Get Ready To “Fly Willie”

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Teri Nehrenz (Thelma Paige, lead crow, Action Brianna and Dancing Pig) Marco Varela (Dr. Bob, Dave Carbancy and Scarecrow) and Writer/Director of Fly Willie Dan Nielsen (Willie Gambini) get ready to take off in the zany new comedy Fly Willie which is scheduled for the Red Carpet-World Premier opening on May 1st at the Mesquite Community Theatre.

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Jeremy Nielsen (JB and Ralph, Scott, Mob Guy, Willie’s dad, Farmer on Tractor, and Tommy the Pest Control Guy) tries to get flirty with Emily Conklin (Tilly, Janie the girl on fire, Court Stenographer, Flying Crow and Dancing Horse)

The Virgin Valley Theatre Group and 2Nielsens Productions are getting ready to launch an original zany new comedy “Fly Willie” on May 1, 2015.

Fly Willie is written and directed by two time award winning director/choreographer Dan Nielsen and is the Virgin Valley Theatre Group’s educational fundraising event of the year.

The red-carpet premier opening is scheduled to take place at the Mesquite Community Theatre at 5:45 p.m. on May 1. Get ready for a show that is jammed packed with laughter, singing, dancing and most especially… FUN!

The producers of Fly Willie, The Virgin Valley Theatre Group and 2Nielsens Productions, have been working on this program for a full year as part of an ongoing educational workshop.

Dan Nielsen, writer and director of Fly Willie, began writing this show years ago but life and work got busy and Fly Willie was put on the back burner for quite a while until fate stepped in one day and Nielsen suffered a near fatal motorcycle accident.  Nielsen who is also a Nevada State Police Officer had plenty of down time before he was released to return to work and after that twist of fate did some soul searching.  Nielsen decided to turn back to his first love, theatre and performing so he pulled out the script once again and Fly Willie was resurrected.

Dan along with co-producer and wife Diana Nielsen first approached the Virgin Valley Theatre Group early in 2014.  The VVTG agreed to work with Nielsen to help develop the script further as part of an educational workshop that began May 5, 2014.  The workshop focused on character development and choreography.  The agreement for Nielsen was that the VVTG would then produce the show in Mesquite the following May after their regular season closed, IF they could cast the show.

Auditions happened in February and the response was more than the VVTG had hoped for but exactly what Dan and his wife Diana Nielsen had prayed they would be.

Fly Willie contained over 40 characters of all ages from the fictional town of Pickensquaga, USA plus a few outsiders.  The VVTG has had their fair share of casting challenges but Fly Willie auditions turned out over 17 actors who began participating at the beginning of rehearsals in March.

One of the actors brought aboard is professional opera singer Marco Valera who will be joining the cast of Madam Butterfly after Fly Willie closes.  Valera has decades of professional experience in theatre and opera and will be will be sharing his talents with the Mesquite audience in the Fly Willie show.

Some of the larger VVTG productions in the past have had issues, not with initial casting, but with keeping the cast chosen.  Many actors who begin a production have the idea that putting on a play might be fun and then they discover the truth…it’s a lot of work and a huge commitment.

During many past productions from the very beginning of the VVTG’s start cast members who begin a production drop out due to the time and work involved and life getting in the way but those who have stuck it out and completed a production have found  the accomplishment to be extremely rewarding in many ways.

Fly Willie is no different in the challenges of keeping the cast.  Some who began rehearsals, for one reason or another, had decided that the commitment was too much for them to handle but other cast members rallied to bring in interested friends and family to complete the cast and continue the production.

Fly Willie is still an educational workshop in progress and many newcomers are finding that putting productions together are much more than they had expected but they seem to be enjoying themselves and are excited to open the show on May 1st.

Be ready for these seventeen cast members to entertain you in the roles of over 40 original characters as they reenact the story of William Gambini, gangster turned actor turned farmer turned founder of the Fly Willie Airport and how FWA (Fly Willie Airways) began.  Enjoy the flight along with the good folks in the town of Pickensquaga as they climb aboard the Fly Willie express to laughter and fun in this zany new comedy.

The Eureka Casino has generously offered to co-sponsor the Red Carpet Event and as a thank you for their generosity for all of their fundraising efforts for the VVTG, the board members of the VVTG would like to give the Eureka something back One dollar from every ticket sold to Fly Willie on May 1st, 2nd or 3rd will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, a charity that that is important to the Eureka team members and owners.

The Fly Willie event is quickly turning into a community project.  The Fly Willie cast and crew wanted to create some publicity shots and film a commercial so they contacted Larry LeMieux, Manager of the Mesquite Airport and long-time supporter of the arts, who not only graciously opened up the airport for the group but enlisted the aid of friend and ower/pilot, Rod McLennan, who offered up his yellow 1940’s Navy Howard airplane which has been adopted as the official Fly Willie Plane.

Mesquite Arts Council and long-time supporter of the Arts, Susan Bennett, has joined in as a member of the Fly Willie cast and is the one who is spearheading the Red Carpet Event for the Fly Willie team.  Her years of experience in teaching drama and her excitement in introducing the Fly Willie show to the Mesquite audience is infectious and  most welcome to the cast and crew who have put an entire year of hard work into the development of the show.

The VVTG has grown by leaps and bounds in the past two seasons and the funds generated, which aren’t donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, will ensure that the VVTG can continue it’s educational development in all aspects of theatre production and in turn provide high quality entertainment for their audience members.

The May 1st red carpet premier is set to kick off at 5:45 followed by a VIP reception before the show which begins at 7 p.m.  There are two more shows in Mesquite on May 2nd at 7 p.m. and May 3rd at 3 p.m. followed by a special performance by the VVTG actors at the Summerlin Library Theatre.  Tickets for Fly Willie are $25 for the Premier Opening and $20 for the May 2nd and 3rd shows.

Tickets to Fly Willie are available at Danielle’s Chocolates, Have Boutique Will Travel, Mesquite Chamber of Commerce, Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery or you can go online to www.flywillie.com.

For more information on the Virgin Valley Theatre Group, its productions or educational workshops go online to www.virginvalleytheatregroup.com , email vvtheatre@gmail.com or call 702-346-2325. Like us on Facebook.

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