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NOW PLAYING in downtown Guymon


Guymon Community Theatre offers culture and entertainment in rural community By JuliAnn Graham, CCC I


n small, rural communities people often say there’s nothing to do. While some may say that in Guymon, it’s simply not true. One organization the whole family can become involved in is the Guymon Community Theatre (GCT). Individuals from all ages, backgrounds and surrounding communities are involved in its plays and attend its productions. This month, locals and visitors can celebrate the holiday sea- son and enjoy some time as a family by watching “Miracle on 34th Street,” which is GCT’s 117th production.


Located in the historical building that origi- nally housed the American Theater on Main Street in downtown Guymon, GCT started its 36th season in July. A loyal group of supporters are frequently joined by new faces in its produc- tions. Josh Setzer, vice president of GCT’s board, plays Fred Gayley in “Miracle on 34th Street” and is one such fresh face. “There’s always something to get involved in


here,” Setzer said. “You just have to find it. If you’re here, make Guymon your home and sup- port the activities that are happening. In a small community, you have to stick together. The more you help each other, the better the whole com- munity is.”


Setzer went on to discuss the artistic and edu- cational value GCT offers. “Our venue allows for any sort of artistic expres- sion whatsoever,” he said. “It could support mu- sic, comedy, choir performances and plays. It’s also a way to educate cultural diversity within our community. The diversity we have here in Guymon is unlike any other place in the world.” Jerry Wadley and Charles Michael


Jr. are


Guymon natives who have years of experience with GCT. They are co-directing “Miracle on 34th Street.” Michael serves as the president of GCT’s


14 WWW.OK-LIVING.COOP


Rehearsals of Miracle on 34th Street are underway. Photo by Arlene Winfrey


board and Wadley also serves on the board. “The best part about theater is not the acting, it’s not the shows…it’s the relationships you build with the different people involved in a produc- tion,” Wadley said. “It’s a lifetime.” Wadley’s wife June is also active in GCT. She


Panhandle residents and visitors will have the opportunity to see a live performance of a holiday classic. Photo by JuliAnn Graham


said, “You’re really family for about six weeks dur- ing a production.” The Wadleys stressed that GCT wouldn’t be possible without the support of the Oklahoma Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts as well as numerous individual and busi- ness patrons who generously contribute to it. K.C. Rothschopf is a local business owner who


has supported GCT for many years, having been active in productions initially and remaining a patron and voting member today. “Businesses need to pick entities to support in the community and keep supporting them,” Rothschopf said. “You may not be able to help every organization that asks but you can help some.” GCT’s membership is working on a project to restore the historical building’s marquee, which was installed for the American Theater after World War II. While the exact year is unknown, it would have been erected around 1945. Because it’s an antique with animated lights, the project is costly. Between $60,000 and $80,000 is needed and the group is looking for funds from a variety of sources, including individuals and businesses. For the restoration, Jerry Wadley is working with Superior Neon out of Oklahoma City, the com- pany that built and sold the original marquee. GCT members are raising funds to purchase a new sound system and improve the electrical wir- ing throughout the building. In another fundrais- ing effort, GCT’s board recently voted to start showing classical and neo-classical films on week- ends between productions using an 11-foot screen and a projector. Tri-County Electric Cooperative (TCEC) is a relatively new business patron of GCT. Located in Hooker, the cooperative added the city of Guymon to its service territory in 2006. Individuals listed in this article and GCT itself are members of TCEC.


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