by Lorie Lewis Ham
One of the newer kids on the theatre block here in the Valley, perhaps even the newest, is theatre company Jump Right In Productions who produced their first show in August of this year with an original musical called Dinner With Dan.
“We were talking about our lives one day over take-out and decided to take on this new, and exciting, endeavor,” said Heather Karsevar who is co-owner of JRI with her long time friend R.S. Scott. “It was that simple. R.S. is a writer and I am involved in the performing arts. It just made sense.”
They began “talking” about it in December of 2010 and made it official in April of the following year. Since then Heather stated that they have already managed to connect with some wonderful actors in the area, fantastic venues and a lot of young talent. “We look forward to working with more writers, directors, videographers, poets, dancers, and anyone else who wants to share their work with the community.”
“There is nothing more exciting, more liberating, than walking the road to putting your own work out there,” said co-owner R.S. Scott, who wrote the script for Dinner With Dan. “It builds your confidence as an artist and introduces you to a great community of people who love the arts as much as you! It’s a fantastic journey. The patrons that come out and see the productions enjoy them as much as the people putting them on. It’s hard work rewarded and shared by a great community in full support of the arts!”
As an artist, Heather believes that everyone has an artist in them in some way. While some decide it’s more practical to be an observer, after 15 years of being involved with the Clovis schools theatre scene, she decided she was done with being practical. “If I’m going to be an artist then I need to go for it. If I’m going to support the arts then what better way to do that than show young artists they CAN follow their dreams!”
And what better way to get involved then through theatre. “Theatre brings a community together not only because it offers an outlet, jobs, and entertainment, but the arts speak to the soul in a way that nothing else can,” continued Heather. “The arts truly bring a community together and I believe in that.”
While there are currently several local theatre companies, Heather said that JRI offers an opportunity that many don’t by providing a place for local writers to produce scripts, young choreographers to set dances, and up and coming directors to showcase their film work. “It’s hard to get your work out there as an artist. We offer a place for those who want to be seen and heard to ‘put their work out there’ as we like to say.”
So far, auditions for JRI’s theatre productions are open; however, they have been involved in some film projects that held closed, private auditions. Auditions for their next show, Treading Mud, will be on November 28. Treading Mud will be the first of four shows they will be producing in 2012, which is quite an undertaking for a brand new company. All of them are original shows written by R.S. Scott.
After this season, they will be accepting outside scripts and proposals for choreography and film. “Our first show was an original musical,” said Heather. “Our next show is a non-musical drama with a few lighthearted moments. We have two more musicals planned for this season as well as a murder mystery.”
The shows and dates are:
• Treading Mud – Drama – Jan. 2012 – In a world where every excuse can be found to excuse the behavior of your soul, sometimes staying above water can be harder when the dirt won’t wash off.
• The Paper Boy – Murder Mystery – Summer 2012 – Seven Reasons, Seven Friends, One Man Dead
• Bags, Sass, and my Boarding Pass – Musical – Summer 2012 – A musical dramedy about the frustrated heroes of travel!
• Fabulous – Musical – Fall 2012 – Need she say more?
According to Heather, they sold out three shows during their three-week run of Dinner With Dan at the Broken Leg Stage in the Tower District, which they consider a huge success for them and a great beginning. “Our actors, composer, writer, production team, and community trusted us in this endeavor. We were the unknown yet we found great support in Fresno. We look forward to sharing more with our Fresno theatre community and abroad.”