May 17, 2005, Board of Directors Meeting


Called to Order, 7 pm


Present: Maye Hart, Mo Demers, Meggin Dail, Jan Pinard, Jenna King, guests in attendance: Frank Kirwin and Irene Hall.


Secretary’s report was handed out and reviewed. Minutes were adjusted to reflect Jenna being on the board, but in the position of Secretary. Minutes were then accepted.

The Treasurer’s report was reviewed. The income was minimal for April. There was a large expense for printing in April as we had the Production Manuals printed. The Sanderson Fund amount will be moved from checking to Money Market. The Treasurer’s report was accepted.


Private Lives was reviewed. Meggin said despite not opening until the second weekend there was “a good first “second” weekend” and guesses the show brought in a thousand dollars, which is good considering it was just three performances, and the amount that was put into it. She has heard good reviews, the only poor audience was the Saturday matinee. Other than that, she is very pleased with the results.


Encore Dance troupe was due in the theater Thursday evening (the 19th) Friday late afternoon and Saturday for two shows, one at 1:30 and the other at 4:30 or 5:00. Someone needs to open up the theater at 4:30 for the show and close it up probably by 6:30. Meggin agreed and was told she will run lights as well. Maye on Thursday was going to make a cue sheet for Meggin. Ernie is taking the two shows on Saturday. The two Saturday shows sold out, so the director sold tickets to the Friday dress rehearsal, sold that out, so she has an audience for Thursday’s show as well. The ticket sales are split 60/40 with the Players. Jim Hart was setting the lights for it during the meeting. The stage was going to be painted on Wednesday the 18th. The stage will then be ready for the Dame Awards in June.


ILYYPNC was mentioned, Maye spoke with Vicki the other day, and she is looking for another man and another soprano. Jenna was asked by Vicki to attend a rehearsal (as a rehearsal) and check her schedule, the first Encore rehearsal was scheduled for Monday, May 23rd. There are other people who are being considered to fill in the men’s and woman’s roles. Maye had spoken with Larry and sent him some “rave reviews” of the show and will be sending him a cast list and a press release as soon as it’s available. Opening night is June 28th. Mo asked who was producing and Maye said she believes she (Maye) is. There were still some complications regarding a pianist, Maye has a high school student who can play for rehearsals but no one for Steele Hill. Vicki was waiting for two more call backs about the position, and had a third she could call if necessary. Mo asked if we were trying to put the show on for Old Home Day and Maye believes so, as it is an easy money maker for us. Old Home Day is the 22nd of July. There was a delay in the scripts arriving, and the scripts are finally on the way. Mo wrote a check for the scripts and security deposit and the royalties, roughly for $1350, and the show costs $80 a show. Which is very good for a musical. The $330 for the scripts is a rental fee and a $400 security deposit which is refundable upon return of the scripts. Costuming is not an issue in this show, the props are simple, it’s a very simple set and Jim was going to look into lighting up at Steele Hill.


Annie is the next show, and Maye has paid for 8 performances, part of that was in anticipation of perhaps using it as the Christmas show, but 8 performances is a good run for a popular musical. Shows are November 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19 and 6 and 13 as matinees. Maye is hoping for Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday rehearsals, it will be contingent on the cast of course. Auditions are Sunday August 21st from 2 to 6 for Annies, orphans, and kids only. Monday the 22nd for 7-9 for adults only. Tuesday the 23rd 7-9 call backs. The dogs have their own auditions. Monday August 29th will be auditions for Sandy from 7-9, unless the Annie comes with her own Sandy. Set designer has a script. She is still looking for a producer. Guest Frank Kirwin asked what a producer does, and was given a copy of the Production Manual to peruse. Maye will be checking with Dee Dee to see if she will choreograph. Diane Rupert may be asked to do the Children’s choreography as she does the Encore dance troupe and it would further our relationship with her. Then Dee Dee could work with just the adults. Phil Bretton will accompany.


Polar Express is the Christmas show. Jeff is excited about it and planning on holding a June production meeting.


In Old Business, about the building and the stairs, after the last meeting where we discussed the addition and the staircase Maye mentioned to Meggin and Jenna that she was backing down a little from her gung-ho take on doing the whole addition, simply because she doesn’t believe it’s fair to sidle a board with a project of that size as she is leaving the board when her term is up in 2006. It’s a project which will need a lot of tender-loving-care, so there have been other discussions about staircases which are currently on hold, as Maye was busy with PL. Maye thinks what we need to do is to continue to look into staircases, and maybe the best thing to do would be to put on a stair case which can then be enclosed in an addition, and the staircase is of paramount importance as the fire chief can come over at any time and shut us down without it. Mo inquired after the sprinkler system. Maye said it will be about $140,000, and is hopeful that we may be able to renegotiate the deadline of the first of 2006 if it is a TOWN mandate, if it is a state mandate then we are in dire straits. We need a big fundraising campaign, but it’s a lot of money. Maye said she felt an uneasiness in the last meeting when she was so intent on putting up the addition at once, but Mo said that while she understands Maye’s fears of getting into a big project then leaving the board to deal with it, she feels like we shouldn’t do something two or three times until it’s right. And that even if we planned it out in stages it would be more productive. Mo’s only question is that if we believe as of January 1st there is a risk of us being shut down should we not maybe just say, okay, we have 8 months, let’s go on a massive fund raising campaign and preempt it? Maye let us know that it will cost $11,000 to bring the water supply down the alley and into the back underneath the stage so that we can hook up a system to move water, which is necessary to operate sprinklers. When we sat down with Frank Lemay all the costs were broken down, the stairs would be who knows how much depending on the design could run 20k, 25k, 30k- the sprinkler system itself will cost about $140,000.  All total we’re looking at $230,000, we can’t mortgage the building for that because the building isn’t worth that. Meggin mentioned that we need to ask the fire department what needs to be done when, and that some of that invites curiosity as to what we have done so far, but instead of scrambling let’s find out the time line. There is a new chief, and we have made improvements, including the exit signs and the extinguishers, and the holes above the stage for air passage which were immediate concerns. We’ve complied with most of the additional orders except the stairs. It was mentioned in the secretary’s report from the last meeting that the addition would be different now, as we can go straight back instead of at an angle. We do still need permission to move the tank and we need a discussion with the fire department. Meggin has offered to review everything and get in touch with the fire chief. Mo is stepping off the board and would like to be an active participant in a fund raising drive, though maybe not spear head the whole effort. She understands that in being on the board there are a lot of other projects and in NOT being a board member she can devote some time, she can be in contact with board and be actively involved in some manner. Maye noted that we will all have to be involved in some manner, and Mo clarified that she means stepping down from the board does not mean she is cutting off all involvement and responsibility. Jenna feels that fundraising will end up being full of different types of involvement, we’ll need people to make direct, cold calls for money, people to plan our moves, people to research grants and those sorts of avenues, there are people would wouldn’t do well in direct solicitation, and people who would. Meggin noted we need to contact Globe and explain our situation, they donate every year anyway, and maybe we can ask for more and explain just what it will be paying for.

Maye thinks we need more of a concrete idea, which is why we came up with a figure of $230,000, and that’s what we’ll aim for. It can be done in stages, we can do the water for $11,000 first, then raise more to do the stairs, then more to enclose the stairs, then raise more to do the inside of the building. Mo feels we need o be very specific as to what we ask for- if we just ask for volunteers it’s tough to get a commitment, but if we call someone directly they’ll usually help out, in the same vein we need to call our donors and say we need exactly $230,000, here’s what you’re money will go towards, people will be more likely to contribute. Meggin noted that the former fire chief seems very amicable to letting us do the project in stages, and hopefully the new one will be too, but again Maye noted that some things may come straight from the state and there’ll be nothing we can do about it. Meggin is encouraged by us having made progress already. Maye said if they demand that we have something done, then we’re closed down, but she tends to think that what they would do would be to confine us to the downstairs and not allow a large group upstairs, which would seriously hamper us, but we could deal with it. Jenna noted that we are renting space next door and worst-case scenario we get ready in that space, if we cannot use the upstairs for gathering. Mo’s fear is that worst case scenario, because of that night club fire a few years ago, that this will be a state mandate not a town issue.

Mo asked if the board planned on meeting again before the annual meeting. The board agreed to meet again the third Thursday of the month to tie up loose ends to keep the annual meeting short.

In regards to the annual meeting and awards Bernie is looking to have another Dame meeting with AJ and Maye and whoever else is helping to finalize the script and all those details, and Maye was going to get in touch with Bernie and work it out. Jenna said to let her know when and she could probably attend.

Meggin wanted to let us know that in the event AJ is unavailable Len Miller has stated an interest in emceeing, as he does it for school functions and he would be more than happy to step up and help out.

Mo asked if we had established a cut off date for ballot so that she can go get the ballots and count them and purchase awards. The cut off was to be May 21st, but with a check at the mail box again on Monday to get any stragglers. Maye asked if we were getting many ballots and Mo said that yes, we were.


The annual meeting will be finessed at the next meeting. At the next meeting Mo will have the May report, and at the annual Mo will have the annual report.


Maye asked if anyone had heard about who might be running for the board. Meggin indicated she will be running again, and she heard directly from Mike Chagnon he would be running. Jenna mentioned Len Miller. Everyone else was hearsay, and the conversation ended.


The board agreed to finish the rest of the agenda and then return to planning the show schedule.


Maye asked about the key situation, which still had not been straightened out. Maye still does not have TJ’s set. Meggin mentioned that there should be enough keys for board members to hold theirs and still have spares for producers, etc. Ernie had to give his board set to Jay during Private Lives. Jenna still does not have a set. Jim Hart had an idea to put a keypad on the building to let people in and out. We could change the codes after every show, and then the only actual keyholders would be the board members. The keypad would be tucked inside the doorway to the staircase. Jenna has volunteered to ask Knight Security of Wolfeboro, they are a company her office used to wire their building for the same thing. The board agrees it’s a good idea, cost permitting. As far as the front door locks stand now, the lock should be easy to tumble and we can get all board members a new set of keys. The goal is to have this done by the annual meeting.


There was no other old business.


In new business, Maye has agreed to do the Rotary Changing of the Guards on the 29th of June, which is a Wednesday, at the Pleasantview, “same old drill” with the same menu, and bbq. The Changing of the Guard is their annual meeting. Maye brings the bbq, it gets cooked and served and we get paid, it does run pretty late. Maye goes to the community center about 3:30 to put the potatoes in the oven and then the grills get set up, and people need to get there ASAP (around 5) to do the meal, then it all gets loaded up and heads back to the community center so the volunteers can eat and clean up. It will probably run until 10:00 ish. Maye noted that it should be in the newsletter. Meggin will help. Irene was asked if she was set with Rotary for the summer, she was wondering about the August Lobster Bake. Maye said she would ask Mike Psznowsky about that month’s rotary.


In other new business Maye was contacted by Terry (Rothman?) on the 16th, regarding Old Home Day. This year has a medieval theme. And Nick L (need correct spelling) has made a medieval movie. In order to generate medieval themes throughout the town we have been asked to allow a screening of the film in the theater on July 19th. It’s 1.5 hours long. There are problems with this as we do not have a projector, or a screen large enough or in good enough condition for screening a film, and this was explained. Maye said he’d need a techie, and Jim was not enthusiastic about it when asked. They did offer us financial compensation, as well. Meggin suggested the community center as they would have to find a projector and screen regardless of where they set up, and at the center the group could also use several TV screens and VCRs to show the film. In addition, anything the film screening group did to the theater we would have to undo before our Encore performance on Friday night. The group agreed that it is not a good idea to have them in the building that week. Meggin agreed to let the Old Home Day group know we would not let them use the building for the screening.


In other news, Meggin notified the group that we own the 8 foot crushed red velvet sofa with matching gold chairs from Private Lives, as well as the 1930s dining room set with table, 6 chairs and one captain’s chair. The are next door. Showcase Consignment at the Epsom Circle occasionally receives pieces it cannot really sell,  and the owner would love to pass these things onto a non-profit organization (us) if we give them our tax ID number. This is a very nice arrangement. He also donated two nice teal wingback chairs to us on the same principal.


Before returning to the discussion regarding the upcoming show schedule Maye wanted to touch on the fixed meeting date idea. Maye agrees that it should be fixed, but we have gone through several meetings with just four members because it has been fixed. She asked how we were going to make it so it “works” for the board. Jan noted it was fixed because it was working before. Jenna noted that we had come close to the meeting nights. Meggin thinks it needs time. Mo said that once it’s established the board will learn to plan around those meetings instead of planning its meetings around everything else. Maye apologized because when the Wednesday night meeting was established her prior commitments on Wednesdays during the summer did not occur to her. The board that is here now has different available nights, but as the board changes over time with elections new members will know the established routine. Thursdays have been okay, except this meeting, which Jenna could not have attended as she was going out of town rather last minute. Jenna wanted to be involved in the show schedule and asked if Tuesday was okay and the meeting was rescheduled. It was agreed that the third Thursday was a good night for the current board. Maye noted she could change her Annie rehearsals to accommodate. Mo said she did not want to influence the board as she would be stepping down. Meggin said she didn’t believe it was about what night of the week so much as just knowing for sure ahead of time so board members can plan around it. It was agreed to try to keep it at Thursdays forever, except for Thanksgiving.


The board asked Irene and Frank if they had anything to bring to the board for discussion and they said they were just there to listen to the meeting and be up to speed with things going on at the theater. Jenna sent a blanket email to people encouraging them to come as the schedule was being discussed and Frank came in response to that email.


The next board meeting is scheduled for June 23rd, so that we meet one more time before the Dames.


The program discussion began.

The group dug into the pile of comedies which had been read through by various members. Some comedies were too difficult to stage (Supporting Cast) some were hard to get through and boring (Morning’s at Seven) and one we had done previously (Witness for the Prosecution). Goodbye Charlie is a great comedy with good roles, but very dated humor. Dearly Departed got rave reviews for being laugh-out-loud funny, but it is not a well known script or author. It was agreed to use it for a play reading committee. Dinner Party by Neil Simon was struck down as being “awful”, The Art of Dining was boring and hard to read, The Sunshine Boys wasn’t read but we know the premise. Play It Again Sam is hilarious, was always hilarious, and has great name recognition. We’ve never done it either. A brief synopsis was given. The cast has three males and 8 women. The Second Time Around is hilarious, it’s not really well known but had famous actors in the roles on Broadway. It is a little dated, but is just very cute and funny and enjoyable. The characters are retiree-age, with mid-30s male and female roles. And there are two younger, college age roles. Seven roles total. All This and Moonlight is very cute, but has challenging set changes. Maye suggested we read it and consider it for the future. The Goodbye People is great, the set comes out into the audience as a pier, which might be fun. It is another Herb Gardner play which we have done a lot of. It is a comedy, but with plenty of drama, similar to his other shows. It could be presented as a drama with plenty of laughs. The group agreed Play It Again Sam has great name recognition and would attract nice crowds.

There were some dramas set aside previously, the group agreed to scrap A Lion in Winter if we could fill in other dramas instead.

Death Trap has two main characters only, so despite good name it’s a small cast. Proof has four characters as well, but is an excellent show, but may be hard to sell. It was received well  at the play reading, but has been done twice recently in the area and it may be too soon to show it again. There are other groups with it on the schedule. The board also agreed that with the need for fundraising we need to focus for the next couple of years on bigger casts, which bring in bigger audiences. We can’t go too large, and have problems casting, and need to strike a balance. There are a lot of new community theater groups fighting for talent in the area. Meggin would still like to do The Autumn Garden but is flexible as to when. It has a fairly large cast, and an older cast as well. Angel Street was mentioned as a contender. Lion in Winter has a lot of great things, great costumes, comedy, minimal set, it’s unlike a lot of other shows. Meggin recommended if we do it to stick it in 2007, and we would need to find a director. Meggin has said she is flexible on the dates for  Autumn Garden. Maye put out the list of possibilities as Proof, death Trap, Goodbye People, Angel Street, Lion in Winter, Autumn Garden. Mo would like to see a thriller. Meggin asked if anyone was willing to direct in 2006 and a brief discussion as to who was available and willing to do what. Mal Cameron would like to direct Proof. The group is not willing to let it go, but as we are focusing on name recognition and larger casts it might not fit in the ’06 or ’07 schedule. If we have two other big name shows it might be right for ’08, also taking into consideration the amount of times it has appeared and will appear in the area. It is definitely worth doing. The summer show was discussed again. Jan said Andy would be willing to stage a magic show for the summer and split the house with us. It was agreed that it was an excellent idea. The question at hand was are we willing to do a summer show- Maye said she didn’t see a problem with it if we had a director. The idea of Best Little Whorehouse in Texas was mentioned, as Dennis Bunnell would want to direct it and is available during the summers, and maybe having Dee Dee choreograph. Maye pointed out that if we were going to do a musical in the theater we needed to decide on whether or not to scrap Encore at Steele Hill. We agreed we would have to do one or the other. Jan pointed out that if we had a little thing in the theater, like a magic show, we could have BOTH as income. Meggin’s idea was to start it out that way, and see if we get an audience as we tried a summer show at the theater years ago and there was no audience for it. Mo asked if we might be able to put on a couple of one-acts and make that our summer production. Jenna mentioned a few summers ago VP did Love Letters every other weekend, alternating with a musical revue, as it was a small cast and a popular show it was successful.

The board decided for summer of 2006 we would ask Andy to do his magic show and see how it goes.  The board decided to leave summer of 2007 open for now to see how summer of ’06 goes.

There will be a kids’ show in 2006. Maye believes it will be Music Man, Jr, in February of 2006. We agreed to put Play It Again, Sam in Winter of 2006, because winter is a good time for a comedy. But then Mo asked about the set, because it will fall on the heels of the kids’ show. The set is an apartment; Mo thinks we should see what two shows we will have in ’06 and decide which one should follow the kids’ show based on set requirements. The other comedy to consider it Second Time Around, which also has a single-set apartment. The other shows for consideration are The Goodbye People, which is a beach and a pier, Death Trap, one fairly elaborate set. The Goodbye People is by Herb Gardner, who also wrote Rappaport, Cemetery Club, and 1000 Clowns. Bus Stop was mentioned, and can be done minimalist, has one set, and is a great show, and the board agreed to ask Vicki Peixhino if she would direct. Bus Stop could be used in the winter, and then follow it with Play It Again Sam. The group then discussed to fall musical for 2006. Mo feels the top two picks, on casting and directors being available, and sale-ability are JC Superstar and Once Upon a Mattress. The other shows mentioned from an earlier meeting were Grease, Whorehouse, Bye Bye Birdie, and Gypsy. Mo’s feeling is that we walk that fine line between saleable name and a show which isn’t beaten to death and hasn’t shown in so many areas, like Bye Bye Birdie. The other board members feel a show like BBB would sell out because of the number of kids involved, as parents, grandparents, aunts, unlces, and friends would come to see them. Meggin pointed out how well Coe Brown does, even with shows like Our Town. Jenna mentioned Jeff Gregoire has expressed interest in getting on a production team for BBB or Grease. Maye has said she would not mind doing BBB. Of the two shoes, BBB has roles for adults and kids, unlike Grease. Meggin reminded us that next year’s Old Home Day theme will be “Pittsfield Goes to Hollywood” and BBB would be a perfect fit for the float. The board agreed to set Bye Bye Birdie as the Fall 2006 musical with Maye Hart directing.

2006: Music Man, Jr, Bus Stop, Play it Again Sam, Magic Show, Bye Bye Birdie.

Mo mentioned we need a Christmas Show, too, and did we want to find a musical variety or a scripted show. Maye mentioned we have been considering doing a combined chorus from area churches singing traditional songs. Mo stated we don’t necessarily need to pick the show, but be aware that we’ll need one and we should consider it scheduled.

Regarding Encore 2006, if this summer’s change of pace does well we will look for another musical for 2006. Mo’s pointed out that we need to treat Encore like a regular show. Maye’s counterpoint is that we need to wait and see how this year’s Encore goes over with the Steele Hill group before we make anything concrete for Encore 2006. Mo made a motion to put the Encore Slot on the agenda for 2006 and that by the end of September we put something in that slot. If it’s going to be a review we will need to find a director, and if it’s going to be a musical like 2005 then we need to find one. October 1 can also be the date to finalize a Christmas Show.  

In 2007 there will be a kids show, TBA, based on what’s available for scripts and things.

Second Time Around was mentioned for 2007, but we need to again consider the set to follow the kids’ show. After looking at the set design it was agreed that it is a fairly elaborate set even though it is just one set. Meggin said we could move the shows back a week to give more time to build, but that it would bump the spring show and then possibly into June and Encore and busy season. Mo doesn’t think that’s a good idea and we should pick a show carefully to make sure we don’t affect our whole line up. Maye suggested that perhaps The Goodbye People would be a good fit then, as a drama. Then possibly follow it with Second Time Around. Meggin asked to have a chance to look at the set for The Autumn Garden, and the board agreed that if it is doable following the kids’ show it would replace Goodbye People on the ’07 schedule. The board agreed that the shows are saleable with good casts. The discussion opened for the musical, and the board agreed that we would not announce our decisions until the annual meeting. The board members also agreed to look over the potential scripts to make sure we’re 100% ready to commit to having the shows on our schedules, and that we should have this done by our next meeting. JC, Joseph, or Whorehouse. It was pointed out that Joseph has been “done to death”. It was pointed out that Dennis Bunnell has really wanted to do Whorehouse and we could practically count on him to direct it. Maye pointed out that we didn’t want a cast of middle-aged women in thongs, and we also would want to avoid teenagers in the roles, as the name will be enough to put off some people. It was agreed that there should be some sort of “taste committee” and that we should make sure we cast adults only, but the show is getting well known enough that it won’t scare too many people. Whorehouse has been scheduled for Fall, 2007.

2007: Kids’ show, Goodbye People/Autumn Garden, Second Time Around, Best Little Whorehouse

In the mean time, proceeding the next meeting, we will pass around scripts. Meggin and Jenna agreed to use Dearly Departed for the next play reading, with All This and Moonlight for the next play reading.

Maye noted she had forgotten to turn in the bill for the purchase of the scripts and would get the bill to Mo for reimbursement.

Maye mentioned the Dame Awards, regarding King and I Jr, and instead of doing Getting To Know you with a large group of 30 kids she would have Anna and the King do their Shall we Dance instead. Meggin had not asked anyone from 12 Angry Men to do a reprisal yet. Jenna had not spoken with Mike about Clowns. Jenna agreed to email Bernie about getting in touch with Mike. Mo asked what the final agreement was regarding Encore Votes, as the Encore nominees were not listed in the original ballot. The new ballot is available on line for printing out, and the newsletter was going to have the new ballot as well. The board agreed to extend the voting period, as the Dames are in the end of June. Mo pointed out she had received some ballots from the web just for King and I Jr, and asked if minors can vote, and if everyone who was in King and I Jr is a member. Maye said as this is the Dame awards she thinks they can vote, as it’s not something like Board Elections, and that Mo should count the kids’ votes. Mo will wait until June 1 and then order the award.

Maye noted we have a filing cabinet for scripts and things, so we can put them away after reading.

Meggin noted she has started to put together a crew for an indefinite date this summer to clean out the third floor, really thorough cleaning, and getting rid of things we cannot use. Jenna was going to take home a dress maker’s dummy to photograph some old costumes to sell on eBay for the group.

Mo noted after she steps down from the board she will be looking at bringing more shows to competition for the group.

The meeting was adjourned at 9 pm.