Licensing fees nix ‘Grease’; ‘Guys and Dolls’ on instead

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Due to a $10,000 difference, “Grease” is turning into “Guys and Dolls.”

And this Saturday, Richard Stephens and crew are looking for some more singers and actors.

It’s like this: The Port Angeles Light Opera Association, aka PALOA, planned to stage “Grease,” the musical made famous by John Travolta’s 1978 movie, as its summer show.

Twice the price

Stephens would direct. He and production manager Bob Lumens cast “Grease” in March and, based on PALOA’s 30 years of experience, figured the licensing fees for this show would run what others had: around $10,000.

With rehearsals to start in late April, Stephens and Lumens were ready to order scripts and pay fees — until they got a letter from Samuel French Inc., the licensing company: “Grease” rights are in the neighborhood of $20,000.

“Next to ‘Chicago,’ ‘Grease’ is their biggest cash cow,” Stephens said this week.

Options discussed

He and PALOA vocal director Stephanie Clark started looking for a different show. As they discussed options, Stephens’ wife, Liane, overheard.

“Stephanie and I had been through the wringer at this point,” Stephens said.

But when Liane heard them talk about “Guys and Dolls,” she caught the excitement in their voices.

So “Guys and Dolls,” the 1951 Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning tale of the New York underworld, is coming to the Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center stage July 12-20, and tickets are already on sale at www.PALOA.org.

The cast of “Grease” has stepped into its new roles, Stephens said — but he and Clark need a few more performers.

They will hold auditions at 1 p.m. Saturday at the PALOA Center, 522 Mount Pleasant Way, for roles including Nathan Detroit, the gambler Angie the Ox, mob boss Big Jule and Police Lt. Brannigan.

Smaller roles

Assorted smaller roles are open, too — some with singing and others without.

“Guys and Dolls” is loaded with classic show tunes: “Luck Be a Lady,” “Sue Me,” “The Oldest Established (Permanent Floating Crap Game in New York),” “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat.”

As for the dancing, choreographer Anna Unger “is doing some really cool things,” said Stephens. She’s new, along with conductor James Ray.

“It was a little nerve-racking,” Lumens said, “calling each cast member and explaining what we did. . . .

“We braced ourselves for some negative feedback.”

But the cast was “game to jump in and be a part of a show that they did not initially try out for,” he said.

“This is musical theater,” added Lumens. “Every show is a miracle.”

________

Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 16. 2013 5:57PM
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