2008 Cutler Bros.
Final Year at the Gunport Theater
"Blind Date," Kelly's 7th original play, kicked off the 2008 summer theatre season! From "Moon Over Buffalo" to "Rumors" to "$3-Dollar-Bill$," Kelly came to love the idea of wacky characters and mistaken identity. Jeri-anne helped Kelly write a lot of his plotlines, especially with "$3-Dollar-$." "Blind Date" was essentially about two roommates; Greg (Jim Cameron) and Charles (Matthew Cutler.) Greg is far more outspoken and Charles keeps to himself. Through a bizarre turn of events the two men have to break into a woman's house to delete some funky voicemails that Charles leaves on her answering machine due to pressure from Greg and overt panic from Charles. All the while their landlord Romero (Kelly Cutler) is hounding them about paying their rent as to which Greg is trading "fake, autographed baseballs" in exchange. When Romero finds out the "balls aren't real," and Charles suspects Greg of chasing his girl, the two scheme together to ruin Greg's life once and for all!
The character of "Romero" is one of Kelly's all time favorite characters due to his quirkiness and all around "dumb" approach to life. Romero is an Italian landlord that is easily irked and doesn't trust a soul.
Jeri-anne took to the stage in "Blind Date" as the overbearing mother "Ethel." She just wants the best for her little Charles, but she absolutely gets in the way of all of the chaos. Jeri-anne has always stated, "I hate going on stage, but I will if I have to." ...as is the "Cutler" way.
A pre-show Toast for "Blind Date" with Cutler Brother actor's Kelly, Wolfie Winter, Jeri-anne, Jim Cameron, Theresa Cameron, Mariann Cameron, and Matthew Cutler. The show was handpicked for casting. Mariann even got a Crowd-Favorite Award when the Dillon Legion Baseball Team came to the show after their "Wood Bat Tournament" in town and the boys ate up her every move! She may have flirt with them...a little bit....
Kyla (middle) is the sister of Cutler Bros. President Jason Johns and "Blind Date" was her first time on stage with us. One fateful day, nobody knows why or what happened, but Kyla arrived at rehearsal running for her life, chased by Jason and then threw a milkshake at her head and screamed some profanity. Ah, sibling love!
If it's not your prop, don't touch it!
A quick story: There is a common phrase in theatre, and it is listed above. In the show "Blind Date" one of the key components is a prop answering machine that plays very particular messages in a very particular order. "Blind Date" was rehearsing at the same time as the 2008 musical "Of Thee I Sing." A young man in the musical decided to touch the prop and nobody noticed...until we went to use the prop in front of a LIVE audience during one particular performance of "Blind Date." What came out of the answering machine was something from the movie "SAW." "Hello, I'd like to play a game." Kelly and Matt had used the prop outside of theatre to play a game they created called SAW, and the messages weren't necessarily appropriate for a LIVE audience. During the scene in question Kelly is supposed to be in another room, completely oblivious to what is going on. Well the second Kelly heard the SAW dialogue coming out of the answering machine he quickly began to signal to Matt (who was on the answering machine side) and grunt to get Matt to "fix the problem." We escaped this travesty by a thin margin, but Kelly sure had some harsh words for the "Of Thee I Sing" cast at their next rehearsal. Repeat: IF IT'S NOT YOUR PROP, DON'T TOUCH IT!
Mom & Daughter duo
Theresa Cameron has such youthful features that she easily played Mariann's best friend "Natasha" in "Blind Date." Natasha was as ditzy as they come and Theresa had a great time playing the role.
"Of Thee I Sing"
In 2008 we decided to do a lesser known show around these parts known as "Of Thee I Sing." We thought it would fit well with the upcoming Presidential Election in America. In fact, we put a float in the 4th of July Parade in Butte, MT and President Barack Obama was in attendance as we were shouting and singing "Wintergreen for President!" Which was a song in the show.
Kelly was deep into his Music studies at the University of Montana, which came in handy with the direction for "Of Thee I Sing" because this was a solid operetta. The late great Joann Nelson was also a huge help in making this show happen. On one particular rehearsal she was yelling at Jim Cameron, "Recitative! Recitative!" Cameron promptly yelled back, "I don't know what that means!"
"Of Thee I Sing" marks Ramona Chrisman's first leading part and she received Conny Awards for "Best Vocal Performance" and "Best Love Scene" for her portrayal of Mary Turner. The 2008 Awards Banquet was held at the Pen Convention Center and we had changed the format not to ruffle any feathers of the current casts. in 2012 we decided to go back to our "normal" Awards and let the chips fall where they may.
Patrick played the clueless Vice President (Throttlebottom) after someone had quit the show. Pat was getting ready to move to Pittsburgh and he states that "Of Thee I Sing" (OTIS) was the busiest rehearsal schedule in history. After all, it was 3 hours long and we did two shows on Sundays AND a show on the 4th of July!
Gwen came to auditions from Anaconda and she was the perfect fit to play the antagonist in OTIS, "Diana Deveroux." Essentially Ms. Deveroux wins a beauty contest and is supposed to win President Wintergreen's hand. However, Wintergreen falls for Mary Turner and snubs Ms. Deveroux, which causes a whole chain of nasty events including the French Ambassador paying the White House a visit.
Madison Square Wrestlers
Wolfie Winter and Travis Jones won "Best Comedy Scene" in 2008 for their heavy weight wrestling match on stage at the Gunport.
"Of Thee I Sing" would be President Jason Johns final show with Cutler Bros. before moving East to pursue a career in finance.
When "Of Thee I Sing" premiered at Broadway's Music Box Theater in 1931 it has a cast well over 100 people. We did it with 25. In the final scenes we needed a doctor and nine Supreme Court Justices. Patrick has to throw on a gray wig to play the doctor, run off stage, throw on a robe, and play a Justice. Jeri-anne Cutler also had to come on stage as a Justice. Heck, you gotta do what you gotta do! Fake it until you make it, we presume.
"Of Thee I Sing" would mark our final Main Stage show at the Gunport Theater. After this time we were nomadic for a few years. Pat moved to Pittsburgh, Kelly moved to Chicago, and Matt went to school in Dillon, MT. What did the future hold for Cutler Bros. Productions? We didn't know. We just knew we had to find a place to stash 5 years worth of sets, costumes, and props until we could figure it out.