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Gasman taking vision to Cities

Were you among those who sat in the darkened Chief Theater one Easter, graced by a stunned and reverent silence as the lights fell and curtains closed on a stellar performance of “Jesus Christ Superstar?” Or when the entire Central School was given a standing ovation for their ambitious performance of “The Hobbit?” Were you there to cheer and applaud the swashbuckling, quirky production of “ Princess Bride” at BSU’s Bangsberg Theater?

Or maybe, one Christmas, you came to believe in Santa as you rooted for the twinkly-eyed Kris Kringle in Paul Bunyan Playhouse’s “Miracle on 34th Street;” or perhaps you chuckled when locals appeared on national TV in a comical prize-winning Doritos commercial, or in a local music video for a Hollywood producer.

Or, perhaps, your child took a drama class at St Philip’s , or Kelliher, or Bemidji Middle School, or the Boys and Girls Club. Maybe you, yourself, tried your hand at stage make-up, costuming, directing or even acting in productions on one of 26 stages around the region.

The common thread here is Greg Gasman, who has spent decades directing plays in our schools and area small towns, as well as the main stages of Bemidji; who founded the Bemidji Community Theater to bring us musicals, dramas and comedies, and who worked with youth to produce plays about issues like bullying and prejudice; who performed as an actor himself in many regional professional and amateur stage and film productions; and offered unfettered enthusiasm and encouragement to budding playwrights, performers, and backstage artists of every kind. Whether on stage or behind the scenes, Greg has had a laudable impact on the people and the theater arts of our region.

Greg now hopes to bring a new theater production to metro audiences, providing local actors the chance to perform under the bright lights of the big cities. This is an amazing opportunity for all involved, and you can help with the fundraising to make it happen.

If you are grateful for any aspect of Greg’s work in our community — even if only as an audience member — please log in this week at the Kickstarter website and pledge any amount to the project at this link:

Donations of $25 or more will receive complementary tickets to the project’s first production. Please support Greg and local actors as they wow metro audiences with our local talent.

Janet Rith-Najarian