Signature Productions’ actors perform for love of the craft

How many times have you walked out of a dazzling musical with a smile on your face and a song in your heart while humming one of the popular tunes? Well, that’s the way it was after attending the show “Singin’ i n t he Rain,” which played in April at the Summerlin Library’s Performing Arts Center.

If you missed the non profit Signature Productions spectacular, it’s your own fault. The magnificent musical was as entertaining a show as anything you’ll find anywhere else in this 24-hour-a-day city of dreams, glitz and heartbreak.

But don’t fret. “Little Shop Of Horrors” is scheduled to begin July 25 and play through Aug. 27, the final of four Signature Productions for this season. Then the new show biz year begins Oct. 20 and runs for a month with “Oh What A Night!” That’s already being heralded as a celebration of the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

Now here’s the interesting part. Signature Productions has been presenting the best in show business for a minimal cost to patrons over the last 22 years and will continue to do so for one amazing reason : The performers don’t get paid. You read that correctly. The performers not only participate gratis, they eagerly audition for the roles they play.

“They perform for free, and many of them are from among the best in show business,” said Dr. Karl M. Larsen. And he should know. Larsen is a doctor of optometry who happens to be one of the founders of Signature Productions. He’s also president of the company’s board of directors.

“We do pay some of the people connected to our productions, like those who provide technical services, such as choreography, lighting and set builders,” Larsen said. “But the amounts they receive are nothing more than a token or a stipend. It comes down to an almost insignificant amount.”

And if you think the performers are inferior because they don’t get paid, then guess again.

“They’re all highly talented people who happen to live in Las Vegas,” Larsen said. “Many of them performed professionally for years, all over the country.”

Their credits commonly include off-Broadway, national tours, cruise ships, television shows and films. But as Larsen pointed out, often they tire of traveling and prefer to come home.

“We audition, and that’s how we find our people. Most performers in town know who we are,” Larsen explained. “We used to have an audition list of more than a thousand, but it got expensive notifying them. So now we just use our website. A lot of the same people return from one production to another.”

Performing on the stage is their passion, even though they all have other jobs.

“Some are lawyers; some are doctors; some are teachers,” Larsen said. “They come from a variety of professions.”

One of the star performers of “Singin’ i n t he Rain,” Kelly Albright, who played the role of Lina Lamont, is a real estate broker. Another star performer, David McMullen, who played Cosmo Brown, is a schoolteacher. The show’s artistic director, Leslie Fotheringham, spent many years on the stage before becoming a full-time mom.

Signature Productions presents four shows a year at the Summerlin Library’s Performing Arts Center, 1771 Inner Circle Drive, and has done so since moving to Summerlin 15 years ago, Larsen said.

“When we formed the group in 1989, we had our own Signature Playhouse on Charleston Boulevard,” he said. “But a few years later they tore down the building. We moved from one place to another until we settled into the Summerlin Performing Arts Center.”

Ticket prices for shows are in the $15 to $25 range, depending on whether you’re a student, an adult or a senior citizen. Other income includes grants from the Nevada Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts and various private contributions.

However, Signature Productions has considerable expenses, some of which include costumes, rental of the library theater and rental of the Nevada Ballet Theatre , which also is in the Performing Arts Center, for all rehearsals. In addition, the company rents a large facility for storage and construction of sets.

So why do the performers work for no pay?

“They love what they do,” Larsen said.

It’s that simple.

Herb Jaffe was an op-ed columnist and investigative reporter for most of his 39 years at the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. He is the author of the novels “Falling Dominoes” and “One At A Time.” Contact him at hjaffe@cox.net.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
3 Centennial High School students killed in Calif. crash (Full)
Three Centennial High School students were killed Thursday morning in Southern California when their vehicle was struck by a suspected drunken driver while they were enjoying their spring break, according to a family member of one of the victims.
Retail Restroom Sexual Assault Suspect
Las Vegas police are asking for help finding a man they said groped a woman in a south Las Vegas Valley restroom. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Mojave Max at Springs Preserve
File footage of Mojave Max at Springs Preserve. (Springs Preserve)
Companies bet their futures on cryptocurrency
Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs talk about finding their niche in blockchain enabled technologies and digital currency.
Solar panels reduce energy bill for CCSD
Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School is one of 42 CCSD schools with solar panel installations, saving approximately $514,000 per year in energy costs.
Red carpet at MGM for Dan Reynolds Believer screening
Kats on the red carpet for the VIP screening of "Believer," the documentary by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds about how the Mormon Church treats its LGBTQ members.
Driver dies in single-vehicle crash
One person is dead after an early Wednesday morning crash in the northwest valley. The single-vehicle crash was called in about 1:35 a.m. on Jones Boulevard just north of Deer Springs Way, according to Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Robert Stauffer. The driver, who was the only person inside the vehicle, died at the scene.
Uber Health to Improve Patient Ride-Hailing Services
Uber Health to Improve Patient Ride-Hailing Services On Thursday, Uber launched its Uber Health platform for healthcare providers. Medical facilities, rehab centers, clinics and hospitals can book rides for patients from a centralized dashboard – no app required. According to Techcrunch, Uber Health general manager Chris Weber noted some 3.6 million Americans miss appointments due to lack access to reliable transportation. Uber’s endeavors into health care trace back to 2014, when Uber first offered on-demand flu shots in large markets across the U.S. Since then there have been similar efforts throughout the world, from diabetes and thyroid testing in India, to subsidized rides for breast cancer screening in the U.S., to many more. Last summer, over 100 healthcare organizations joined the platform during a private beta. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Herb Jaffe Video
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like