Balancing nerves, excitement

Production company holds auditions for its first play, 'Anything Goes'

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You could feel the excitement in the community theater of the Soroco Middle School on Wednesday afternoon.

It was time to audition for a community theater production, the first organized by Carpe Diem, which is an umbrella group for the arts in Routt County. It uses a theater workshop format.

About a dozen teenage girls and women had shown up to sing scales, try a quick dance and read scripts.

Auditions always hold a lot of promise. There's the feeling that in just a few months, the people stumbling on stage will have created a polished, engaging play.

There also is some nervousness.

Lainie Thorsen, 14, was auditioning for the first time in a few years. The time before, she said, she was younger and fearless.

"I didn't have stage fright, and I gained stage fright," she said.

Her friend, Nahila Bonfiglio, said that one day, she wants to be a movie star, so getting as much experience as she can is important. Wednesday was the first time she would have to sing in an audition.

"It helps that I'm singing in front of my mom, not someone I don't know," she said, referring to Barbi Bonfiglio, who is organizing the theater workshop.

Nahila said that everyone who auditions gets a part, which Thorsen was happy to hear.

"Really? So I can't fail?" Thorsen asked.

"You can't fail," Nahila said.

Carpe Diem is a nonprofit organization used as an umbrella for the visual and performing arts, Barbi said. The South Routt Community Drama Club, which has the mission of bringing theater to South Routt County, falls under that umbrella, Barbi said.

One goal of Carpe Diem is to help people do the types of art they want to do, she said.

This theater workshop is focused primarily on youth, Barbi said. Interested youth and adults auditioned on Wednesday and will receive parts in the musical, "Anything Goes." During April and May, cast and chorus members will meet with volunteer mentors from across the county to learn score and script.

Then for 10 days in June, the group will come together for a theater workshop during the day. Besides rehearsing the musical, the group will learn how to build sets and light a stage, what costumes are appropriate for different shows and more.

"Everybody gets to learn a little something," Barbi said. "It just makes them a little bit more well-rounded as far as what they can do."

Barbi has lived in Routt County with her family for almost 14 years. She is a professional dancer and choreographer, skills she has used in Routt County as well as in New York and Baltimore.

During the auditions that Barbi led Wednesday, Bea Cole, president of the South Routt Community Drama Club, smiled as she watched two teenagers read parts for main characters. Often, you can see how people are meant for certain parts before they even begin to speak, she said.

Soroco Sophomore Brianna Price said she wasn't too nervous at the auditions, as there were a lot of people she knew.

A sense of camaraderie was obvious Wednesday, with friends joking and encouraging each other. Although no men showed up for the audition, Cole said the drama club has several in mind for the show.

During the winter holidays, the Soutt Routt Community Drama Club performed "Pirates of Penzance," and it is planning another performance for next winter.

The club was organized a few years ago when an outreach program bringing theater to the community came to an end, Cole said.

"We the community were hooked on doing theater, and we just went, 'Well, we're not going to stop now,'" Cole said.

Nina Rogers, who has been involved in theater productions across Routt County for the past decade, said the shows are great for the community and the actors.

"It brings audiences together, it brings kids in, it gives people a creative outlet... as well as exposing people to shows thy might not see otherwise," Rogers said.

Performances of "Anything Goes" will be on June 17, 18 and 19. Anyone interested in participating can call Barbi Bonfiglio at 846-1151. The workshop likely will not cost any more than the cost of a T-shirt.

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