The Boys of Summer at The Plaza – PAPA’s Damn Yankees
Contributed Content by Margaret Morris, PAPA Chair
When the curtain opens at The Plaza Arts Center in Eatonton, Friday, July 26, the audience will find a set that hits a homerun and a stage filled with talented performers. This is the third summer musical production where the Plaza Alliance for the Performing Arts has teamed up with Co-Directors, Kathy Carroll and Jenny Morris, and set designer/builder, Bob Carroll. Because this year’s production of Damn Yankees is a baseball-themed show, the mostly male cast is somewhat different from past PAPA productions.
Kathy Carroll and Jenny Morris addressed the difficulty in finding men for musical productions. “A male-dominated production like Damn Yankees is difficult to cast but, we are fortunate to have found guys who are trifectas of talent, that is, they can sing, dance, and act. Yes, they are all triple threats. We have recruited this talent from all over Georgia.” Indeed, this starting lineup is comprised of performers that include college students, academics, and business professionals.
However, not all of the talent in this high-energy musical is in the area of performing on stage. Bob Carroll designs all of the sets for PAPA’s summer musicals. He has provided set design, construction leadership, and, along with set builders Pete Stephan and Robin Larson, built the sets for the past musicals, Crazy for You and A Chorus Line. In fact, designing and building sets has become a hobby for Carroll. He averages 4 sets yearly while supporting the productions directed by his wife, daughter, and son.
Carroll or “Bob the Builder” to those around the Plaza is no stranger to building things. Born in Havre de Grace, Maryland, he attended the University of Maryland for engineering and worked for 30 years within the Nuclear Field. Carroll began his career as a nuclear engineer in Norfolk, Virginia and then moved to Atlanta to supervise nuclear power plants in the Southeast, including Georgia, Alabama, Florida, the Carolinas, and Tennessee. When asked how his career informs his hobby, Carroll said, “I enjoy designing and building something that I have not built before . . . something that presents an engineering challenge.”
When completed, the Damn Yankees set will have taken approximately 400+ hours, beginning with the sketching of the design in January to set construction from February through July. The process begins right after a show has been identified for production. “The directors and I view previously recorded Broadway-caliber productions and brainstorm on how to achieve similar quality within any financial or stage limitations,” Carroll said. “This process results in the development of a fairly detailed blocking scheme of the entire show.”
He depends on community volunteers for help with the painting of the set. “It is great to have the support of my building crew and the community volunteers that the Plaza recruits,” said Carroll. “For me the most difficult part of turning my design ideas into an actual construction is the constraint of time. Their additional help allows me to see, in this case, home base.”
“Without a set, you can’t have a show,” said Kathy Carroll. “You just can’t have a quality musical theatre experience without an amazing set.”
Get your tickets to see The Boys of Summer and this amazing set at The Plaza. Tickets are $15, $20, and $25. Performances are Friday and Saturday, July 26, 27 at 7:00 pm and a matinee on Sunday, July 28 at 2:00 pm. For more information, call The Plaza at 706-923-1655.
This production made possible by Linda & Bob Lowe.
Words and Music by
RICHARD ADLER and JERRY ROSS
GEORGE ABBOTT and DOUGLASS WALLOP
Based on the novel by Douglass Wallop “The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant”
Damn Yankees is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. www.MTIShows.com