Ensemble for Lyrical Operetta Productions Edmonton (ELOPE) has been providing large-scale musical theatre opportunities for Edmonton’s singers, actors, dancers, production team members – and most importantly, Edmonton audiences – for over 40 years.
From June 16-24, ELOPE celebrates its 40th anniversary with a presentation of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Taking place at the Westbury Theatre, Fringe Theatre Arts Barns (10330 84 Avenue NW), guests can expect 90 minutes (plus intermission) of high energy, toe tapping, walls of sound and voices, along with feel-good story telling music!
“This is a bucket list show for many cast and crew members, with some having done productions of this with other companies in the past; they never tire of it!” says Kara Little, ELOPE Musical Theatre Board and cast member. ELOPE is supplying a little twist in our presentation for people that may have seen this show before (perhaps when Donnie Osmond brought his tour of it here in the 90s). See the show under the big top! That's all I'll say!”
ELOPE has a four-decade history of delighting audiences and keeping them coming back for more.
Little, explains, “Over the years ELOPE has produced review shows, Christmas shows, and showcased an original work by the late Edmonton musical and amazingly talented artist Randy Mueller. In 2014, in a co-production with Sherard Musical Theatre, we showcased the Western Canadian Premiere of A Tale of Two Cities – the Musical, and had the Broadway award-winning playwright/composer fly in for several days to meet the cast and crew and attend opening night!”
ELOPE performers take the saying “the show must go on” very literally.
“During a production of the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee in 2013, the power went out in the theatre about 15 minutes before the end of the show,” says Little. “The technicians determined it could not be restored and for safety, we had to leave the theatre. The audience didn't want it to end, and luckily we were blessed with a natural light atrium with a grand piano in the building, so the cast reassembled, the audience stood around the edges of the atrium, and the show was completed with acoustic instruments only. For those lucky enough to be there, it was a theatre moment to remember for a lifetime.”
COVID hit live entertainment hard and ELOPE was not spared from the fallout.
“Along came 2020; we all know what that was,” sighs Little. “We had a production of Brigadoon cast and rehearsing for a June production. It was obviously postponed, but once we had clearance to perform in 2022, much of the original cast and crew reassembled and finally Brigadoon, the town that only appears every hundred years, revealed herself.”
The pandemic was on top of the usual challenges faced by the cast and production team.
Shows are expensive to put on, and with recent inflationary pressures, audiences are being even more careful with their entertainment dollars. We need to differentiate ourselves, and it can be an even bigger challenge to encourage audiences to put their faith, time and money into the unknown. That’s where our reputation and word of mouth give audiences the assurance that they will have a fun and memorable night out!
On behalf of the Board, techs, cast members, and everyone at ELOPE, Little says a heartfelt thank you to the many volunteers.
“We can’t thank our volunteers enough. Some do one show, some join the board, some do a bit of everything, but the sense of community and accomplishment that comes with producing an amazing production that will only last for those eight days in time keeps talented and ambitious people coming back to participate, and gives audiences the assurance that what they are about to see is on par with any professional group.”
Learn more online and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Be sure to get your tickets for the upcoming event. You’ll be glad you did as you enjoy this classic musical that has been loved by all ages for years.