Special to The PREVIEW
Thingamajig Theatre Company has just started rehearsals for its summer season with over 50 people involved from all over the country. One such person is Pia Wyatt. Wyatt is choreographing four of the five summer shows: “Legally Blonde,” “West Side Story,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Little Shop of Horrors.”
Wyatt spends most of her year in Natchitoches, La., working as a choreographer and professor at Northwestern State University. Luckily for Pagosa Springs, Wyatt decided to spend her summer as the choreographer for Thingamajig Theatre. This is her first summer in Pagosa Springs and said that so far she thinks it is fantastic. Wyatt said that, in Pagosa,”The air is clean. The sun is shining. It’s quaint and sweet.”
Rehearsals for the summer seasons started off with a bang about two weeks ago. Wyatt was struck and excited by the amazing talent and drive amongst the cast.
“Everyone here is in it to win it. Nobody is dragging their butt. Everyone is just positive and on top of their game.” With rehearsals happening almost all day and every night, the cast and crew is hard at work preparing for the openings of “Legally Blonde” (opening June 15) and “West Side Story” (opening June 22).
Wyatt actually started her journey with Thingamajig Theatre many weeks ago. She began choreographing the shows in Natchitoches after many discussions with the directors of each show. The largest challenge for Wyatt has been planning choreography for actors and dancers she has never worked with before, but it is a challenge she has embraced with both arms. Wyatt said that, “A lot of times we end up adjusting [the choreography] for the better.”
The best part of Wyatt’s choreography is how well it enhances each moment within the show. Within her directing philosophy, dance is the last resort in the effort to communicate.
“In a musical, if you are talking and talking and talking and you’re trying to get your point across… [once] you’ve exhausted all possibilities, you sing,” she said. And when singing does not work, “you dance.” The choreography this summer will be fun, moving, and really focused on adding another layer of quality to each production.
It was tough for Wyatt to pick a favorite show this summer. To her, each one has something to be excited about. Wyatt has choreographed “West Side Story” before, but the other shows each offer other exciting possibilities. “‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ has some vicious tap that is just going to be fantastic to work on,” she said. “‘Little Shop of Horrors’ is just fun … And ‘Legally Blonde’ is just pink all over the place, which [she is] just loving.” Each show has something special that makes the dancing worth experiencing in person.
Overall, Wyatt is most excited for this summer season because the different shows really deliver upon why we go to the theater in the first place: “to escape our own life, to see a mirror of our life on stage and to be able to learn.” So, come experience all Thingamajig has to offer and enjoy some Broadway in the mountains.
For information on tickets to see Wyatt’s work in action, visit the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts at pagosacenter.org or call 731- SHOW (7469).