Wega Arts stages musical
Locally written play set in magical underwater world
By Angie Landsverk
Wega Arts will present “Wet Kiss the Musical” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 27-29, at the Gerold Opera House in Weyauwega.
The original musical was written by Kathy Fehl.
It is about a magical underwater world.
“I’m very happy to be exploring this here at Wega Arts because it’s central to our mission – doing original material,” she said.
Fehl and Ian Teal formed Wega Arts in March 2007 and purchased the opera house shortly after that.
Built in 1915, the opera house is located at 136 E. Main St.
When the organization received its nonprofit status, renovation of the opera house began.
Fehl is the nonprofit’s artistic director, and Teal is its executive director.
“As always, Ian is at the helm with lighting, sound, the sets – helping me with everything,” she said of the upcoming show.
The idea for the musical has been “fermenting” for several years, Fehl said.
“I’ve had the idea of doing a movie about an obsessed surfer who does nothing else and who then interacts with underwater creatures,” she said. “We’re doing it on stage because I thought it would be a neat theater piece. It doesn’t prevent me from doing a film someday.”
Creating underwater scenes is an artistic and theatrical challenge, Fehl said.
She loves imagining the scenes.
“Wet Kiss” also features original music.
Stanton West is the composer.
The songwriter and playwright lives in the Nelsonville area.
He is an artist in residence at Tomorrow River Community Charter School, and has also written musicals.
In 2010, West received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to write a musical that educated people about renewable energy.
He is currently involved in a two-week summer theater camp for children at the Amherst Opera House.
West is the musical director of “The Sultan, the Secret and the Witch,” which debuts at this weekend’s Energy Fair, in Custer.
Fehl and Teal connected with him last summer on a Wega Arts project.
They worked well together.
She has been working on her musical off and on for about a year and with West since the middle of winter.
“I wanted to go surfy, get a surf vibe. The music is very Beach Boys,” West said.
One song is kind of a tribue to Dick Dale, he said.
The surf rock guitarist died on March 17.
West said the music for “Wet Kiss” features a lot of island instruments, like the ukele and steel drums.
He describes it as a multi-media event, with a mix of live music performed by the Stanton West Trio, as well as preplayed music.
The cast includes Laila Salins, Steve Golla, Isaac Baumgart, Melinda Neuroth, Amy Teal, Sidney DaWalt, Brendha Savarro, Ian Teal (also co-director and lights), Alex Bartel, Simon Baumgart, Natalie Baumgart, Sabrina Loehrke (also stage manager), Ava Loehrke and Jetta and Saylor Stacy.
Barbara Laedtke is the choreographer.
Tim O’Hara is helping with sets and lighting, and Nick Loehrke is the lighting assistant.
Salins, a mezzo soprano from New York City, did additional lyrics and music for the show.
Golla is lead singer of the Blowtorches and was a lead in “Main Street Meats” and other Wisconsin movies, Fehl said.
Savarro is a Rotary Exchange student from Brazil.
Advance ticket prices for the musical are $20 for a table seat; $160 for a table of eight; $30 for VIP seats or $60 for a table for two; $10 for students; $15 for balcony seats; and $8 for children age 12 and under.
They may purchased in advance online at wetkiss.bpt.me or by calling 920-867-4888.
At the door, ticket prices increase $5 for adults and $2 for children.
The student price remains $10 at the door.
The house opens at 6:30 p.m. prior to each performance.
The cash bar will feature tropical drinks and craft beer.
Chicken salad sandwiches, hotdogs and nachos will be for sale, as well as popcorn and candy, Fehl said.
She expects the show to be about 1 1/2 hours long, with intermission.
“I hope everyone will come and immerse themselves in the underwater adventure,” Fehl said.