Babes In Arms – What an absolute delight!

When my long-time friend and former teaching colleague, Art Fidler, asked me back in January if I was interested in taking on the task of preparing the Program for Silver Spotlight Theatre’s inaugural production, Babes In Arms, it did not really take a lot of persuasion on his part.

The prospect of being part of a new Broadway musical group made up of people 55+ was intriguing (I am a young 71) and the chance to work alongside the human dynamo known as Art Fidler was a bonus.

Putting together the program also reminded me of the five years I published The Beat Magazine (2009-2014), “London’s premier leading source of informed local arts news, commentary and timely reviews,” as we billed ourselves. Here was another chance to roll up my sleeves and get busy turning out the best print publication possible.

What started out as a modest plan of producing a 16-page B&W program with a colour cover, soon grew to a 20-page full colour program, then 24 pages, then 28 pages, and finally a 32-page final product.

Soliciting sufficient advertising to cover the costs of a 32-page full colour Program proved to be relatively easy for two basic reasons: The novelty of a theatre group comprised of adults 55+ (it’s a demographic that buys stuff) and the name Art Fidler.

Is there anyone in London who was not a student of Art’s or who came into contact with him at London Musical Theatre (which he helped found in 1988), or the Original Kids Theatre Company?

The mere mention of Art’s name immediately got my foot in the door in most cases. Programs often lose money. In our case, the Babes In Arms Program not only covered all the costs incurred in its production, it turned a tidy profit.

The high quality of the program was due in large part to the overly generous donated branding and graphic design work put in by BIA cast member and former student of Art’s, Mary-Ellen Willard (Daisy) and her team at adHOME Creative, one of London’s premier full-service advertising and digital agencies. In my humble opinion, the agency has created a program that will be a keepsake for all cast and crew members and their families and friends.

While the play was in rehearsal for weeks leading up to the March 24th opening, my partner in crime, Val Cavalini and I worked away behind the scenes putting the program together.

We saw the production for the first time on Saturday, March 25 on the Grand Theatre’s Auburn Stage. As I wrote in my Saturday night Facebook post: “Wow, Babes, just wow! I don’t think I have ever been as thoroughly entertained for two hours as I was tonight. Great performances, costumes and musical numbers. Congratulations to all cast and crew members for staging this wonderful production!”

Unrestrained laughter and applause were the order of the night and a much deserved prolonged standing ovation ushered the cast off the stage after two hours of pure delightful community musical theatre.

Afterwards, cast and crew members mingled with family and friends in the lobby in what can only be described as a mutual love-in. Flowers were given and hugs and kisses were exchanged.

Isn’t this what community theatre should be all about?

The play continues its run on the Auburn Stage until Sunday, April 2 when the Babes will say farewell for the last time. If you are one of the lucky ones to have tickets to this SOLD OUT show, enjoy!

Now, I wonder what Art has up his sleeve for next year’s Silver Spotlight Theatre production?

Here’s a Link to the Flipping Book version of the Babes In Arms Program for those people who will not be able to attend any of the performances:

(Photo Credits: Babes In Arms Cast & Crew – Ross Davidson, Art Fidler Pic – Jim Cressman.)

One thought on “Babes In Arms – What an absolute delight!

  1. Read Rick’s great blog and then take a look-see at our half-page ad on page 6 of the program. Design credit to Brian Normandeau. Fun! Audrey



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