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‘A little bit of magic’

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Posted: Friday, March 27, 2009 10:00 pm

Dale Kilpatric has been the theater production manager at Hutchins Street Square since September, and already he's helped bring about change. For one, he helped reset the rental prices for the theater, which now makes it easier for small, local theater companies to perform in a full theater. He is also hoping to enlist of the help of volunteers and even interns to not only help with large performances, but to help outside groups cut costs. Here, Kilpatric talks about what it is he does and his vision for live performance in Lodi.

Q: You've worked in theater since college, though most of it has been behind the scenes. Have you ever performed on stage?

A: I was a drama student as San Francisco State University and was on stage a couple of times, but I was mostly involved in the technical (side). I'm also a musician, so when they needed a guitar on stage, I got roped in.

Q: Do you have a favorite play?

A: I love the musicals. I've done hundreds, so it helps.

Q: What do you do as the theater production manager?

A: The biggest part is taking care of the technical aspects: Staging, lighting, sound, logistics, etc.

Q: What's the best part of your job?

A: When the curtain goes up and the lights go on. It's a little bit like magic. No matter how many times you've done it, you still get a little bit of a chill, a rush.

Q: Have you ever really missed a lighting cue?

A: (Laughs) We forget the times you mess up. Live theater is so rarely perfect.

Q: What's a recent production you enjoyed?

A: "In the Mood." It was a great show, (involving) big band music and pop culture surrounding that whole era. It was great to see all the seats full for the first time since I've been here.

Q: How many performances do you see a month?

A: I see all of the ones I work on. I love to go to ACT and see theater there. I love the San Francisco Ballet and Memorial Opera House. I recently went to New York and saw "August: Osage County." It was an incredible trip. It's a remarkable piece of theater.

Q: What kind of shows or performances would you like to see come to Hutchins Street Square?

A: I love the ballet. My dream job would be to work for a major ballet company. I'd love to get some more dance companies to perform in Lodi.

Q: Why doesn't Lodi have many dance shows?

A: Programs in general are somewhat down. This hall has been hidden. I'd love to see the community get involved … to get a new blood.

Q: You say there is a great value in volunteers and a need for them. What kind of volunteer opportunities are you hoping to offer?

A: I'd love to see more ushers (and) volunteers for technical theater or graphic arts.

We had a great program that just ended, the Regina William's workability program. Kids with Down Syndrome came in to help. They put gels away, cleaned carpets, they were a huge help. That's our mission - to open doors for the community.

Q: What is the volunteer experience like - does everyone laugh and have a good time or become friends?

A: I think there's a group that been with us that kind of rapport. They are very civic minded. I'd like to see that kind of culture and group expand.

Q: I know you hope to have an internship program in the future. What kind of work is available now?

A: I would love to see an internship program get started. (Now), most of the volunteer (opportunities) are for the front-of-house. I would like to expand volunteers into people who could help out with community groups, like Troupe Cabana, and reduce labor costs.

Q: Since you've come aboard, the theater costs have been entirely revised. How has this helped local theater?

A: The cost of (renting the) theater is down considerably. We're trying to remove the perception that community groups can't come in because we're too expensive. My rates are more affordable than most in the area. It was expensive -and we fixed that.

Dale Kilpatric At A Glance

Position: Theater production manager at Hutchins Street Square
How Long At Hutchins Street Square: Since September 2008.
Theater Experience: Scene shop supervisor, San Joaquin Delta College; theater manager, University of California, Davis Department of Theater and Dance and Mondavi Center Presents; technical director, California Musical Theatre (Music Circus).
Wife: Theresa Yvonne
Son: Bryce Kilpatric
Weekends: I like to take the (ski) boat out. Last year we made it out to Lake Don Pedro and Shasta.
Pets: Bernese Mountain Dog named Tipper.
Hobbies: I build furniture and play the guitar
Food: I like food … anything off the barbecue.
Looking Forward To: Summer. I love the hot weather, fishing and boating.
For Information About Volunteering: Contact Kilpatric (333-6800, ext. 2460) or Mandi Dumlao (333-6800, ext. 2421).



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