DRACUT — Start with a pain-in-the-neck actress, and a studio crew intent on keeping the prima dona from securing the lead role in an upcoming film, and you have the makings of Gone With The Breeze.com, this year’s St. Francis Parish musical production.
The production, based on a novel by Tim Kelly with music by Bill Francoeur and directed by Linda Trouville, features a 40-member cast and about a dozen stage hands, producers, and musicians. It is the eighth parish play, and each year it gets bigger and better, according to Trouville.
“It’s always just so much fun and it draws the church membership closer as a family,” she said. “And it’s that bond that keeps them coming back.”
Gone With The Breeze.com features more musical numbers than previous productions, thanks in large part to the choreography of Mareena Sullivan, a drama student at Fitchburg State College who is helping the cast dust off their dance moves. Their talents are especially highlighted in the second half of the musical, which includes a phenomenal 35-minute medley of dance and song as the characters search for jobs on the Internet.
The church group’s annual plays have also become more high-tech over the years. “Philip Noyes is our technical guy and he just comes up with some amazing ideas,” Trouville said.
Some of the numbers, like “Through The Years,” will be sung while photos of past entertainers are shown on a screen. “Thanks For The Memories” features footage of Bob Hope and the USO shows, and in a special tribute, “The Wind Beneath My Wings” is sung while photos of area veterans are displayed in the background.
Veterans are invited to attend both shows, where they will be honored by the cast and crew during that number. “We feel that as long as we are involved in a conflict, we should continue to dedicate a part of the show to our veterans,” Trouville said.
The show takes place at the Dracut High School Auditorium on Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 30 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 each with all proceeds going to the Dracut Food Pantry and Cor Unum Food Kitchen in Methuen. They are available at the door or by calling Pauline Nutter at 978-453-8238. Trouville is hoping to sell out both shows in an effort to boost those charities.
“We usually sell out on Saturday night and we come close on Sunday so I would tell people to get their tickets early,” she said.