all for One Brings Romance to ArtsLab Stage
For years the faith-based theatre company all for One has nurtured a very family atmosphere in their productions. With a wealth of talented actors, directors, and playwrights having contributed over the years, all for One brings back many who understand and embrace their mission, which also includes cofounders Lauren and Dennis Nichols and executive director Stacey Kuster.
Among those who keep coming back for more is director Mary Beth Frank who seems to have found her own special niche with the company’s seasonal schedule.
“I have currently the February slot as guest director for all for One,” Frank said. “One of the things they asked it to be was a romantic production, to bring a different element for the shows. In the past we’ve done a couple of locally written musicals, but we hadn’t used one by a national composer. I’d seen the musical version of Daddy Long Legs, and it felt right for this production.”
In addition to the rarity of an all for One musical production, the show’s music will also be provided by a live band to accompany the two-character show. Casting was a bit of a concern, however, with so much riding on the health and well-being of two actors so all for One once again stepped outside of their norm.
“We decided to double-cast the roles for this show,” Frank said. “We’ve never had understudies before but we realized ‘What if someone gets sick?’ It’s a two-person musical so if someone gets sick, we don’t have a show. This is our first winter in awhile without masks which makes a difference. And with singing, you just need a scratch in your throat to cause a problem. So we have two understudies, and they’ve done just as much work as the leads so we’ve guaranteed that they’ll at least to perform in the first Sunday matinee. They are just as talented as our lead actors, and if they do have to step in, we lose nothing.”
For those who know the story from the 1955 film, it may be hard to imagine the narrative with only two actors. In addition to the leads, Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron, the film includes some great performances from character actors like Terry Moore and Thelma Ritter. Those characters appear through a different means.
“They talk about the other characters and portray them via letters,” Frank said. “Most everything teeters on the other people in her life, and that’s how it was in the book as well. The banter comes through the writing of letters, and he’s reading her letters so you can hear what they say. It really is 95% songs and music, and unlike the film the characters are all under the age of 25. It’s vocally challenging. Because of Fred Astaire the film has a ton of dancing, but there’s somewhat less in this musical.”
Daddy Long Legs runs February 17-26 at the ArtsLab in the Auer Center. Tickets $22 adult, $19 seniors, and $15 students. Visit artstix.org for more information and to purchase tickets. Stay tuned for a review of opening night coming soon to Fort Wayne Currents.