Working with your spouse isn’t always easy, but Kirk and Tammra Eslinger seem to be approaching the finish line of Valley Musical Theatre’s production of “The Music Man” in one piece.

Kirk is directing the show, his second time at the helm of a VMT production, while his wife, Tammra, is producing for the first time.

“(We) just made up yesterday,” Tammra said with a laugh. “We’d been at war for a couple days.”

The show debuts 7 p.m. Friday in the Morgan Performing Arts Center, with 7 p.m. shows on July 6, 11, 12 and 13. One matinee is scheduled for 2 p.m. July 7. Tickets are $15 and available at Jerrol’s, the door or online at

Tammra, who works at Cashmere Valley Bank in Cle Elum, said her first time producing a community theater show has been challenging and fun, but she also didn’t realize how much went into the role. One thing she was amazed with was the sheer amount of volunteers it takes.

“There’s lots of need in the dressing room, getting the costumes ready for the actors to put on, helping them with a zipper, a button, to iron or press something,” she said. “I work in my little world, I’m thinking where am I going to find all these people to do this?”

Luckily, a board member stepped up to be her volunteer coordinator.

“Bless you!” Tammra recalled saying in relief.

It’s Kirk’s second time in the director’s chair with VMT, previously helming a production of “Guys and Dolls.” He works as the human resources director for Grant County.

“It’s been about three years, so you forget about how painful it is,” he said jokingly.

Kirk said his favorite part about working with VMT is meeting people from all around the community he normally wouldn’t cross paths with.

“It’s a fun way to get to know people you wouldn’t know otherwise,” Kirk said. “High school students that would not cross my path, different people from different jobs. It’s fun to have that common interest together.”

One challenge for all VMT directors is finding the space to rehearse. While the VMT has access to the beautiful new Morgan auditorium, it doesn’t while school is in session. Early rehearsals, which started in May, were held at Ellensburg High School’s Little Theater, along with hallways, classrooms and wherever else the cast and crew could find space.

“It can be challenging because you’re spending time trying to say ‘Imagine this, there will be 20 more feet, it will work, trust me,’” Kirk said.

With more than 80 people involved in the production — not including volunteers — Kirk said he’s feeling very confident about the production with the premiere just a few days away, something he says isn’t always the case.

“Any show I’ve ever been involved with at any level, you have that last-minute panic where you’re thinking ‘There’s no way this is going to come together in seven days,’” he said. “But we’re pretty dang close. Things are looking good and the cast has put in an immense amount of work.”


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