The Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre certainly is a surprise to many the first time they venture about on our installation. How is it a military community would support the arts? Surely there’s a catch? Compromises in set design, choreography, or talent? Less than professional productions? Poor production selection?
Nope. The Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre has won multiple awards for its productions, set design, choreography, direction and more. An annual season, selected and managed by the talented Steven Walpert, consists of highly popular productions that span all genres from musicals to drama, punctuated by participation in Army Entertainment programs such as Operation Rising Star and The Soldier Show.
A popular destination for the local arts community, the Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre is open to the public and welcomes volunteers. In fact, without volunteers it would be near impossible for the Theatre to operate. Auditions are held for each production and anyone is welcome to audition and participate in the production, whether as a cast member or behind the scenes. I asked director, Steve Walpert, about this awesome program and his hopes for the coming year.
When did the Dinner Theatre program come into existence and were you part of this development?
The Dinner Theatre became part of the Music and Theatre program in about 1978-9; and yes, I was the first – and so far only – director of the Dinner Theatre Program.
What does the Theatre offer the community?
The theatre offers a well-rounded season of live theatre comedies, musicals and mysteries for both patrons and also participants onstage and off.
What about individuals who want to get involved?
We are always looking for new folks to get involved. They can contact us through the box office, 706-793-8552, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You have a wonderful season lined up for the coming year! What are you most looking forward to?
I am looking for what I always want when I begin a new season or production, the opportunity to create something special onstage for our patrons, with a group of enthusiastic actors, staff and crew who all share the same goal.
Thank you Steve – is there anything you would like to add?
I am especially proud of our Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, Fort Gordon and the Army, who recognize the value of a program like ours. Participating in the creation of a live theatrical or musical production is an amazing opportunity to have fun while learning team-building, self esteem, public speaking, performing techniques, carpentry, and a wide variety of other skills.
It also shows the community that we care about and recognize the importance of enriching Service and Family members’ lives via the Fine Arts. It’s important we are able to offer this opportunity as part of the Military community’s overall quality of life; and it has been very forward-thinking of the Army to continue this tradition since the formulation of the U.S. Army Music and Theatre program back in the mid 1960’s.