Amid pandemic, after fire, Camelot Theater set for comeback in Talent – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News
Courtney Crawford, left, Kristen Calvin and Mia Gaskin in Camelot’s “Spotlight” production, “Bette Midler: The Divine Miss M.” Photo by Steve Sutfin
Camelot Artistic Director Shawn Ramagos, left, and Executive Director Dann Hauser, on stage at the Collier Theater in Talent. Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune
Audiences returning to the Talent’s Camelot Theater will see more than a building that survived the devastating Almeda fire last year largely intact. Improvements in audio, visuals, lighting and even air quality are the result of Camelot’s 19-month shutdown, precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The sound is going to be amazing,” says Dann Hauser, executive director of Camelot. “The projections are going to be phenomenal.
These cutting-edge improvements mark Camelot’s upcoming 40th season, which is a testament not only to longevity, but also endurance in the face of adversity. A community that lost so much on September 8, 2020, has rallied once again to bring Camelot into the next era of Talent, Hauser said.
“We feel really grateful,” he says. “A lot of things went well.”
Wind-whipped flames that devoured the structures between Highway 99 and the east side of downtown Talent came dangerously close to the James Morrison Collier Theater on the corner of East Main Street and Talent Avenue. The firefighters drew a line at the stucco landmark as the wind turned in their favor, says Hauser. And just the day before, he adds, the owner of the vacant property behind the theater mowed some 3-foot-tall grass, little realizing that the cleanup would provide a defensible space against wildfires in just a few hours. .
“This stucco can rise quite quickly,” explains Hauser.
But the theater’s metal roof ignored the blown embers, Hauser says, and the site’s only visible losses were the landscaping and part of the left-hand entrance column, which was lightly burnt. After a day of worrying about rumors and how the theater behaved – including possibly looting – Hauser sailed back roads from Medford to Talent town center.
“There were still embers flying,” Hauser recalls. “I half expected to see half the theater there.”
Barely understanding how the Collier Theater was virtually unscathed, Hauser sailed inside the black building to retrieve his database as a precaution. Camelot staff and volunteers spent the next year cleaning up and organizing to make room for new equipment and technology while Hauser “tuned the writing like crazy.”
“The government has invested a lot of money to help small businesses and the arts,” he says. “We also have a lot of donors; the funds came from everywhere.
Hauser himself created the “Theater Strong” campaign, which worked locally with theater companies Oregon Cabaret and Randall, as well as live theater groups nationwide, to sell wristbands with the slogan . This effort raised $ 25,000 for Camelot alone, Hauser says. And many ticket holders for the 2020 and 2021 seasons have “donated” the refunds offered by Camelot, he adds.
“I saw it inaugurate – how important live entertainment is to the community,” says Mary Jane Morrison, an avid Camelot volunteer.
The community’s ROI is Camelot’s 2022 season, celebrated with crowd-pleasing musicals and Camelot’s signature “Spotlight” look at the lives and works of beloved musicians. The season opens on January 6 with an exclusive presentation of American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, impressionist and actor Bobby Darin. Camelot’s musical finale, “Matilda”, will run from November 23 through December 31, 2022.
In between, the public can anticipate the musicals “Honeymoon in Vegas”, “Catch Me if You Can”, “Legally Blonde” in collaboration with the Oregon Conservatory of Performing Arts and the namesake of the theater “Camelot”, reinvented. in a modern metal foundry. whose knights and nobles are workers. The spotlight pays homage to Roy Orbison, Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
First up, Hauser says he’s hoping to get this season’s final spotlight on Bette Midler, which is slated to open on September 30 and wrap up 2021 with the musical “Elf,” which premieres November 24 through December 31.
Showtime’s vocals and instrumentals emanate from a new column of speakers on either side of the stage, says Hauser, explaining that the addition addresses “dead spots,” despite the cutting edge technology when the Collier Theater was. built a decade ago. A new digital projector complements the new LED lighting, which also keeps the theater cooler and reduces air conditioning costs, Hauser explains.
Camelot saved even more money by organizing its backstage, allowing the theater to end leases for storage, he adds. The building air filtration is also more robust.
See details to subscribe to the 2022 season at camelottheatre.org/season-subscriptions/