Way Off Broadway Community Players’ 19 year history…in Brief
WOBCP came about because the Treasure of the Hills Senior Center, in which Jeanne Feldin played a large part, wanted to do a Library Fund Raiser, at the Cedar Park Library. Jeanne, who had been a member of a couple of theatrical groups in her plus or minus 70 years, had the idea of doing a play. She got in touch with several people who knew people and decided to do a play she wrote, Body in the Antique Settee, which Francine Barnes directed. Suzan Kizer, Ken Malin, Phil Duprey, Ed Trujillo, and several others were part of the cast. Body in the Antique Settee ran, to great success, for two weekends. It was at this time that Jeanne excitedly thought that since the response was so good it was possible Leander/Cedar Park could support a real community theatre. A few of Settee cast and crew members became members of the newly formed Way Off Broadway Community Players after its inception. (Some of the cast and crew waited several years to become involved with the new theatre, some never returned.) Jeanne hand selected a board, including Ken, Suzan, Francine and Tracy (who was also appointed the Newsletter Writer/Editor). Setting up the new theatre, we met several times in different places, to select plays and decide upon a name for the group and officially form the group. Skip Dunnett and Dave Bachmann were also part of this process. (Ed decided he had other things to do and disappeared for a few years) It was jokingly said that since we were pretty durn far from New York, we could be the Way Off Broadway Community Players. However, everyone liked that name, and we officially became Way Off Broadway Community Players. We had Kevin Middleton design our variation of the comedy/tragedy masks – and since we are in Texas, the masks wear cowboy hats…
Our first season, 1997 – 1998, was comprised of two shows, Murder on the Rerun (where Dave first started plying his construction guru-ness) and Red Hot and Romantic (co-written by Jeanne Feldin and Drew Grindstaff). The first was done at the LEO Center, the second was done at the CP Library. Our first Annual General Meeting was held at the library after the close of Red Hot and Romantic, where we officially voted in our new slate of board members.
Our 4th season, 2000-2001, started with Rumors, and in December of that year, we were burned out of the LEO on the Thursday evening prior to our second weekend of Farndale…Christmas Carol. After literally camping out at LISD’s offices, the superintendant, Bill, was able to find us a school in which to perform, but since they had a dance scheduled for that evening, we couldn’t perform on Friday. The cast and several volunteers helped move the set and costumes to the CP Middle School on Friday and then reconstructed it on the cafetorium stage Saturday Morning, performing that Saturday evening. We had to have more techies helping back stage since the light system was basically several dimmers on each side of the stage.
We were able to finish out the run for that show, and produce Deathtrap at that location. For our next show, Arsenic and Old Lace, we were able to use the Bagdad Elementary school. In May, 2001, we were fortunate enough to be able to use the empty grocery store at Buttercup Commons, where we had to completely clean out and move the left behind freezers (and mystery cans of food), clean and buff the floors, build the stage, tech booth, dressing rooms, concession area, restroom area and staged Female Odd Couple, (in the space of a couple of weeks) which is where we stayed for the next 3 seasons, making improvements along the way to our new space. One of the good thing about no longer being in the school system is that we could perform year round (the school district stored their books on the LEO stage during the summer months).
During our 7th season, 2003-2004, beginning with Moon Over Buffalo, we lost our space but were able to convince the landlord to let us finish out our season there. Our last show at the Buttercup space was Critic’s Choice. After a difficult search, we were able to find our former location, located off of Crystal Falls Pkwy, and again, with a lot of help from volunteers, we were able to move our entire theatre to the new space, build it out AND rehearse for our Melodrama, Showdown at Bittercreek Saloon, which was our big fundraiser for the year. This was our home for 5 seasons, where we again made many improvements.
With the support of Leander, August 2010 marked the beginning of our new home with our 9th Annual Melodrama, Blame it on the Pony Express. Our current home is located in Bldg 4, 11880 West FM 2243 (1 mile west of Highway 183 North, and 0.1 miles east of Bagdad Rd) in Leander, Texas. We are now beginning our 19th season with Oscar Wilde’s classic comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest.
In true theatre tradition, we have been making many improvements to our home and always welcome new volunteers to the “family.” We have many areas for both seasoned and novice people of all skill levels who are interested in all aspects of the theatre: on stage, back stage, in the tech booth, building sets, manning the box office and concessions during our shows, fund raising and helping to get the word out about the theatre and our shows. Please let us know if you would like to be a volunteer.
We are proud of the increasing support from our audiences and patrons, and look forward to bringing the magic of theatre with quality entertainment for many years to come. We welcome everyone to come see our shows, relax and enjoy the original 3-D shows…Live Theatre!