Theatre surrounds Judi Rodman’s life: she received her master’s degree in the performing arts, she started a theatre company in Illinois 40 years ago and one of her partners on stage turned into her partner in life. So when she moved to the Tucson area a few years ago, she naturally made her mark in the local theatre community as well.
After a successful one-woman show of “The Belle of Amherst” last December, Rodman began to wonder: why doesn’t Oro Valley have its own theatre company?
“It’s a fabulous city that is so dedicated to the arts,” Rodman said. “It could definitely use a theatre company.”
Rodman discussed the idea with her husband (town councilmember Bill Rodman), then with a few friends in the industry around town, ultimately even talking with the mayor about the possibilities. Soon, a board of eight interested individuals gathered and has held meetings since July. Thus, The Oro Valley Theatre Company formed.
“When I began telling people of the new Theatre Company, the reaction was been overwhelmingly enthusiastic,” Rodman said. “I recall one actress even said ‘oh! This is what I’ve been yearning for.’”
That actress was Sue Bishop, who is now a member of the OVTC board.
“My dream for a long time has been to have a theatre company up here, then one day I got a call that Judi was looking to start one,” Bishop said.
Bishop has acted in local theatre performances for many years, previously working both on and off stage, acting and working publicity with the St. Francis Theatre. This type of varied skillset is shared among members of the OVTC board, who take on multiple roles to help the new theatre flourish.
“We all took different bits and pieces of the work that we’re good at to help make this happen,” Bishop said.
Another multitalented member is vice chairman of the board, Marty Waters, who started singing and performing at a very young age for any and all who would listen. Waters also hoped for the creation of a theatre company in Oro Valley for years, and when she found out one was being formed, eagerly jumped on-board.
“I know it will be a great way to make new friends and bring together the whole community,” Waters said. “There is lots of enthusiasm.”
OVTC’s first performance is scheduled to be Thornton Wilder’s play “Our Town,” and it will take place in celebration not only of Oro Valley itself, but on the 43rd anniversary of the town being incorporated.
“If I ever started a theatre company around here, I would want to do ‘Our Town’, and it just so happened that’s exactly what Judi is doing,” Bishop said.
OVTC will perform a teaser at the Oro Valley Country Club, 10 days before their official debut, held at the Gaslight Music Hall, April 25, 26 and 29.
The burgeoning theatre company has many requirements and shoes to fill beyond what the members of the board can do, but luckily the community has already stepped in to lend a hand.
“It’s been quite miraculous,” Waters said. “People come up to us and are willing to do anything just to help out. All ages and all types of people want to get involved.”
“I have not had one negative response about the idea. And that has been our driving force, the overwhelmingly talented town,” Rodman said. “It is primetime for a prime community.”
The Oro Valley Theatre Company is holding auditions for any and all interested in the Tucson Community. Not just for acting, but also costume and prop designers, stage hands, and anyone else that would like to help. Auditions are being held on Feb. 26 and 28 at 6 to 9 p.m. at the Leman Academy For Excellence (12255 N. La Cañada Drive).
Oro Valley Theatre Company can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org or at (520) 742-5871