Farewell, Dreamweavers—Hello, Napa Valley Players

After almost 30 years, the community troupe is changing its policies and adopting a new name in 2012.

The upcoming comedy will be the final production for Napa's Dreamweavers Theatre.

But that doesn't mean the nearly 30-year-old community troupe is closing up shop.

Instead, the organization is changing its name to Napa Valley Players and introducing some new operational policies as it announces its 2012 season.

"We're trying to pattern ourselves on other North Bay community theaters," said troupe board member Barry Martin, who starred in Kiss Me, Kate at Santa Rosa's 6th Street Playhouse earlier this year.

Martin praised the Ross Valley Players in Marin County: "In my opinion they don’t have as good a space as we do, but the quality of productions has been very high," he said.

One of the biggest changes to the all-volunteer Dreamweavers model is that Napa Valley Players will pay its directors and some actors, as do other regional troupes.

"Community theaters today pay people for specific tasks," Martin said, adding that Dreamweavers has already begun paying stipends to its directors.

"I told them when I joined the board that I would never entertain the idea of directing a show for zero (pay)," he said. "It's a phenomenal amount of of hours and it's very stressful."

Some actors may also receive stipends to offset their expenses, continued Martin, who said he "spent a fortune" commuting to the Santa Rosa shows and that the 6th Street Players' stipend didn't come close to covering his costs.

"It makes it more likely you’ll say yes to a role," he explained.

But volunteers remain central to the troupe's existence: "We're still definitely looking for volunteers for all the different aspects" of productions, Martin said.

"Creating policies that allow us to compensate people for their skills and training doesn’t mean it’s now a business," he said.

"We’re not there to make a profit," Martin continued.

"We can keep our ticket price at $20 and still do these things."

Snowing at Delphi opens Dec. 2 on the Dreamweavers stage at 1637 Imola Ave. For more information: dreamweaverstheatre.org.

From the website, here's the full season announced by the Napa Valley Players this week:

Fully Committed by Becky Mode
On stage January 19-29, 2012
Perfect for the foodie Napa Valley, Fully Committed is a one-man show that the New York Times called a "mocking dismantlement of megalomaniacal chefs, coked-up maitres d'hotel, food-averse V.I.P.'s, strung-out publicity agents and customers with exploding bowels." Well-known Bay Area actor Dan Saski brings his skills to portraying 40 characters in this hilarious romp, recently seen at 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa.

Mauritius by Theresa Rebeck
On stage February 16-March 4, 2012
After their mother's death, two estranged half-sisters discover a book of rare stamps that may include the crown jewel for collectors. One sister tries to collect on the windfall, while the other resists for sentimental reasons. In this gripping tale, a seemingly simple sale becomes dangerous when three seedy, high-stakes collectors enter the sisters' world, willing to do anything to claim the rare find as their own.

The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan
On stage March 9-March 18, 2012
Produced by New Technology High School 

Special Project TBA
On stage April 22-April 29, 2012

Leading Ladies by Ken Ludwig
On stage May 10-May 27, 2012
In this hilarious comedy by the author of Lend Me A Tenor and Moon Over Buffalo, two English Shakespearean actors find themselves so down on their luck that they’re performing "Scenes from Shakespeare" on the Moose Lodge circuit in the Amish country of Pennsylvania. When they hear that an old lady in York, PA is about to die and leave her fortune to her two long lost English nephews, they resolve to pass themselves off as her beloved relatives and get the cash. The trouble is, when they get to York, they find out that the relatives aren't nephews, but nieces. Hilarity ensues, as guaranteed by this master-of-farce author.

25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee by Rebecca Feldman and William Finn
On stage June 14-July 1
The Tony-award winning musical comedy featuring six quirky adolescents and three quirky adults competing in the bee at the fictional Putnam Valley Middle School. A real audience favorite with real audience participation!

The Dixie Swim Club by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten
On stage August 30-September 16, 2012
Five Southern women, who met years ago on their college swim team, reunite once a year at the same beach cottage on North Carolina's Outer Banks to catch up, laugh and meddle in each other's lives. The Dixie Swim Club spans a period of thirty-three years.  This comedy of enduring friendship is hilarious, poignant, touching and unforgettable.

Souvenir by Stephen Temperley
On stage October 10-October 28, 2012
Set in a Greenwich Village supper club in 1964, “Souvenir” relates the musical career of Florence Foster Jenkins, a wealthy socialite with a famously uncertain sense of pitch and key. In 1932, she met mediocre pianist Cosmé McMoon, and over the next dozen years their bizarre partnership yielded hilariously off-key recitals that became the talk of New York, earned them cultish fame, and culminated in a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall in 1944.

8 x 10: The Napa Valley Players 10-Minute Play Festival
On stage November 29-December 9
A Co-Production with Lucky Penny Productions
Napa Valley Players will present the first-ever theatrical event of this type in Napa, showcasing new works written for this competition. The program will consist of eight separate plays of no more than ten minutes each, chosen from all the entries into the contest by a "blind" reading committee of experienced local theatre artists. For the audience, a series of short, new plays makes for a fresh and energetic experience. For directors and actors, it’s a chance to develop skills by working on a variety of situations and characters. And for emerging and established writers, it’s an opportunity to see the words go from the page to the stage.



Dan Monez November 20, 2011 at 07:42 PM
I wish Napa Valley Players the best for the future. Hopefully, these changes will serve to strengthen the company and ensure your place in the Napa Valley arts scene. Community theater is an important element of a vibrant and accessible arts and entertainment community. Having spent about 20 years in various capacities with Dreamweavers, (including Board President when we decided to bite the bullet and move to the current location and turn it into a theater space), I would just urge the current board to always keep in mind who your core audience is and continue to serve them. That is not to say you shouldn't develop and add new audience demographics, but just remember who has been loyally sitting in those seats for the past 30 years paying the bills. Like Barry, I too have been out performing in other theater companies in the Northbay and have found few as successful or long lasting as Dreamweavers. In fact many are in dire financial trouble and in danger of closing the doors. Keep what's been working and change what hasn't worked so well and you will be here for another 30 years! As we say in theater, "Break a leg"! Or maybe in this case Mr. Spock's famous Vulcan line is more appropriate, "Live Long and Prosper"!
Kristina Young November 21, 2011 at 07:10 PM
Go Napa Valley Players!


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