Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre returns to the stage for its 56th season By Jillian Chandler | Photo by Jerome Pollos Photography
Since 1967, Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre (CST) has been “sharing the joy of musical theatre” with audiences, standing as a pillar of the performing arts in the community since first opening. “Over the years, as we grew, we were able to employ and engage local performers as well as attract top-tier talent from other parts of the country,” shares Jeff Rocco, who joined CST in April of 2023 as the Director of Education. “Quickly we became a well-known summer stock theatre, and we have helped launch local talent to Broadway and other professional theatres, playing an important step for them to gain experience and hone their craft.” CST, which has been named a USA Today Top 5 Regional Professional Theatre, produces professional musical theatre to bring joy to the community; it’s vision, to be the premier regional theatre organization in the Pacific Northwest.
Auditions for the season are held each year in January, with rehearsals beginning 17 days before opening night. Rehearsals typically run for a full eight-hour workday, with tech rehearsals running from the afternoon through the evening hours, the week of opening night. “Performers come to the first rehearsal ‘off book’ (their music and lines learned) ready to work with directors, music directors and choreographers to build the entire show,” says Jeff.
Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre’s 2023 season features the productions of The Sound of Music, Footloose: The Musical, and Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical. The Sound of Music kicks of the 2023 season on June 30 and continues through July 9, featuring Jenny Shotwell in the beloved role of Maria, the governess who changes the lives of the seven von Trapp children. Internationally acclaimed baritone Jose Rubio takes on the role of Captain von Trapp, and members of Chorale CDA will be featured as nuns and others.
Next up is Footloose: The Musical, which makes its debut on July 21 and runs through July 30. "To the rockin’ rhythm of its Oscar and Tony-nominated Top 40 score, augmented with dynamic new songs, Footloose celebrates the wisdom of listening to young people while guiding them with a warm heart and open mind."
To close out the season, CST presents Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical. The show hits the stage August 11 through August 20. "Pride & Prejudice is a new musical adaptation by Tony Award nominee Paul Gordon (Broadway's Jane Eyre). Based on the classic novel by Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice follows the turbulent relationship between Elizabeth Bennet, the daughter of a country gentleman, and Fitzwilliam Darcy, a rich aristocratic landowner. They must overcome the titular sins of pride and prejudice in order to fall in love and marry."
Performance times are 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday, with a 2pm Sunday matinee, all held at Schuler Performing Arts Center at North Idaho College's Boswell Hall (880 West Garden Avenue in Coeur d'Alene). “Audiences who attend our shows get a performance featuring the top regional and national professionals in the field of musical theatre right alongside talented local performers,” insists Jeff. “Many of our performers have been seen on stage across the country and in New York City. Our artistic staff—directors, choreographers, music directors—is composed of regional, national and internationally known artists who have established themselves working at the top of their individual fields. “It’s rare (unheard of) to have this caliber of musical theatre in an area the size of ours,” Jeff notes. “Getting to experience professional performers from around the country, working with local talent, is an amazing experience.”
In addition to CST’s summer season shows, they work with local amateur and educational theatres, providing support in costuming, volunteering, ticket sales and more. “When our programs are successful, we are able to share that success to support the arts in our community year-round,” Jeff affirms. Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre is a nonprofit organization, and all proceeds from ticket sales, concessions, raffles, and anything else purchased, go right back into producing professional-level entertainment and educational programming for the local community. According to Jeff, ticket proceeds don’t cover even half of the cost of producing a musical. CST relies on donations from individuals and local businesses to help them continue to produce professional musical theatre for the enjoyment of the community. This fall, CST will be launching its Musical Theatre Training Institute (MTTI). “MTTI will offer professional educational courses to individuals who want to build a career in theatre—or who are craving something more challenging,” states Jeff. “Our teaching artists have strict requirements in order to work with us, so individuals are getting real world expertise and coaching.” MTTI will be offering certificate programs in musical theatre that individuals can complete in as little as two years, spread across several years, or who choose to attend classes solely as enrichment training in the arts. The goal is to make MTTI a talent destination and hub to keep talented local performers engaged and working, while attracting performers from other regions to the area. “CST is here to help build our local artists up,” concludes Jeff. “When we work together as artists, we thrive, our local community thrives, and it is good for everyone from preschoolers to business owners. We want to be involved, we want people to know who we are and what we do, and what that means for residents of our region.” To view the 2023 season lineup and purchase tickets, and read more about Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre, visit CSTidaho.com.
Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre 4951 Building Center Drive #105 Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83815 208.254.0504 CSTidaho.com