Gerald Dolter and Frank Rendon visit with the Front Row to talk about Moonlight Musical’s upcoming production of Miracle on 34th Street.
Gerald Dolter, help us understand, is this part of Moonlight Musical or Moonlight Broadway?
It’s kind of an example of getting the cart before the horse. Usually, when it comes to theatre companies, they have their company that does shows throughout the year, and eventually they work their way to summer time amphitheater, theatrical works outdoors. Usually the outdoor part happens later. In our case, we got the outdoor part first because I started producing shows outside first with Lubbock Moonlight Musicals to assist our musical theatre students at Texas Tech with professional experience, with more experience than song, dance and characterization. So that’s how it started.
As we got into things there was an outcry from the public, and the people involved with us, that they wanted to keep going for the whole year. And we felt that the best way to do that was with dinner theatre, because people in the south plains, they love to go have dinner and they love to combine theatre with dinner. So we just decided—it’s kind of a throwback to the 70s—but we decided to do it that way.
…Then we had the opportunity to do Les Miserables, and I thought you can’t do this as a dinner theatre. You need a bigger venue and let’s leave dinner out of it. So then we went down to the civic center theatre and thought we could do it here…So that’s really where Moonlight Broadway was born.
How did Miracle on 34th Street come up and you decided to do it?
I always loved the movie and I really have to thank Frank, Frank was going to be my assistant director on this show, I just couldn’t do it because I was staging Mikado at the same time. There was a time where I could stage two shows at once…but not at my age.
What I’ve found is the spirit of Christmas is injecting us and anybody who comes to the show will be injected. As far as doing Miracle on 34th Street, in the grand scheme of things, I’ve been planning on doing it for the last three years, it’s just that this was the year to do it. Next year, I can’t say what it is, but we are getting a very very popular show for Christmas next year.
Frank Rendon, tell us a little bit about your background.
I graduated High school in Garland, Texas, I came to Texas Tech to study voice and musical education. I completed my time here and started singing opera around the country. I settled back here to start teaching with the local children’s theatre, here in town. I started getting involved with musicals, Lubbock Moonlight Musicals and the rest is history. I’ve had an amazing time working with this fantastic company and the amazing people that are in it.
Listen to the full interview at the top of the article.