Oliver! (2011)

This past August, the Tustin Area Council for Fine Arts brought the community a bit of Dickens’ Victorian Britain with our Broadway in the Park production of Oliver! This story filled with old-fashioned heroes and villains, appealing waifs, and tragedy and redemption entertained the close to 4500 people who enjoyed it over the course of its five-night run. I know many of you joined us during the week of this production, but I’d like to give you a brief idea of what goes into the making of this signature program. As chair of this year’s event, I was continually impressed and amazed by the process of bringing Oliver! to life.

It began in January with the relatively small TACFA board of 24 deciding how to make our dream of presenting Tustin with a first-rate Broadway musical happen. A professional production company, Theatrical Productions Inc, was hired to make our idea a reality. The company put in many pre-show hours auditioning those great Oliver! performers, finding those talented musicians, and coordinating the perfect costumes and sets. The city of Tustin helped us with all the logistics on the ground, everything from where to set up fencing to hooking up electricity and turning off sprinklers. The city personnel were always friendly and available when needed. Our reliable community volunteers made sure everything went smoothly during performances for this year’s audience, and our on-site food vendors and raffle donors contributed to a successful and fun event.

Meanwhile, our TACFA board members and Broadway in the Park committee members were busy taking care of all the details, small and large. We got signs and banners made and hung, had tickets printed and distributed, kept track of reserved table orders, wrote press releases and gathered information for the print program, recruited and trained volunteers, and worked with on-site restaurants and non-profit vendors to ensure a good choice of food for the audience. We visited and wrote letters to potential donors and sponsors, updated the TACFA web site, designed and hosted community events to promote Broadway in the Park, and did some hard physical labor getting Peppertree Park ready for performances. Many of us were at every performance, every night, working to ensure a quality experience for all attendees.

None of this would be possible without the generous financial help of our sponsors. In spite of tough economic times, many individuals and corporations donated the necessary funding to make it all a reality. Our sponsors and donors were truly the sine qua non of this event, and we are continually grateful for their support.

But our very special partner in all this was you, the audience. Your eager anticipation to know what the year’s musical would be, your interested phone calls and pre-sale ticket purchases, your enthusiastic attention as you watched the production, and your appreciative applause made all the work worthwhile. Broadway in the Park is truly a labor of love and our gift to you, the community. Your receptive and warm response to this event is your gift back to TACFA.