On Saturday, July 6, theater lovers from across the area congregated at a private home for The Spot’s annual fundraiser and season announcement.
The artistic staff of this popular fringe theater in Ketchum addressed their patrons, associates, young company and well-wishers to announce the five-play lineup for their 2019-20 season.
Frequent Spot collaborator and patron Matt Gorby kicked off the evening’s proceedings, introducing The Spot’s leaders and legacy, concisely saying, “What these guys have done in this town in just five short years is nothing less than remarkable.”
Throughout the evening, Spot co-founders Yanna Lantz and Brett Moellenberg elaborated upon Gorby’s point, relating the story of The Spot’s origins, its artistic mission and how important sponsorship is to the continuation of the nonprofit theater’s productions.
“We started The Spot in 2014 with $3,000—first and last month’s rent we cobbled together in our post-college existence,” Lantz said.
Moellenberg related the tale of how The Spot first acquired its location on Lewis Street in Ketchum’s light industrial district. Before settling on that location, he said, “We pursued another space and went nearly all the way into signing that lease, and the owner pulled out because he didn’t believe in what we were doing. Five years later, our Spot is super vibrant, and that space is still vacant.”
These stories and more, told throughout the evening, painted a picture of a small but dedicated group of artists who defied the odds—and continue to do so—to carve out a place in the Wood River Valley’s bustling arts scene. Their productions divert from the beaten path, nudge the proverbial envelope as far as they can and, through the Spot Young Company, help to forge the next generation of creative minds. The fifth season promises to continue that mission.
The 2019-20 season begins next month with “American Hero” by Bess Wohl, a comedy about a trio of sandwich-makers who fight to save their toasted sub franchise before it goes under.
“This timeless, quirky comedy is about creativity and the drive of everyday people to succeed one sandwich at a time,” Lantz said.
In October, The Spot will reprise a Halloween favorite: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” During the event on Saturday, the Spot staff announced this season installment with a full cast performance of that musical’s most popular number, “The Time Warp.”
Each year, the Spot Young Company, composed entirely of local students and produced for free, courtesy of a generous endowment from the Wood River Women’s Foundation, produces a full-fledged musical. In December of 2019, the company will take on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cats,” one of the longest-running, most successful Broadway musicals of all time.
January will see the season’s third and final musical, “Fun Home,” by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori. This five-time Tony award-winning Broadway sensation is based on the wildly popular graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel.
The season will conclude next May with the irreverently titled “Stupid F---ing Bird,” by Aaron Posner. Spot co-founder Natalie Battistone described it as “a play that takes one of the greats and reconfigures it into a heartbreaking, hilarious, harrowing production—a dark comedy, contemporary retelling of Chekhov’s ‘The Seagull.’ It will be an unforgettable way to end our fifth season at The Spot.”
A paddle-up fundraiser followed the announcement, securing vital resources for the production of the new season.
“With your help, we will continue to be a staple of Sun Valley, providing a safe space where everyone is welcome to learn, grow, love and share in the performing arts,” Lantz told the audience.
Learn more about The Spot, its artistic philosophy and the upcoming fifth theatrical season at spotsunvalley.com.