam Lowe, executive director of Cleveland State Community College Foundation and owner of Stage AVL.

Tapper pointed out the Ocoee Theatre Guild has no affiliation with the former group known as the Ocoee Players.

“We chose our name because we realize the Ocoee region is a large area with an abundance of talent,” she said.

“Although we are situated here in Cleveland, we want to attract persons from surrounding regions so they can see how wonderful our city is and how they can identify it as a cultural center.”

For further information on auditions and volunteering to work with the Ocoee Theatre Guild, visit www.facebook.com/ocoeetheatreguild.