I’ve been busy with various balls up in the air at once and, unfortunately, the blog has suffered. But, no blog posts does not mean I’ve not been shooting. I’ll likely have 17 theatrical productions added to my portfolio this year in addition to other shoots. In fact, I recently shot three shows on successive evenings. Whew!

One of those three was Mantorville Theatre Company’s production of Nevermore, a rock opera fictionalized telling of the life of Edgar Allan Poe. The music is fantastic – and nearly all lines are sung. Those that aren’t are still delivered in metered verse. Denise Ruemping introduced me to the music. When she described the look – costumes and lighting – I volunteered to photograph the show. It sounded like a show that would be a challenge to shoot and would produce some cool photos for the portfolio.

The Mantorville theatre uses an old, and small, opera house in “downtown” Mantorville. They’re known mainly for their series of melodramas they produce every summer. But they’ve been branching out in recent years. This show was a major departure for them, and even a bit risky given their usual repertoire and audience.

So they scheduled this show during their fall dinner theatre slot. Then they put together an amazing cast and crew with some of the best talent in the area. I imagine it didn’t hurt that folks fell in love with the show and wanted to be a part of it.

As usual, I showed up during one of the final dress rehearsals. I’d seen a few photos and videos shared on Facebook leading up to the opening and had a rough idea what to expect visually, although cell phone cameras tend to be less than ideal for theatre photos.

My expectations were high, though, and I was just a little worried it would not quite meet what I expected. Then, my photos would be good but not so special as I’d hoped. And others’ expectations of what I’d produce would be dashed as well. You really just never know.

Such are the fears of a photographer, hoping to make good photographs, hoping the viewers of those photos would find them engaging at least.

The fears were quickly squashed as the rehearsal began, and I began seeing images appear on the back of my camera (I love digital!). This shoot was going to be special and going to easily match or exceed my hopes for the evening.

I was lucky to be able to attend a performance a week after opening night, when I could sit back and relax and take it all in without the camera. From all I’ve heard, the risky move by the theatre paid off. Good attendance the first weekend led to huge word-of-mouth and sold-out performances for most of the run.

I drive to Austin tonight to shoot She Loves Me at Riverland, and next week I’ll be shooting Every Christmas Story Ever Told at the Rochester Rep. And I still have photos to work from Blithe Spirit I shot last week at the beautiful Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing.

So, yep, keeping busy. And somehow it’s November already and almost Thanksgiving, and Christmas will be here before we know it. If you don’t hear from me here again before then, have a wonderful holiday season! Even without any travel to speak of this year, it’s been a good year so far, and I have a couple big trips on the books for 2018. I hope you’re having a good year, too!