Rickey Minder, who played UTM's Little Sally, said she appreciated the opportunity for growth that production provided.
Her response is noteworthy, and not because it's unexpected of an aspiring actress who was previously cast in a non-speaking role in CTC's recent production of The Fantasticks, which ran on its NW Greenwood stage last February. Rather, the response of this 21-year-old Idaho native and competitive hip-hop dancer illustrates the sort that Torrey works to foster in his "troupers." The CTC exists to accomplish three major purposes, Torrey explained in another interview: "We want to do good theater, and [that means some] heavy drama. We want to educate the public, and give our actors a chance to grow."
The upside of all this for Central Oregon theatergoers, actual or potential, echoes CTC's Executive Director Dee Torrey's three aims for the CTC. We get to experience Tony-winning, if not what all would call "good" theater; we gain exposure to what many more "educated" in theater value; and we get to see local actors "grow." The downside isn't hard to detect: higher ticket prices. UTM cost 50% more than the typical CTC production, $6,000, Torrey said. Ticket prices to the CTC show rose accordingly. But "we're pleased at the support we're getting," said CTC's Torrey hours after UTM's opening night, support that apparently persisted throughout the musical's run.
"We want to help Bend reach for an identity" that expands beyond being a target for real estate speculation and "the tourist trade," he said. The Tower is advancing that effort by supporting another Bend theatrical company's work to stage Driving Miss Daisy at the venue this coming September.
Whatever the fate of this current collaboration the success of the inaugural partnership between the CTC and the Tower "grew" that identity-just as that alliance grew our chances to hear Minder use another asset, her voice-as well as her body-to "create a presence" for her audience's ears as well as their eyes as they scanned a performance of the first locally-produced, big-budget musical on the stage of Bend's gem-like, inimitable Tower.