In 2011, Theatre IV was presented with the honor of producing the US premiere of the Canadian musical Anne and Gilbert. We were also honored to have one of the authors, Jeff Hochhauser attend the production and do a question and answer following the show.
The 2010’s have also seen Theatre IV add to its selection of venues. The joint production (with Lakeland Players) of Disney’s Jungle Book Kids and Broadway Through the 90’s was produced at Central United Methodist in Waterford. Our production Steel Magnolias, in the summer of 2015, saw Theatre IV begin a new relationship with Michigan School for the Arts in Pontiac. We produced 13 shows at MSA until the building’s owner sold the facility in the summer of 2019. Until the Covid pandemic we continued to use the stage at Pontiac High School for our large cast musicals. When school resumed for the 2020-21 school year, the School District for the City of Pontiac was able to fund a complete renovation of the auditorium at Pontiac High School. Theatre IV will be able to return to an up-to-date theatre when the renovation is complete.
In 2018 we produced our 50th Anniversary show at two venues. 50 By IV had a Friday Dinner Theatre performance at the Auburn Hills Marriott in Pontiac. On Saturday we moved to another new venue in downtown Pontiac, the locally owned PLAT (Pontiac Little Art Theatre). Besides 50 By IV, we produced additional shows, including our return to the works of Shakespeare with Macbeth.
Theatre IV also renewed its relationship with All Saints Episcopal Church in Pontiac, where the majority of our shows are being produced. Returning to All Saints also allowed us to return to producing Dinner Theatre, which both Theatre IV and the group are very pleased about.
Beginning with the joint production of Disney’s Jungle Book Kids Theatre IV instituted a children’s program. For the second year of the children’s program, we decided to innovate and change the format up. Since most of the children only shows are under 45 minutes, we decided to perform two shows in one evening. As the process for the two shows was being developed it was decided those children cast as leads in one show, would be the chorus for the other show, and vice versa. That is how we produced six performances each of Alice in Wonderland and Disney’s The Aristocats, Jr in May of 2016. It was a successful experiment, and while we have not repeated it, the format is always there to use. Since then, the children’s program has produced Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; Seussical, Jr.; Mulan, Jr.; Broadway Revue, Jr. and in 2023 Shrek Jr. The program has grown from 30 children to over 100 in that time.
The 2020’s brought challenges for Pontiac Theatre IV, most notable of those was the pandemic. We were able to ride the pandemic out, producing the 2019-20 season production Anne of Avonlea and Grease! in early 2020, right before the pandemic hit. We were fortunate to not miss a season, although a number of shows were cancelled including The Lion King, Jr. which had been cast and was in rehearsal. On the very final two days of the 2020-21 season, we produced Broadway Revue, Part Two. at an outdoor venue. This kept our streak of producing at least one show per season intact.
Shortly following the outdoor production, we returned to our regular season format for 2021-22 with Shakespeare’s Macbeth at the Pontiac Little Art Theatre (PLAT). Returning to our new home venue, All Saints Episcopal Church, we produced The Outsiders and Clue On Stage. The 2022-23 season began with Shrek, Jr. and continued with Lend Me a Tenor and Crimes of the Heart. Our final 2022-23 production, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella which is to be produced in July at Central United Methodist Church in Waterford.
Another big first for Pontiac Theatre IV came in 2019 when we began to award the Carl Tenuta Scholarship to a graduating high school senior. The $1500.00 award goes to seniors who must have been a member of Theatre IV for at least two years. In addition, each applicant is required to do an audition (for musical, dance and/or acting) or a complete technical presentation for those behind the scenes. Recipients of the Carl Tenuta Scholarship have been:
- 2019 – Gabrielle Slee
- 2020 – Kaylie Robinson
- 2021 – No Award
- 2022 – Bella Spry
- 2023 – Sloan Lamb
It has been a long and rewarding journey for the members, performers, friends, and audience members of Pontiac Theatre IV. The current board of directors hopes you enjoy this history of the group and thanks you for participating in Pontiac’s Community Theatre, Pontiac Theatre IV.