Hills of the North Umpqua

Bringing a Musical to Life

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Curtains the Musical

Curtains the Musical comes to life: pleases crowds and critics.

ROSEBURG, Oregon – Now that opening night jitters are out of the way, and Curtains the Musical is entering its second weekend run at UCC’s Centerstage Theatre, there has been a lot more than costume changes taking place behind the scenes. So far, more than 400 people have attended UCC’s latest production. By the time the show ends on March 5, some 1,000 visitors are expected. As they watch the musical whodunit from an audience perspective, here’s an inside look at what it takes to bring a major musical to life.

This is UCC’s largest production to date. Thanks to a $10,000 grant from UCC’s student government and $5,000 from an angel donor—which was matched dollar-for-dollar by the community—Curtains hit the stage after a two-year delay. Week after week, the cast of 30 and crew of 10 have been prepping to bring the murder-mystery to life.

“Getting a big grant like this has been absolutely amazing,” Stephanie Newman, UCC’s Director of Theatre Arts, said. “We have been able to do a lot of things with money we don’t normally have.”

Newman has been steadily working to increase her department’s inventory. Instead of adapting costumes out of what they already have, she and volunteers have been creating them. They have also been able to buy tools so they no longer have to borrow them. Another investment has been made in purchasing television monitors so actors can hear and see what is happening on set while they are backstage.

“This funding has given us the ability to get super creative,” Newman said. “We have actually been designing things and making it happen as opposed to making do.”

Newman says the financial gift arrived after the angel donors saw Romeo & Juliet. They fell in love with what UCC students were doing and wanted to help support the efforts. The community ended up matching the donation by doing little things like buying concession items and rounding up the change for a donation. To top it all off, UCC staff members gave checks and other donations.

“The nickels and dimes really added up,” she said.

Newman says the added funding helps her breathe a little easier, and allows her to focus on her main goal; which is teaching.

“I treat my program like it is professional theater—whether people are taking a class or just volunteering,” Newman said. “We are not just here putting on a play. We are here learning. And for all of them to see (this) come to life is exciting.”

The “Curtains” cast runs the gamut—from traditional students to stage veterans. Newman says they all respect each other and create learning opportunities on stage.

About Umpqua Community College

Nestled in the beautiful North Umpqua River Valley, Umpqua Community College is the regional center for higher education in Douglas County, Oregon. UCC provides high quality college degree programs, workforce development, and community learning opportunities.

Tags: Theatre Students