A Groovy Feeling At Prescott Valley Performing Arts

17 August 2017  
Cody Pinson (left) and Kate Connolly (right) star in Groovy, a musical set in the sixties being shown at Prescott Valley Performing Arts. All Photos by: Torrence Dunham

Prescott Valley Performing Arts Presents The Musical Groovy

PRESCOTT VALLEY- Prescott Valley Performing Arts is inviting people on a journey through the sixties-known for the feeling of peace, love and harmony-with the musical Groovy, a tribute to the 50th anniversary of The Summer of Love.

“It’s a trip back in the late sixties to help promote the feeling of love and equality for all people,” Groovy Director Randy Smith said. “For the older folk in the crowd, it’s going to be déjà vu.”

The story follows Travis (Cody Pinson), Muriel (Kate Connolly) and Alice (Whitney Kahn) who decide to throw a festival of music, beads and flowers. Similar to Woodstock, the famous festival in August of 1969, the celebration is being held on a farm. Unlike Woodstock, the play takes place on an apple farm instead of a dairy farm.

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Various individuals arrive to enjoy the celebration, such as, a surfing trio from California (Mychael Barnes and Ralene Challinor) and a hippie girl with a flute (Miranda Smith), along with many other colorful characters.

The planners face an issue when Ms. Porter (Kari Ingerson), who hates ‘The Love Generation’, demands Sheriff Withers (Barbara Davis) stop the celebration by any means necessary. In addition, the headline band “Lemon Bugs” (Caitlyn Ramber, Elijah Ingerson and Sabrina Akins) are faced with a tough decision after two concert promoters (Ethan Flinner and Erika Andrus) come and offer them a fantastic opportunity, but require the band leave the festival.

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What ensues over the next two hours, with one intermission, is comedy, drama, romance and fourteen musical numbers (music directed by Abbegail Harris) with a groovy sixties tune to go along with a multitude of choreography-all performed wonderfully by the cast of twenty-eight actors varying from children to adults.

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Pinson and Connolly, who play the leads, are both undertaking new challenges with Groovy. Connolly is a regular at the Prescott Valley Performing Arts, but is performing a lead for the first time at the theatre. Meanwhile, Pinson is participating in his first play at Prescott Valley Performing Arts.

“I was actually kind of nervous about it because it’s my first huge lead,” Pinson said. “Everybody has been super supportive, they welcomed me right in. Everything was groovy.”

“Everyone has been so supportive,” Connolly added. “Everyone’s just so helpful and it’s really, really cool to see that.”

Pinson and Connolly are not the only ones learning something new with the production. Many of the cast are children or young adults and have not been exposed to hippie culture. Smith has worked for weeks to turn the varying age actors into ‘flower children’.

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“(The difficult part) was taking the people under forty (years-old) and explaining to them what a hippie was and then trying to get them to understand the mentality of a hippie,” Smith said. “Everything was slow, much slower.”

The way of speaking, such as frequent pauses, was difficult for the cast to learn.

“For the majority of us, it’s such a new language,” Connolly said. “It took us a little bit to get used to it.”

Learning is the main goal at Prescott Valley Performing Arts, which teaches actors how to transform into another person when the stage lights come on.

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“I’m here to educate these people about theatre and help take themselves and turn themselves into somebody they are not on stage and sell it to invoke human emotion in an unreal environment,” Smith said. “We are an educational teaching children’s theatre.”

After weeks of practice, the cast have the hippie culture down to a tee and are ready for the show to go live.

Now with the culture down, it’s all about looking the part.

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This is achieved by the wonderful set by Smith, Barnes and Kahn along with costumes designed Jean Hansen, who had previously worked on the Robin Hood production. It proved difficult for Hansen to find sixties clothes at shops around town. As a result, Hansen ended up making most the costumes herself using old sixties company designs as a jumping board.

It was a goal for Hansen to have each character sport their own look and not mold everyone into the sixties rainbow-colored stereotype.

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“i tried for individuality,” Hansen said. “i tried to fit each character with their outfit. It’s very important so they feel the part.”

Through the hard work of everyone involved at Prescott Valley Performing Arts, Groovy opens its run on Friday, August 18th, at 7pm.

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“I hope people enjoy all the hard work that these twenty-eight actors have put into this show,” Smith said. “They are pouring their hearts into it. I want people to sit back and take a trip.”

Groovy runs from Friday, August 18th, to Saturday, August 26th. There are two performances on Saturdays, one at 2:30pm and another at 7pm, while Friday shows begin at 7pm and the lone Sunday show starts at 2:30pm. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $8 for military. Individuals can buy tickets either online or at the door.