Plenty of clues.
The clues are written down on sheets of paper that are strategically hidden, mainly under tables, inside the spacious auditorium at the Creadle Business Center on Aloma Avenue in Winter Park. And the significance of those clues, which the six singers/performers find and then read to the audience, is the clues they hold about the auditorium’s future.
And if Paul Castaneda has anything to do with it, that auditorium will play a huge role not just for local theater, but for the entire Central Florida arts community.
“If you’re an artist who produces shows, we really want to hear from you,” he told the audience on Sunday’s matinee performance of “ROCK Orlando.”
On Friday, the Greater Orlando Actors Theatre, or GOAT, launched its latest production, a rock musical revue cabaret that had a lot of significance for this theatrical production company. First, it marked their first production in their new home.
The Creadle Business Center is at 2431 Alome Ave. in Winter Park, located right next door to a Publix shopping plaza. Although the building mainly houses business offices, the auditorium in Suite 300 came to the attention of Castaneda, the executive director of GOAT, who thought it looked ideal for performance art.
“It’s amazingly located,” he said. “There’s a whole bunch of restaurants all around us. This whole building is all business offices, and nobody is here at night or on weekends.”
Inside, GOAT had set up tables that people could sit at, and in-between, a row of chairs. There’s no stage, but there’s a lot of space available on the carpeted floor for the actors to sing, dance, crack jokes and even perform some soliloquies on – all of which they did during the two-hour long “ROCK Orlando.”
“This is our soft opening,” Castaneda said of the first show in GOAT’s new home. “We look forward to being really busy here.”
“It’s a great space, a beautiful big space,” said Michael Marinaccio, the executive director of the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival.
“ROCK Orlando” featured veteran GOAT performers — Jolie Hart, Kat Johnson, Anna Kraeger, Adam McCabe, Kevin Sigman, Jamaal K. Solomon, Roger Floyd and Greg Larro – in a production that looked back at the production company’s history, with performances of songs from past shows that GOAT has staged, including “Rent,” “Next To Normal,” and “Spring Awakening.”
A sign prominently posted at the ticket desk up front noted that “ ‘ROCK Orlando’ contains loud rock music and some adult language … if this is a problem, why are you here?”
McCabe added, “I hope there are a lot of people here today who just came from church, because we’re here to undo that.”
At the same time, “ROCK Orlando” was also a preview, of sorts, of GOAT’s future works in its new building. Floyd performed a scene from his play “The Painter,” a look at the Jack the Ripper legend that will be performed in the new GOAT space in October. The cast also did songs from two popular musicals, “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “The Who’s Tommy.”
There were also those clues hidden around the room offering hints of more activities to come at the Creadle Business Center’s new theater space, including open mic nights and collaborations with outside theater companies to bring in new shows.
There’s even a new “After Dark” series being planned — late night shows, performed after midnight.
“Welcome to ‘ROCK Orlando 2012’ in the new GOAT theater space,” McCabe said.
Castaneda said he was welcoming not just theatrical productions to their new space, but also dance and music shows, and he hopes to sell artwork there as well.
“Contact us – we’d love to work with you,” he said.
GOAT was formed six years ago by a group of local actors, directors and writers to produce original theatrical shows while also doing revivals as well. Castaneda is the only surviving member of the original board of directors, but he said the truth is so many talented performers have played a huge role in bringing GOAT to life.
“I have a ton of people I could thank,” he said. “Just a ton of people who gave of their time and talent. I’m in debt to all of them for getting us to this place.”
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