The annual Silver Plume melodrama is as much fun as it is a fund-raiser to help restore the town’s historic buildings.
This year’s 37th annual melodrama is no exception, and as in the 36 years before it, this show is written and directed by local George Downing.
The volunteer actors, some of whom have been part of the melodramas for decades, enjoy participating in the production, in addition to supporting a worthwhile cause. Proceeds go to the nonprofit People for Silver Plume.
The idea for this year’s show, ‘Singing for Your Supper, or Will Work For …,’ comes from Joanie Register, a longtime participant and the show’s costumer.
“She came up with the idea of groups singing in a contest,” Downing said. “I made it so the groups are interacting as the show goes on.”
There’s no actual contest in the melodrama, but there is a lot of singing as the groups — young women, young men and moms — prepare.
Downing writes the song lyrics, then several cast members, including Pauline Marshall, John Wilson, Mark Castellano and Regester, write the melodies.
Costumes are an important part of the show, yet there hasn’t been a dress rehearsal in years, Downing said. Dress rehearsal is synonymous with opening night.
Regester, according to Downing, has a room in her house dedicated to the costumes. Many are recycled from year to year, with changes made so they fit that the currents theme and the cast members.
Costumes are part Regester’s creations, part recycled old clothing, and part antiques.
“We reuse costumes over and over until they are threadbare, and then I make more,” she quipped.
“(Joanie) doesn’t throw anything away,” Downing said. “She has something she will modify and change into something else, so it works in the show.”
Both Downing and Regester know it takes time and dedication on everyone’s part to pull off the production each year.
“It’s such a good group of people,” Regester said. “It’s such a group effort, and everyone brings so much to it. That’s how it happens every year.”