Today in Weekender: How JaNelle Powers keeps the spotlights burning
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JaNelle Powers' Pelajia Productions is planning a return performance this fall of "Rocky Horror Picture Show."
LAKE GENEVA — JaNelle Powers is familiar with producing musical revues, but for three months last summer, she was kept busy producing lunch and dinner. Every day she fed dozens of New York actors who stayed with her and her family while doing summer stock for Pelajia Productions, the Lake Geneva professional theater company Powers created two years ago.
With people scrambling to make rehearsals every morning, the pace was a bit hectic, meals were served in shifts, and even in a three-story rambling Victorian, it was possible to feel a bit crowded, Powers remembered. “Just the water bill was crazy,” she said.
But the housekeeping stint was simply part of her efforts to shepherd Pelajia Productions into a successful company.
Named after the patron saint of actresses, Pelajia debuted in the fall of 2008 with “Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Geneva Theater in Lake Geneva, followed by a spate of shows throughout last spring and summer, including “Panel of Issues,” “Star-Spangled Girl,” “Last Five Years,” “Little Women,” and “Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?” The latter was based on a novel written by her husband, author and motivational speaker John Powers, who also acted in the production.
This year, she’s tweaking this season’s schedule a bit. While the Geneva Theater may be a possible site again in the future, Powers decided to split the productions this year between two Lake Geneva venues, the Abbey and the Bella Vista Suites.
There will be five shows in 2010, including a return of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” this fall. Sunday matinees of “Alice,” an original work based on the books “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll, will be shown throughout the summer. A Neil Simon classic, “Barefoot in the Park” and a Christmas show that’s a sequel of sorts to “Home for the Holidays,” written by John Powers, will round out the schedule.
The debut show, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” a Tony Award-winning musical comedy Powers spotted on Broadway, will open June 18.
Pelajia Productions is one of two professional companies in Lake Geneva. The Lake Geneva Theatre Company is on hiatus this summer, in part because its founding Executive Director, Laura Nicholas DeMoon, will have a new production of her own shortly — a new baby. DeMoon expects the company to return next summer.
Read the full story in the May 19, 2010 e-edition of Weekender HERE.