Here He Goes Again — John Truitt Directs Mamma Mia at the Cascade Theatre
● By Emily Miranda
Tried and Truitt
Story by Emily Miranda
Photo by Folk & Pine
HAVING DIRECTED more than 30 plays, gaining credit for both his onstage and offstage talents, John Truitt is a staple to the North State theatre community. His most recent project is directing “Mamma Mia” at the Cascade Theatre. “The younger cast members think I have been here since dinosaurs roamed the earth,” he jokes.
His interest in theatre began at an early age; his draw toward acting did not come from a desire for fame or name recognition, but rather a desire to connect with others. “When I was younger, I thought it was a great way to meet people,” Truitt shares. “Now I recognize it’s a fantastic way to communicate and share joy with people.”
One might think sharing joy with others as a core reason behind Truitt’s choice for directing a fun, upbeat show like “Mamma Mia,” but in truth he didn’t choose it. “‘Mamma Mia’ chose me,” he says. “When I was asked if I would be interested in directing ‘Mamma Mia’ I wasn’t all that familiar with the show – but people love ABBA music, so I had to give it a look.”
It wasn’t until after reading the script that he knew the production would make the perfect summer show for Northern California audiences. “And it gives such a great opportunity to feature some really talented performers,” he adds.
As director, he enjoys watching cast members develop and become more confident in themselves. “Our performers work hard to improve themselves every day and they really care about each other. This is a great group of people who encourage one another to be the best they can be,” he says, highlighting both his admiration and appreciation of them.
“I love the performers in this production – sometimes I ask them to do things three or four times just because I enjoy watching them so much,” he says with a laugh. “I think it’s important to recognize that all our performers have supportive families, employers and friends that make a production possible – I might not know all those people personally, but I am grateful for them.”
Not only does Truitt appreciate his team of performers, he also praises the team behind the performers. “We get to work with incredibly generous and talented music directors and choreographers,” he points out, knowing firsthand the hours of both onstage and offstage practice and collaboration that takes place within any quality production.
Directing a play like “Mamma Mia” may sound daunting, but according to Truitt, “When you do something you like, it’s easy to balance your everyday life.”
He adds, “My favorite part of a production is hearing an audience react to the performers. I love rehearsals – but the whole point is to let this talented group tell a story to a theater filled with people.” And with a man like Truitt behind the scenes, the show is sure to be exceptional. •
June 14-15, 7:30pm; June 20-23, 7:30pm; June 15 and 22, 2pm
Cascade Theatre, downtown Redding