You could say that today marks the first official day of Louise Mandrell’s long-term relationship with Fresno — and it’s clear she’s eager to win the city’s heart. Mandrell made headlines in December when she announced that she’ll play the title role in the Good Company Players production of “Calamity Jane,” which runs July 19-Sept. 16. This will be the first time in the company’s history that a “big name” will be brought in for a show.
The first round of auditions for the rest of the cast of “Calamity Jane” is Saturday, and as you can imagine, there’s a huge amount of interest among the local theater community. Mandrell flew in from Nashville in honor of the occasion, and this morning she embarked on a round of TV/radio appearances to drum up interest for the show. She was scheduled to meet with GCP’s designers, get a costume fitting and tour the space. This weekend, she’ll also get a tour of Fresno and see the two current GCP productions, “Grace & Glorie” at the 2nd Space Theatre and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” at Roger Rocka’s, where “Calamity Jane” will be performed.
While she’s here, she’s also taking part Saturday morning in the Clovis Rodeo parade.
On Monday, Mandrell will attend the call-backs for the “Calamity Jane” auditions, where she’ll get the first chance to check out her onstage leading man, the character of Wild Bill Hickok. She’ll return to Nashville after that, but she’ll return soon for rehearsals and the nine-week run of the show.
I’ll be posting photos of Mandrell taken by GCP staff — and I plan to drop in at the callbacks to meet Mandrell in person. As the production approaches, I’ll be updating this special blog series.