GEORGETOWN — Everyone told them it couldn't be done.
In 2001, retired Presbyterian minister Carol Brannock and seven other theater lovers in Georgetown decided to create a community theater in the Scott County seat. Their inaugural production was to be The Sound of Music in the black-box theater on the Georgetown College campus.
Somehow, despite numerous predictions of failure, they stuffed a cast of 25 and an audience of 99 into that space.
"If the fire marshal had ever come by, we'd probably all still be in jail," Brannock says.
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Instead, the Georgetown Community Theatre is celebrating its 10th summer musical, which is, once again, The Sound of Music. But instead of being crammed into a black box, the classic Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein III musical will be presented Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Scott County High School's spacious Susan B. Moore Auditorium.
"It's the best performance space in the county," says Nina Belle Durr, who has been the accompanist for all the theater's summer musicals and several other shows.
(Georgetown's is one of two area productions of The Sound of Music this summer: In Lexington, Paragon Music Theatre will open the show July 30 at the Lexington Opera House.)
A bigger, better venue is just one of the ways that Georgetown Community Theatre has progressed in the past decade.
It now has a board and not-for-profit status, and an enthusiastic talent pool. More than 125 people auditioned for The Sound of Music, including many children.
"It's important for young people in Georgetown," says Erin Brown, 19, a student at Capital University Conservatory of Music in Columbus, Ohio, who is playing Maria. "Years from now, they'll remember, 'I was in Sound of Music.'"
Someone who can attest to that is Nathan Van Til, 19, a Georgetown College student who got his first taste of theater as one of the musical's Von Trapp children in 2001 and is returning as a Nazi in this production.
"I never remember it not being fun," Van Til says of the theater.
Sound of Music director John W. Campbell had just arrived as a music professor at Georgetown College when that first production went up.
"A bunch of my students were in it, and they wanted me to come," he recalls. "But it was sold out, so they got me in to the dress rehearsal, which was also packed."
His daughters went, and they too, were bitten by the theater bug and were in the next production, Meet Me in St. Louis, in 2002.
Among the milestones of the theater, one of the biggest was five years ago when the summer musical moved to Scott County High with Oklahoma!
"We even had a surrey on stage that we borrowed from the Horse Park," says Pat Conroy, who was among the original organizers, with Brannock. He played Max in the 2001 production of Sound of Music; this time he is the bishop who marries Capt. Von Trapp and Maria.
They are all proud of their past and what they have built, but the Georgetown theater wants what most every stage troupe wants: a theater of its own.
"There have been plans on the board before," Conroy says. "We just need to find a way to make it happen."
Adds Brannock, "I do not think there is anything we could not do with a place of our own."