Orange Beach performing arts program grows like greased lightning

The Expect Excellence program announces auditions for a spring performance of “Grease”

By Melanie LeCroy
Posted 10/23/19

If you haven’t had the chance to sit and chat with the City of Orange Beach’s Creative Director Jessica Langston you are missing out. That is, if you can catch her.

Langston plans city …

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Orange Beach performing arts program grows like greased lightning

The Expect Excellence program announces auditions for a spring performance of “Grease”

Posted

If you haven’t had the chance to sit and chat with the City of Orange Beach’s Creative Director Jessica Langston you are missing out. That is, if you can catch her.

Langston plans city events, she serves as the Expect Excellence’s art director, and she produces many of the productions for the Orange Beach Performing arts program. In her free time she creates new programs and writes plays.

Perhaps the best way to get to know Langston, is to see her in action.

One of her creations, “The Violinist,” will be performed Oct. 30 at the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach. The murder mystery dinner will be an adult only evening of music, entertainment, food and drinks with a 1920s theme. The three-course dinner will be catered by Anchor Bar & Grill and cocktails and jazz will begin at 6 p.m.

This fun evening is a fundraiser for the Performing Arts spring musical, “Grease.”

“It is an incredible experience, but the royalties are one of the most expensive I have ever dealt with,” Langston said. “Our city is so supportive and is willing to make this investment in the children. It never ceases to amaze me how they are willing to go above and beyond.”

“Willy Wonka” was the community’s first show with the program.

“I don’t think our community knew what to expect. I don’t know that we knew what to expect,” Langston said.

During brainstorming sessions with Expect Excellence Director Chase Morrissette the popular show was brought up over and over.

“I told them I didn’t know if we could do it because it’s a very complicated show and requires extreme level dancing and there’s a lot of sets,” Langston said. “I asked them if they thought we could pull it off and of course they both said, ‘Look what it took to pull off Willy Wonka and we did it.’”

The first issue she had in tackling the intricate production was finding ways to pay the hefty licensing fees.

“I work closely with one of our councilwoman Annette Mitchell and we talked about ways we could offset the cost. We know realistically, this is something that would mean so much to the children and families that get to participate but it’s a large dollar amount. She has been such a champion of the arts since the beginning and she said we will make this happen somehow,” Langston said.

“When I mentioned I had written this murder mystery seven years ago she said she thought it would be a fantastic fundraising opportunity. I talked to the Anchor Bar and Grill and they are happy to cater the evening at a reasonable price so we can keep most of the money. We will also get a portion of the cash bar. All of that money will go straight into our spring performance,” Langston said.

“The community is so excited and it’s just as we had hoped. People I would never think would even have an interest in performing arts either want to audition or are offering to help in any way possible. I think “Grease” is a part of everybody’s upbringing. Once you are a teenager you watch “Grease”,” Langston said.

Auditions for “Grease” will be Nov. 18, 19, 21 at 6 p.m. at the Orange Beach Tennis Center for ages 13 and older. Auditions for all ages will take place Nov. 22, at 6 p.m. at the Recreation Center in room MPR1.

“If anyone wants to wear their roller skates and show us their talent, we are happy to accept some car hops. We welcome any members of the community that want to help in any way. They can fill out some information and tell us what they are interested in. If there are any children younger than 13-years-old, they are welcome to try out. There is something for everyone,” Langston said.

Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre, "The Violinist," will be held Oct. 30 at Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach. Cocktail hour (cash bar) will begin at 6 p.m. with the dinner theater starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $50 per person and includes a three-course dinner catered by Anchor Bar and Grill. Purchase tickets on the city website at www.orangebeachal.gov/events/dinner-ticket. Guests must be at least 21-years-old and are encouraged to wear 1920s attire.