“We surpass most people’s expectations of a ‘church show,’ said Kim Castellanet with a smile. Castellanet is the director of the Sunrise Players, a theater company based in Sunrise Church, near the intersection of Briargate Boulevard and Union Avenue. “I think audiences enjoy our shows because they are family friendly, well done, and quality performances in the heart of our community is a big draw.”
The Sunrise Players have discovered there is a niche for family friendly musical productions on the north end of Colorado Springs. This fall, they will celebrate their 10th anniversary of producing community based musical theater in Briargate.
Over the years, their performances have included Fiddler on the Roof, Godspell, White Christmas, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Sound of Music, Peter Pan, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and more. “Our criteria for show selection is message and content based,” Castellanet said. “I try to find stories about redemption, family friendliness or Biblical relevance.”
This month, they will present Children of Eden from April 21-23.
“‘Children of Eden’ is a wonderful story about the spark of creation, disobedience, sense of wonder and how unconditional love is the answer,” Castellanet said. “Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the music, has often said that this is his favorite score of all the shows he has written. Audiences can expect wonderful live music, original choreography, beautifully created costumes, props, sets and lighting.”
The cast and crew are central to the Sunrise Players mission. “Our measure of success is achieved before opening night,” Kim says, “due to the community that is built, the “family” that grows from casting, rehearsals, and fellowship outside our doors. We love to see a group of veterans of our stage have game nights, celebrate birthdays and form lasting friendships!”
This all-volunteer theater company is a powerful example of the community vitality that the arts can inspire. Often, we think about performances as a one-directional offering from the performers to the audience. But the Sunrise Players demonstrate that the very act of creating together is bonding, inspiring, and sustaining for people, fostering stronger relationships across the neighborhood.
They have grown into a vibrant hive of creativity between congregants of Sunrise Church and the larger region. Open auditions cast novice to semi-professional talent for every show, from across the community. Members of the Sunrise Players cast, crew and audience now come from all over El Paso and Teller counties and as far away as Denver. “We have a wonderful relationship with our local community inside and out from the church,” Kim says.
If you haven’t yet visited to experience one of their productions, Kim personally invites you to try it out: “You won’t be disappointed.”
Originally written by Angela Seals of the Cultural Office and published in the Woodmen Edition on April 12, 2017.