June 23, 2015

Theatre on the Square Announces 2015/16 Season



Theatre on the Square is thrilled to announce its 2015/16 season. Season tickets are now on sale. 

Enter Love

September 11 – 27, 2015 – Christel DeHaan Main Stage
Director: Lynn Lupold

A musical about the ever-changing nature of romantic relationships in the first decade of the 21st century. It is set in an international airport, located in a large city somewhere in the mid-west. The production consists of a series of encounters—with dialogue and music—that take place between an assortment of couples and individuals at various locations—arrival and departure concourses, waiting lounges, baggage check, observation deck, and the central location, a bar—in the airport.

Special Co-Production – To be announced soon 
October 3 – 31, 2015 – Christel DeHaan Main Stage
Director: Ben Asaykwee

Miss Gulch Returns
October 23 – November 8, 2015 – Stage Two

Brent Marty revives his one-man/one-woman musical comedy written and originally performed by Fred Barton. It is a loose parody of the character of Almira Gulch from the 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz as portrayed by Margaret Hamilton. Blurring the line between fiction and reality, the show builds on the premise that Almira Gulch was an actress—rather than a character portrayed by an actress—who appeared in The Wizard of Oz (as herself). Songs include Born On A Bike, Pour Me A Man, and I Can Be An Icon, Too.

A Christmas Story
November 27 – December 20, 2015 – Christel DeHaan Main Stage
Director: Lori Raffel

Humorist Jean Shepherd’s memoir of growing up in the Midwest in the 1940s follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker in his quest to get a genuine Red Ryder BB gun under the tree for Christmas. All the elements from the beloved motion picture are here, including the family’s temperamental exploding furnace; Scut Farkas, the school bully; the boys’ experiment with a wet tongue on a cold lamppost; the Little Orphan Annie decoder pin; Ralphie’s father winning a lamp shaped like a woman’s leg in a net stocking; Ralphie’s fantasy scenarios and more. A Christmas Story is destined to become a theatrical holiday perennial.

8 Reindeer Monologues
November 27, December 20, 2015 – Stage Two
Director: Greg Howard

Eight reindeer dishing about the real Santa. All those rumors you’ve heard about him and the elves? About Rudolph’s little secret? About Vixen’s story that was leaked to the press? All true. Yes, the reindeer finally speak up and – believe us – they do not hold back!

Skylight
January 22 — February 13 – Christel DeHaan Main Stage
Director: Gari Williams

Actor Bill Simmons stars in this play about Kyra is surprised to see the son of her former lover at her apartment in a London slum. He hopes she will reconcile with his distraught, now widowed, father. Tom, a restless, self-made restaurant and hotel tycoon, arrives later that evening, unaware of his son’s visit. Kyra, who was his invaluable business associate and a close family friend until his wife discovered their affair, has since found a vocation teaching underprivileged children. Is the gap between them unbridgeable, or can they resurrect their relationship?

Killer Joe
February 19 –  March 5, 2016 – Stage Two
Director: Lori Raffel

The first play by the author of August: Osage County, which premiered at Chicago’s Steppenwolf before going on to acclaimed productions in London and New York. Hired by the dissolute Smith family to murder the matriarch for insurance money, Killer Joe takes the daughter to bed as a retainer against his final payoff which sets in motion a bloody aftermath as the “hit man” meets his match

Passion
March 11 – 26, 2016 – Christel DeHaan Main Stage
Director:  Tim Spradlin

Set in 19th century Italy, this dramatic musical concerns a young soldier and the changes in him brought about by the obsessive love of Fosca, his Colonel’s homely, ailing cousin. The New York Times – Once in an extraordinary while, you sit in a theater and your body shivers with the sense and thrill of something so new, so unexpected, that it seems, for those fugitive moments, more like life than art. Passion is just plain wonderful.

Porno Stars at Home
April 1 – 23, 2016 – Stage Two
Director: Bill Wilkison

All those people who live fantasy lives up there on the not so silver porno screen what might they be like at home, away from the tacky lighting and cheap interiors of their workaday world? What might they fantasize about? What might they really, really want? One wants to be discovered as a serious actress well, they all more or less want that ; one, a star of gay porno, is actually heterosexual and wants to be recognized as such; another wants a child. At Georgia Lloyd Bernhart’s birthday party which wish, if any, will come true?

Batboy: The Musical
April 29 – May 28, 2016 – Christel DeHaan Main Stage
Director:  Zack Neiditch (co-produced with Zach Rosing)

Inspired by a series of tabloid headlines published in 1992 by The Weekly World News, a group of spelunking West Virginian teenagers discover the creature and the sheriff brings him to the local veterinarian (Dr. Parker’s) home, where he begins to assimilate to human life and become a part of the Parker family while trying to keep his penchant for sucking human blood under control. When Edgar tries to ingratiate himself with the townfolk of Hope Falls, he is quickly rejected, and he and Dr. Parker’s daughter (who fall in love) run away together. After a single night of joyous freedom, tragedy strikes when Meredith finds them and reveals the dark secret of Bat Boy’s origin.

Time Stands Still 
June 17 – July 9, 2016
Director:  Gari Williams

The play focuses on Sarah and James, a photojournalist and a foreign correspondent trying to find happiness in a world that seems to have gone crazy. Theirs is a partnership based on telling the toughest stories, and together, making a difference. But when their own story takes a sudden turn, the adventurous couple confronts the prospect of a more conventional life.

Rent
July 15 – August 13, 2016
Director: Scott Robinson

20th anniversary of RENT on Broadway!  Set in the East Village of New York City, rent is about falling in love, finding your voice and living for today. Winner of the TONY Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, rent has become a pop cultural phenomenon with songs that rock and a story that resonates with audiences of all ages. Based loosely on Puccini’s La Boheme.

Image from here
 

June 10, 2015

Dirty Dancing

“Nobody puts baby in a corner.” That famous line is just one of the many reasons the film “Dirty Dancing” became such a huge hit. Now it’s joined the ever-growing list of movies to become Broadway musicals in the past decade. Some have failed miserably, (I’m looking at you Ghost), while other have had a seamless transition to the stage. For me, this one worked. It avoided the pitfalls that so many of the recent movie-to-musical Broadway shows have made. It didn’t try to insert awkward ballads into the midst of a scene. It also relied heavily on the dancing, which was excellent. 


The plot lends itself to the musical format much more than most. It’s built around the story of a young girl learning to dance, so music and dance numbers were easily incorporated into the show, while staying incredibly close to the original story.  Baby, is a 17-year-old vacationing with her parents in the Catskills. She has her eyes opened as she gets to know the staff that works at the resort. As she falls for the dance instructor, Johnny, she learns that first impressions aren’t always accurate.
There are a few small changes from the film, namely an added emphasis on Martin Luther King Jr. and the Freedom Riders. There was also more depth given to Baby’s parents’ relationship, which worked well. The production keeps most of the songs from the film, sometimes as background music, occasionally as live performances by the supporting cast.
 

The set uses a huge television screen to transport us quickly from a field to a lake to the resort in an instant and at times it was distracting. The live band on a second floor platform worked well though and used the space wisely. Samuel Pergande as Johnny Castle, was clearly hired for his dancing skills, and there’s no shortage of those, but his acting misses the mark. His lines come across as empty, and his wooden performance left something to be desired. 

No one going to see Dirty Dancing should be expecting groundbreaking theatre. They should go because they love the movie. It’s fun, entertaining, and full of familiar scenes, which is just what I was hoping for.  


Don't Miss the Show
The show runs until Sunday, June 14 at Clowes Memorial Hall so hurry to get tickets. Tickets can be purchased at Clowes Memorial Hall, Old National Centre (Murat Theatre), by calling (800)-982-2787 or online here. Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday.


Photos courtesy of Broadway Across America