Each Woodminster musical features a number of professional actors in key roles, and the rest of each cast is composed of talented amateurs, usually members of the local community. Since 1967, about 3000 local aspiring actors have performed in the Woodminster Summer Musicals, working and learning alongside professionals. Many have gone on to careers in the theater, and some return to Woodminster as professional actors in later years. The organization also employs young people, mostly local high school students, to work on the technical crews of the shows. As interns, they are paid a stipend to work under a professional stage manager and receive valuable real-world experience and training.
Producers Associates is committed to bringing local young people into the theater as audience members as well. The organization has for a number of years offered a Kids Come Free program, where a child 16 or younger can attend free if accompanied by a paying adult. By doing this, Producers Associates hopes to encourage a love of live theatre in the area's children and make it easier for Oakland families on a limited budget to attend together. Woodminster offers this program with the support of a number of local corporations and philanthropic organizations. During the 2008 season, Producers Associates gave away over $75,000 worth of free tickets to children and teens.
In 2010, the organization made the decision to freeze its ticket prices at 2009 levels, and also instituted a new $10 Preview Night. The final dress rehearsal for each musical will now be open to the public, all tickets $10.
The Woodminster Summer Musicals are produced with the support of a dedicated Advisory Board of Directors, long-time East Bay residents and community boosters. Over the years, Producers Associates' tenancy has helped keep the amphitheater and surrounding area maintained, discouraged vandalism, and made a number of substantial improvements to the performance facility, including audience seating as well as improved lighting and sound systems. They have worked with the Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation and the City's Parks department to facilitate a number of other improvements, and have kept their organization financially solvent for over 40 years while contributing to the artistic vitality and economic health of the City of Oakland.
Local union actors, stage managers, and professional musicians from Local #6 find regular work in the Woodminster Summer Musicals. Aspiring local actors can perform alongside their professional counterparts. Neighborhood teenagers can audition for the shows or work on the crews. Families from Oakland and neighboring cities, as well as visitors from other areas, can spend a pleasant evening with a picnic and a first-class musical show.
Healthy season tickets sales, attendance by groups, and special opportunities for families have made Woodminster shows the best attended performances in Oakland. Today, it sells the highest number of individual tickets of any of the major resident performing arts organizations in the city.
The Woodminster Summer Musicals in beautiful Joaquin Miller Park are beloved fixture on the local arts scene. The cherished tradition of American musical theatre under the stars is an essential Oakland summertime experience.
© 2003-2011 Producers Associates Inc.
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