By GREG RUSSELL
Register Staff Writer
Having gotten a little help from their friends during recent months, Center Stage Circle (CSC) officials used Thursday’s outdoor fish-fry at Butterfield Stage to show thanks.
The dinner was free to members of the CSC, who help subsidize Butterfield productions through annual sponsorships that range between $50 and $200. CSC official Patty Haayen cited Thursday’s dinner, which included live music by acoustic duo Varian/Reynolds, as a celebration of that community support.
Other attendees paid $15 for their tickets, and proceeds will help carry the theater company through another season.
“Any support that we can get? It helps,” said Shelley Head, Butterfield cast regular. “In any manner.”
Butterfield shows have been a community staple in Gainesville since 1979. Produced in the city’s historic Carnegie Library, a Butterfield season currently runs five shows — dramas, comedies and musicals — and operates as a nonprofit organization.
Each season is a gathering of fresh sets and costumes, volunteer actors, a volunteer crew and show scripts that usually require the purchase of rights.
And for those reasons, Haayen said, the average Butterfield show now runs $3,500 to produce.
“For rights, musicals are much more expensive than regular stage dramas,” she said. “You pay by the number of seats and the number of nights you’re performing it. And then we have little things, like electricity. Plus we rent programs and pay for a sound system. There’s always something breaking.”
Haayen added that the Butterfield theater’s electrical system needs updates and that the sound system, while already recently updated, could use the aid of a laptop that would help import sound effects.
Butterfield productions represent a list of needs and expenses that never grows shorter, she said, but the community support has never wavered.
“Gainesville has come through like Gainesville has always come through,” she said. “They’ve done a fabulous job.”
Upcoming Butterfield shows
On Golden Pond — Sept. 12-14; Sept. 20-22
Always a Bridesmaid — Nov. 7-9; Nov. 15-17
12 Angry Men — March 6-8; March 14-16
Sylvia — May 8-10; May 16-18
Annie Get Your Gun — July 17-19; July 25-27
CSC sponsorships available
Silver: Costs $50 per person and benefits include invitations to CSC events, plus a listing in the organization’s season program.
Gold: $100 per person and benefits include all “Silver” advantages, plus a free ticket to each CSC event.
Platinum: $200 per person and benefits include all “Gold” advantages, plus one ticket to the Butterfield performance of your choice.
Butterfield season tickets are $65.
For more information about Butterfield Stage Players, visit www.butterfieldstage.org or call (940) 665-8152.