Broadway comes to Grand Lake: Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre preps for 2018 season with production crews set to arrive next week |

Broadway comes to Grand Lake: Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre preps for 2018 season with production crews set to arrive next week

Cast members in last season's production of "West Side Story" scurry and snap across the stage at Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre in Grand Lake.
Courtesy / RMRT

Where the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre gets its name

According to Executive Artistic Director Michael Querio the term “Repertory” in the theater’s name comes from the fact that the company produces shows in a repertory fashion, with all three shows being performed throughout the summer with a different performance each night. Merriam-Webster’s defines repertory as: a company that presents several different plays, operas or pieces alternately in the course of a season at one theater. Quierio noted few companies perform in a repertory style and instead open and close a single show before the next unique performance.

Summer is right around the corner in the Rockies and that means the Grand Lake based Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre is in the final stretch of preparations for the start of this year’s performance season.

“Things are going really well,” Michael Querio, executive artistic director, said Thursday morning. “This time is such a frenzy, so much is going on but nobody in Grand Lake sees that. Right now all our directors and designers are scattered around the county.”

According to Querio, members of the theater production company will arrive in three separate waves. The first wave, comprising the theater’s technical team including scenery makers and painters, will arrive next week to begin the set building process.

The second wave of arrivals, made up of the company’s actors, will occur just prior to Memorial Day weekend. The third wave, which includes Rocky Mountain Rep’s musical ensemble, will make the trek up to Grand Lake shortly before opening night, schedule for June 8 this year.

Auditions for the theater, which are held in Grand Lake, Denver, Chicago and New York City, are held in February each year. Roughly 1,200 individuals audition for a place in the company. In total Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre employs a team of 50 individuals to produce their summer shows including directors, production crews, actors, musicians, front of house, and youth theater staff.

Members of the local community are often a part of the production and are called guest artists. This year there will be five human guest artists from the area and one local dog, who will perform as Sandy the dog in Anne.

Querio started his tenure with Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre as the music director in 1995 making 2018 his 24th year of theater production in Grand Lake. Over the intervening years Querio was named artistic director and in 2016 he took on his current title when the theater combined artistic and business leadership responsibilities into one role.

According to Querio preparing for the summer performance season is a 12-month job and almost as soon as the theater’s fall production finishes, in late September, he is preparing for the following summer.

“We usually decide on the next year’s show in October or November, right after the fall season wraps up,” Querio said. “Then it is a matter of getting approval, getting the rights to do the shows. After we decide on the shows it just sort of rolls after that.”

Selecting the summer and fall performance schedule is a complicated process involving multiple considerations beyond acquiring the legal rights to perform a given piece. Especially when one considers how many performances and attendees the theater sees each year. According to Querio the company holds roughly 70 shows each summer and fall with approximately 20,000 patrons throughout the season.

“We want to balance what we think the community out there would like to see with what we as artists would like to produce,” Querio said. “We don’t know what will be a success.”

Each year Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre attempts to produce one classic musical, such as this year’s season opener Anne.

“We call them musicals from the golden age,” Querio said. “I think Anne fits that bill.”

The company also tries to include modern productions and specifically something “virtually brand new” as Querio put it. This year “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” fills that slot.

“We at Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre have the first regional production after the national tour,” Querio said. “We are the first in the nation to show that after the national tour.”

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