Since organizing Regalo Theater Company, the question has been asked “So, tell us, how did Regalo get started”?
We could start this story by saying it was just a group of people with a passion for a similar hobby, and yes that would be true. The full story, however, is so much more fun!
If you’ve ever seen the musical “Into The Woods”, you’ll hear the story of several different individuals whose paths cross in unique ways. The baker, and his wife. Jack and the Beanstalk. Little Red Ridinghood and even Cinderella. Each with their own stories, whose paths all converge in the woods. Let us introduce our characters in the Regalo Story.
Meet the Characters
Michael & Colleen Carrasco are a theater couple with over twenty years of building shows here in Utah as well as participating in theater all throughout the United States. Michael’s theater career has spanned nearly forty years starting out as an actor and then as a director for the last twenty. Colleen has been involved with theater for nearly twenty years also building up a fantastic resume of building up shows and programs, all while being a brilliant actor as well.
After 20 years in the industry, you begin to build a habit of raising the bar with each production. Directing shows as small as Tuna Christmas, to as large as Les Miserables and Hunchback of Notre Dame, there is very little the Carrascos haven’t been a part of.
When you put as much time, energy, heart, and care into something like theater, you develop a wish to have someday the opportunity to start something you can call your own. Finally knowing that the prop you built or the set you constructed will have more purpose than just the one show. To have a place to gather with the relationships you’ve developed along the way but, how do you build the business side?
Dusty & Crystal Pyne discovered a love for theater at a young age and throughout their lives have come full circle to rediscover that passion. Dusty took a twenty-year hiatus while launching a successful career running two restaurants over the course of the last fifteen years, and has found that theater provides an artistic balance in his busy life of running those restaurants.
Crystal started out as the littlest billy goat gruff and playing the peach in James and the Giant Peach and moved to participate in NJROTC instead of theater and later took on the mantle of wife and mother, all the while still enjoying watching theater and supporting friends and family. Running a successful property management company herself, both Dusty & Crystal began making their way back to the theater and rediscovering what a gift it is both personally and to the communities they serve.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a lead or an ensemble member, theater has a certain magic that brings people together and provides a platform for growth and discovery of one’s self. The Pynes started exploring the idea of giving back to the community in a meaningful way. But, how do you go about the production side of theater?
Christopher d’Argy found himself in a new school without friends midway through the school year in 1995 when suddenly a group of people from his middle school invited him to be a part of a production of Aladdin at the high school. Immediately hooked went on to be in over ten plays in his four years of high school. Finding a passion not just for theater but for introducing people to participate in the theater became a goal. He found ways to invite people to theater including introverted best friends, and some acquaintances, and even (somehow) convinced his Father to participate.
Convinced that theater wouldn’t be the vehicle to support his family, Chris found another passion that combined his love of strategy and creativity. Marketing.
Marketing was a way to connect people with things they needed in their lives. Connecting a mother to fashionable baby products or keto dieters with delicious keto shakes, or even generating leads for self-improvement instructors, marketing filled the need for connection, much like the way theater connects with its audiences.
However, after 15 years away from the theater he, like some of the other characters in this tale, found his way back into the arms of theater.
The Stage is Set
Chris one day saw an ad for auditions in “It’s a Wonderful Life the Musical”. Nervous and almost ready to run away he walked into the audition room at the SCERA in Orem. Little did he know at the time sitting behind the table was Michael, the director. After a brief moment of introduction, Chris auditioned for the show. To his surprise, he was cast as Burt the Cop. And that was it. He caught the bug.
Years later after moving across the country and back, Chris was walking down the road and a vehicle pulled over calling his name. It was Michael!
“Hey, you’re back! I just wanted to let you know that my wife and I will be directing Hunchback of Notre Dame with Lehi this summer. You should consider auditioning!”
Again in the audition room still terrified, Chris was introduced for the first time to Colleen, the director! Almost as surprised as the first time, Chris was cast as King Louise XI, and once again was blown away by the quality and comradery the Carrascos created in their shows. He loved being cast in their shows.
Fast-forwarding into the future Chris found himself with the opportunity to participate as the Program Manager/Producer with a theater in American Fork. He called Michael about directing Jekyll & Hyde the Musical. After graciously declining he suggested that Colleen would be perfect as a director for that show and boy what a suggestion! Jekyll & Hyde During the time of building that show, we get introduced to the other characters in our story!
Colleen and Chris started working with Dusty. Not in the capacity of the successful businessman, but as Tower 1 and Thing 2 (please forgive the inside joke). Dusty was always fun to work with. He really stood out with his “If you’re not having fun, You’re not doing it right” attitude. That show was a success.
Later Dusty came back to AFCT and starred as the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. With the goal of spending time with his talented daughters, Dusty showed a fantastic acting range going from dark and alarming, to punchy and jovial.
It’s So Amazing What Comes From Offhand Comments!
Fast forward another year. Although they had become acquaintances, it was the first time Crystal and Chris shared a stage together in Elf: The Musical. Having been introduced through Dusty and some fun Brazilian BBQ cast parties at the Pyne’s home, Crystal and Chris found themselves in line waiting to start rehearsal shortly after getting mics on.
The conversation began with Crystal saying “I had a crazy idea for an improv troupe…” and started giving the details. Intrigued, Chris had also spent time pondering a new take on improv and honestly thought Crystal’s concept was brilliant!
“So are you considering starting something like that? What’s holding you back”? Chris asked
“Actually Dusty and I have been looking to find a way to give back to the community and we feel theater is the way we’d like to do that. We just don’t know where to start”. Crystal replied.
“Hmm. I know the Carrascos have always had a dream of starting something. Would you be interested in having a meeting”?
So a discovery meeting was scheduled. Not knowing what to call it, we started referring to it as “The Project”. One moment we’re all on our own individual paths in theater, to next, finding ourselves sitting at a table near the pool. The goal was to see if our visions aligned and if this really was a viable concept.
After assigning tasks about how show budgets generally work and what goes into organizing a 501c3, we came back together and found our visions aligned and the path was clear. But what to call it? We obviously couldn’t always refer to this idea as “The Project”.
After sorting through mountains of name ideas, and hours of looking at name possibilities, we looked at a suggestion given by Dusty near the beginning of our naming journey.
Regalo was a Spanish word meaning “Gift”.
It resonated. In an instant, we realized that theater was a gift. The desire for the Pynes to give back was a gift. The ability to realize a dream of starting a theater company was a gift. The lives that change through theater, either as a participant or as an audience members are also a gift. And we all wanted to share that gift!
Sharing The Gift
After announcing Regalo Theater Company and Utah county’s newest community theater, people started reaching out about helping share the gift! It was awe-inspiring the number of people reaching out to fill whatever needs presented themselves.
This is our story—the accumulation of people and situations that come together in a moment from an offhanded comment. The organic desire to share and participate in theater provided a path to opportunity. Now that you know the story, consider for yourself how would you like to give back?
Would you like to audition? Can you share your building skills with props/sets or your fashion skills with costumes? Perhaps you’re able to design with makeup? Or maybe you’ve had a seed of desire to learn how to further your knowledge of these things and would like to volunteer as an assistant in any of these categories.
Consider joining us in the movement to further the life-changing effects theater has in our community. Contact us for opportunities to start.