‘Big Guns’ a Blast!

Deborah Dorman

More than 600 residents attended four performances of “The Big Guns or Whose Lily Is She?” at the Hermosa Ballroom, from Feb. 2 through 5, produced by Theater at the Ranch. Designed as a radio broadcast in a 1950s studio, the show involved 11 cast members, three sound effects people, and a five-piece band, dubbed “Bierman’s Bandits.” The story centered on a young woman in the Old West (Eloy), trying to find out which of two men was her father. Of course, there was a sheriff, some bad guys, the two cattle barons/potential dads, and many other characters. The 11 actors played more than 20 roles. In addition, about 20 people were involved in all of the backstage aspects of the show, such as sound, lights, props, costumes, makeup, tickets, PR, programs, house management, and more. The majority of the cast and crew had never done theater previously.

All of the sound effects, from a stagecoach arriving, to walking in spurs, to splashing in a river, to an arrow whizzing by, were created and performed live by the sound effects crew. They had to imagine what objects would make the right sound. It took quite a bit of experimentation to get it all just right.

A five-piece band, consisting of two guitars, a bass guitar, a keyboard, a harmonica, and drums, selected all of the music that would accompany the actors as they played out the Western comedy.

One of the questions that often comes up from audience members is what the ticket money is used for. Some of the major expenses of putting on a show are licensing fees or royalties, scripts, printing programs and tickets, costumes, props and set pieces, and fees for using the facility. Everyone involved is a volunteer, with the exception of the extremely helpful and talented Mike Casey, whom the HOA has hired to handle technical equipment. The goal of the money collected is to have enough to do the next production and be able to buy equipment that might be needed going forward. Production costs vary from about $1,500 at a minimum to several thousand for a musical. Special thanks are due to this year’s sponsors, Odysseus Arms Advertising, Sandy Fish (HomeSmart Premier Realty), Dream Home Inspections, Nonni & Pete Van Dalen pet sitting, and J. Warren Funeral Services, as well as Marrell Livesay for loaning the period microphones.

Because it takes several months to produce a show, Theater at the Ranch is limited to one show per year at this time. The next show will be performed in February 2025, with auditions in November 2024. However, the group has provided some workshops and will be doing more of those, as well as looking into possible group attendance at other theaters in the area. If you would like to be added to the email list, send your name, phone, email address, and level/type of experience, if any, to [email protected].