THIS JUST IN: Review from Cherry and Spoon for "Wait Until Dark"

THIS JUST IN: Review from Cherry and Spoon for "Wait Until Dark"

REVIEW: Cherry and Spoon - Wait Until Dark

We are excited to share Cherry and Spoon's review of "Wait Until Dark," which opened on September 9th and runs until September 25.

If you think you aren't afraid of the dark, you haven't seen this show!

 

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#NationalBookLoversDay - Rank the Best Plays Based on Books

Today, Lyric Arts celebrates #NationalBookLoversDay by highlighting the multitudes of incredible plays inspired by books. 

Our Executive Director, Laura Tahja Johnson loves Les Miserables and would love to bring it to the Lyric Arts Main Street Stage some day.

Which one would you like to see on our stage?  Rank the list  below and feel free to tell us why in the comments.

To find out what is on stage this season, click here.

Summer is sizzling and fun is being had here at Lyric Arts!

You think it is hot outside!?  Well, summer is sizzling here at Lyric Arts.  Why you ask?

SUPER SIZZLING SHOW

For starters, we have a refreshing show that audiences are loving with "Nice Work If You Can Get It."  If you don't believe me, check out our reviews on Facebook to see what Gina Overacker had to say when she rated the show as 5 Stars.

So, if you don't have any weekend plans before August 7, when the show closes, be sure to get your tickets at the box office or online.

SUMMER WORKSHOPS ARE EVEN HOTTER!

But let me tell you!  This summer it is really all about the fun the kids in our summer workshops are having every day. Our building is a buzz with kids singing and dancing.  We even have a group working on producing their own show this summer through our Praxis Program.  (more to come on that later, I promise!) 

The good news is that if you haven't yet made plans for your kids in August, fear not!  We have some openings in some of our workshops.  Head on over to our workshops page to learn more and to get registered.  If you are still not convinced, here is a little peek at our Kidz Bop Kabaret!

 

"Anatomy of Gray" Review by Andrew Browers

Like many of the patrons last night, I had absolutely no idea what to expect from Anatomy of Gray. I mean, I had loose associations with famous medical texts (which I have never even paged through) and loose associations with an early 2000s saucy medical TV drama (which I have never even watched more then three or four minutes of), so my mind was mostly open. And, of course, an open mind is the best seat in any house.

I believe in fables. I believe in their power to do a lot of work in only a little time, and to do complex, beautiful things in a way that’s simple, accessible, palatable, enjoyable. At the top of the show, June (played by Nykeigh Larson) sets the tone and we know at once that the play is going to be an oral tradition-style tale, told from the perspective of a child.

The elements of fable kick in right away as the events begin to unfold in a sort of inverted chord of The Wizard of Oz. There’s a storm (Homer even essentially has the line “it’s a twista!”). There’s a little girl who is looking for her missing dog. There’s the expansively boring American Middle West. And there’s a hot air balloon that the residents of Gray, Indiana probably assumed could have come directly from Oz or someplace even stranger like Paris. And on that balloon is a wizard of sorts. But his magic is modern medicine.

Don Maloney (left) stars as the feisty, outspoken Pastor Wingfield opposite Ty Hudson as Dr. Galen Gray, the town healer.

Don Maloney (left) stars as the feisty, outspoken Pastor Wingfield opposite Ty Hudson as Dr. Galen Gray, the town healer.

If those ingredients had been added in a different order and stirred a different direction, we could have expected Munchkins and flying monkeys and songs about rainbows, but that’s where the fable decides to remain grounded in a 19th century world that, to an imaginative, passionate, vivacious young female narrator looked very, very gray indeed.

The small cast boasts plenty of talent. From her first moment in the light, Larson commands the stage as the spunky June Muldoon. Through she be but little, she is fierce, clear, direct, and wonderfully light in the moments that call for youthful levity. But I have a secret confession: I am drawn more to the silent moments on stage that an actor must pack with intention and then radiate outward into the audience. Very early in the show, Larson’s joyful narration shifts into a flashback into the events of the play, and her sharp turn from exuberance to heavy despair was immediate and powerful. In that silence, as I saw and felt her energy bear the weight of loss, I knew this show was in excellent hands.

Ty Hudson whirls onstage as the aforementioned balloon-riding medical doctor. Again, I’m always watching energy and intention, and Hudson’s buoyant spirit serves so much of the shows physical comedy (not something I was expecting to find, but a really pleasant surprise). An exchange involving a crash course in germ theory with technical jargon that dazzles and baffles the locals was a little bit like a pioneer age mashup of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and The Big Bang Theory (which is an awesome thing, obviously). The good doctor is a mix of paradoxes: he’s a surgeon with a queasy stomach, and a wildly informed and intelligent man who still fumbles, as we all do, with his feelings sometimes. Hudson is light on his feet, nimble with his dialogue, and warm and gentle and always, always very present.

Other moments that need honorable mentions include the symbolic markings of illness (I do love me some straight up theatricality), and the beautiful, silent depictions of death as a somber yet loving exchange (I want to avoid spoilers, but kudos to those involved in the tying together of their hands as they make their final exit—you know who you are, right??). The music, which was sometimes beaitful finger picked guitar and sometimes old, familiar hymns underscored the show marvelously.

I found only two things that would have helped me enjoy the show even more. I am really, really distracted when actors step or walk backwards to get somewhere. It’s a tiny thing, and super easy to adjust, and definitely something people often do without realizing they are doing it at all. But it’s okay to turn your back on the audience, especially for just a second to find your mark or light. This didn’t happen too often, but I did notice it a few times. Also, I would have loved to either see all the props rather than having actors mime occasionally or have all the props mimed, since it’s kind of a memory play anyway. This choice can work, of course, but I couldn’t really figure out if there were rules in the world of the play about why certain objects were mimed and when and others weren’t. I understand bringing a steak on stage every night can get complicated ($$$), but I think it’s worth it. Although, I loved the working water pump! I get excited when surprising objects onstage are functional. I am what I am.

The “Gray” of the title is packed with meaning. It’s the name of the town in which the play is set, yet. It’s the name of the doctor who drops into their lives, yes. But the meaning goes deeper. The seemingly black and white conflict between faith and science, between life and death choices, between comedy and tragedy, between love and loss—they all get mixed up, smeared messily together, and become the blended and confusing world we all know and live in every day. And it’s good to examine that mess, to try to pick it apart once in a while in order to better understand the context of what it is and what it’s made of.

It’s always good to study the anatomy of gray. 

Andy Browers grew up in Cloquet, MN and earned degrees in Creative Writing and Theatre from Bemidji State University. He sometimes works as a theatre artist (Paul Bunyan Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Minnesota, Chameleon Theatre Circle, and the Minnesota Fringe Festival) and sometimes works as a freelance writer (you can check out some of his work at bookriot.com). He lives in Minneapolis, where he eats too much sushi. Just kidding, you can’t eat too much. Unless you’re pregnant. Which he isn’t. Probably. Okay, he eats too much sushi anyway. 

"Anatomy of Gray" Review by Rick Wyman

Heading into Lyric Arts' production of Anatomy of Gray, the only familiarity I had with this play was that it was billed as a "children's story for adults" based on life, loss, and love.  Knowing this, my initial thought was that this would be a light hearted story with a take away of a life lesson or two.  What I experienced in the end was something much more powerful and poignant.

Anatomy of Gray is a coming-of-age story told through the memories of June Muldoon, a 15-year-old girl growing up in the small town of Gray, Indiana, in the late 1800’s. After her father’s death, June prays for a healer to come to her town so that “no one will ever have to die again”.  When a stranger blows into town in a hot air balloon, June thinks her prayer is answered; however, she begins to doubt this soon afterwards as her town’s residents are struck by a mysterious plague.

Resident Director Scott Ford’s stage direction and Jim Eischen’s scene design provided the ideal springboard from which this story was brought to life.  The minimalistic set evoked the feeling of a life-size diorama which, when paired with Eischen’s emotionally impactful lighting design and a very talented cast, resulted in many visually satisfying moments throughout this show. 

The townsfolk of Gray, Indiana, gather at the funeral of June Muldoon's (Nykeigh Larson, right) father. Rebekah Muldoon (Jessica Scott) does her best to comfort her grief-stricken daughter. Photo credit Scott Pakudaitis.

The townsfolk of Gray, Indiana, gather at the funeral of June Muldoon's (Nykeigh Larson, right) father. Rebekah Muldoon (Jessica Scott) does her best to comfort her grief-stricken daughter. Photo credit Scott Pakudaitis.

Nykeigh Larson portrays protagonist June Muldoon with youthful pluckiness & confidence balanced with uncertainty & vulnerability.  Jessica Scott turns in a powerful performance as Rebecca Muldoon, a recently widowed mother struggling to be the solid foundation that her daughter needs while facing several life changing events and fears of her own.  As the healer that is blown into town, Ty Hudson’s Galen P. Gray is charming, comical, and confident yet constantly plagued by self-doubt.

The town residents of Gray are portrayed by James Ehlenz (Homer), Nancy Lipinski (Tiny Wingfield), Don Maloney (Pastor Phineas Wingfield), Cassandra Proball (Maggie), Timmy Rawerts (Crutch Collins), and Beth Tangeman (Belva Collins).  All put forth sincere and wonderfully enjoyable performances, providing much of the humor in the play but also driving the antagonistic force within this story by way of their characters’ fear and ignorance which is magnified as events unfold.

The townsfolk of Gray, Indiana surround Dr. Galen P. Gray (Ty Hudson), the healer for which June has been praying. Photo credit Scott Pakudaitis.

The townsfolk of Gray, Indiana surround Dr. Galen P. Gray (Ty Hudson), the healer for which June has been praying. Photo credit Scott Pakudaitis.

The production also included original guitar compositions by Warren Sampson who was featured on stage throughout the entirety of the show, often silhouetted against the Midwestern prairie sky.  Sampson’s music added to the rich and beautiful texture of this piece as it was woven through the fabric of the play’s dialogue.

While I may not have known what to expect heading into Anatomy of Gray, I came away having enjoyed a performance that was as thought-provoking and touching as it was humorous and charming.  For those seeking such an experience, Lyric’s production is not to be missed.

Rick Wyman is a Twin Cities based actor and Lyric Arts alum.  When not onstage, he enjoys volunteering for local performing arts programs, travelling with his wife, Cheri, and continuing his life long quest to hone his repertoire of really bad jokes & puns (much to the chagrin of his two kids).

 

 

 

 

"Shrek The Musical" Review–Andrew Browers

So you’re going to adapt an animated blockbuster for the stage. What do you do?

Could you hire Julie Taymor to figure out how to make a stylized elephant walk through the house on its way to a stage leaping with stylized antelope that are built atop some of the best dance talent in the professional world? Well. Yes, you could. But then you’ve set a precedent for spectacle, and without it people are gonna be like “uh, they tried, but where was the elephant? The antelope? Where was Julie Taymor?” You can tell them hakuna matata until your face is blue, but their disappointment might not be so easily forgotten.

That cartoon blockbuster adaptation was certainly a huge success, but in an important way, Shrek The Musical succeeds where The Lion King fails. Let me explain.

As I settled into my seat last night—my first time at Lyric Arts—the wonderful and sacred act of willingly suspending my disbelief was aided by how little I remembered about Shrek. The last time I saw it was in a movie theater, because I am half ancient, obviously. But I remembered the irreverent flavor, the sometimes adult edge, and the loveable heart of the story’s theme. And guess what you don’t need to keep those things not only intact but in the forefront? A freakin’ elephant. That’s what.

Shrek The Musical, especially when produced locally in smaller theatres, is stripped of so much spectacle, and I think it’s a service to the show, and to the art form in general. Lyric Arts’ production is carried not by technical elements, but by some truly beautiful voices (Martino Gabriel-Mayotte and Anna Larranaga, who play Shrek and Fiona respectively, get particularly honorable mentions along with Katharine Strom, who kicks it into high gear more than once) and many truly enthusiastic, committed performances from the ensemble. Another challenge to the audience is to separate these performances from their big screen counterparts. I mean, we’re up against Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy, people. That’s not a small order. Ricky Morisseau delivers a spunky version of Donkey that keeps the familiar sass from the film but adds a flare of fabulousness that had people giggling more times than I could count (also there was a little girl in a box seat standing the whole time just about losing her mind every time he was onstage). And, okay—full disclosure, I tend to watch villains more closely than heroes because they’re often given the best stuff to work with. So let’s just talk about Lord Farquaad for a second. Through it doesn’t count as spectacle, his stature situation was handled with campy perfection. And Kyler Chase was noticeably present, listening, and responding truthfully (albeit ridiculously)—all of which are high merits in my wish list of any show.

A couple things from my wish list that I would have liked to see include a running crew (I find it a little distracting when we see characters doing scene changes in bright, easily identifiable costumes), and a little more dialect work with Gabriel-Mayotte, whose West coast Scottish was maybe just one click away from consistency. But those are small potatoes, and are certainly both understandable and forgivable.

Once the cast knocks the show’s thematic anthem, “Let Your Freak Flag Fly,” right out of the park, how could anything not be forgivable? It’s an important message that one really can’t hear too many times: be your fullest self, allow others to be their fullest self, and live happily ever after even though some things will undoubtedly go a little wrong sometimes. I needed to hear it. Maybe you do, too.

Oh. And there is at least one Julie Taymor moment in the production. But you’ll have to see it for yourself.

Andy Browers grew up in Cloquet, MN and earned degrees in Creative Writing and Theatre from Bemidji State University. He sometimes works as a theatre artist (Paul Bunyan Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Minnesota, Chameleon Theatre Circle, and the Minnesota Fringe Festival) and sometimes works as a freelance writer (you can check out some of his work at bookriot.com). He lives in Minneapolis, where he eats too much sushi. Just kidding, you can’t eat too much. Unless you’re pregnant. Which he isn’t. Probably. Okay, he eats too much sushi anyway. 

Audience Review—"Shrek The Musical" by Ryan Nielson

About a year ago, I started noticing that Shrek the Musical was being done pretty much everywhere. So I was less than excited when I heard Lyric Arts would be doing it as well. I was not alone. "Ugh, another company doing Shrek!" Shrek was feeling like the new "Seussical" (to which I give a hearty "no thank you"). Also- and this will come as no surprise- I'm a bit of a musical theater snob. I don't like the nasally book-weak musicals of the modern era. They lack depth. So a stage musical version of the movie Shrek in an era of every-blockbuster-movie-ever-produced-is-now-being-made-into-a-crappy-musical sounds like, forgive me, more "drek". I listened to the soundtrack. I didn't love it. And that, I thought, would be the end of it. I was wrong.

I found myself last night at the preview of "Shrek" at Lyric Arts. I wasn't expecting anything new. But something about the energy in the theater was different. There was an anticipation. There was an electricity. I've felt it before. Lyric Arts' production of Rent had this sense of anticipation. Latte Da's Sweeney Todd had it. And now- to my surprise- so did Shrek. You could also sense the staff's exhaustion- they really gave it all for this one- but also their desperation to share this show with the audience. My soul perked up. Could I be in for some magic? At Shrek??

The lights went down. They came up. The story began. Young actress Natalie Tran marched onto the stage as "little Ogre" and it was ON. What a magnificent little performer. And her entrance really just nails it. You know you're in for something great. Natalie's boundless enthusiasm and imagination are something all actors should emulate and learn from! (I really just cannot say enough about this magnificent young lady who delights again and again throughout the show- particularly as "young Fiona"!)

Natalie's scene with her parents, played with exceptional- and relatable- glee by Taylor Bothun and Atim Opoka, also set the tone for what would be the entire show. In fact, the first twenty minutes of Shrek are so packed with energy, so breathtaking and wonderful, I started to worry about sensory overload! And, I admit, I worried that the rest of the show couldn't keep this up. (Spoiler alert: I was wrong!)

I do not want to give a synopsis of the plot of Shrek, and I know I can't review EVERY MOMENT of the show (though I'd like to), so I am going to talk briefly about the things I think make this particular production so special.

Director Matt McNabb and choreographer Lauri Kraft have, with their cast and crew, crafted a brilliantly paced and engaging production. The stage has enormous depth yet remains intimate. The show clips along with terrific motivation. Nothing felt "stagy" or "pantomimed". We were really taken on a journey. The choreography was dynamic and expressive. It never felt forced (as it does in so many musicals)- it felt natural and exhilarating (as it should). What I mean by all this is that Shrek feels like it is expressing a living work of art on the stage (as opposed to Scene, Song, Dance, Song, Scene, Finale, etc.) Everyone is on the same page in this production and as a result, it achieves unity with the audience. (The terrific book by David Lindsay-Abaire certainly helps!)

Music Direction by Louis Berg-Arnold was terrific. I had my reservations about having the band in another room piping into the theater, but it worked. It worked splendidly, actually. I expect Lyric Arts to continue utilizing this method as it solves a LOT of issues!

The whole cast really does an exceptional job. Particularly having to play multiple roles, as most of them do, making quick make-up, character, and costume changes. Callie Schroer in particular does a really exceptional job of jumping from the Ladies-who-lunch-Karen-Walker-Wicked Witch, to a Duloc Drone, to Teen Fiona, to a Dwarf- way to infuse something unique and personal into each of those characters! I think Callie had the fastest changes in the show and it was very impressive. Kudos to the crew for making these changes happen!

Katharine Strom continues to shine on the stage as the bipolar Sugar-Plum fairy, the lonely Dragon and, of course, the scene-stealing Gingerbread Man. Katie also seems to have developed a special affinity for playing visually disabled fairy-tale characters. Well done.

Shrek and Fiona, played by Martino Gabriel-Mayotte and Anna Larranaga, along with Ricky Morisseau as Donkey, are lovely in their roles. I appreciate that they did not try and duplicate everything about the film. It would be easy for Ricky Morisseau to just try and do Eddie Murphy- but he lends his own uniqueness to Donkey and makes him his own, as do Gabriel-Mayotte and Larranaga. I thought the three of them were particularly terrific in Act II, because to me, the whole show hinges on Shrek and Fiona's relationship. Gabriel-Mayotte and Larranaga really captured both the beauty and the terror of falling in love- and their chemistry was wonderful. Donkey's refusal to accept Shrek's apology was hilarious and heart-felt. The relationships were not pantomimed or sentimental- they were genuine.

Finally, there's Kyler Chase as Lord Farquaad. Hooo, boy. I still have not recovered from the laughter. I think I broke a rib. What I reallly loved, though, about Kyler's performance, was his deep sincerity in the character. He did not treat him as a caricature or a villain- he treated him as a man with an agenda. And a huge ego. Wonderful!

Lastly, I will mention the general art direction of the show. It was brilliant. The costumes were full of expression and unique. Particularly, the Three-Little-Pigs, Wicked Witch, Pinocchio, and Sugar Plum Fairy. Everything works together: the lighting, the set, the costumes- it all seemed to come from one page rather than several pages. To me, this really lets the audience engage in the action without being distracted by this-or-that costume, that set piece, etc, etc. Well done.

As far as criticism goes, it's simple: I have none. There is nothing for me to criticize. When a show comes together and achieves unity, what can I say?

Shrek is the family answer to Into the Woods. So many theaters were stuck trying to make Into the Woods into some kind of family comedy or for children--and it never works. Into the Woods is dark. It's serious. But now, families have Shrek! It's fun! It's colorful! The message is a great one! And this production could not have been better- go and see it! Tickets are already getting to be scarce!

Ryan Nielson is a Minneapolis-based actor and Lyric Arts alum, having performed across many stages in the Twin Cities. Outside of theater, Ryan enjoys film, writing, golf, and spending time with his wife Rachel and two sons.  

Our 2016-2017 Season Announcement

Lyric Arts is proud to announce our 2016-2017 season! It is a celebration of everything we are as a company: joyful, approachable, ambitious, and full of heart. We love to entertain, but also like to tell authentic stories that bring us to a greater understanding of one another as human beings. We can't wait to share it with all of you.

Wait Until Dark
Sept 9–25

By Frederick Knott
Adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher

Directed by Scott Ford, Resident Director

After a flight back home, Sam Hendrix returns with a doll he innocently acquired along the way. As it turns out, the doll is actually stuffed with diamonds, and a group of criminals led by the ruthless con man, Roat, has followed Hendrix back to his place to retrieve it. When Hendrix is tricked into leaving for business, the con men make their move—and find his blind wife, Susan, alone in the apartment. A life-threatening game of cat and mouse ensues...

This Broadway hit and masterfully constructed Tony© award-winning thriller moves from one moment of suspense to another as it builds toward an electrifying, breath-stopping final scene. 

Always...Patsy Cline
Oct 14–30

By Ted Swindley
Music by Patsy Cline
Directed by Zach Curtis
Music Direction by Louis Berg-Arnold

Based on a true story, this fun-loving musical recounts the unlikely friendship between music legend Patsy Cline and her most devoted fan, Louise Seger. Visiting Houston for a show in 1961, Cline meets Seger, a Houston housewife, with her friends by coincidence when they arrive early for the show. The two remain pen pals until Cline’s untimely death, one fateful evening at the age of 30.

With down-home humor and heartache, Always…Patsy Cline offers fans who remember her, a real life glimpse into her life featuring 27 of the star’s most-loved hits including Crazy, Walkin’ After Midnight, and Sweet Dreams. “A song-filled valentine,” says the LA Times, this beloved musical gives us an intimate glimpse into Patsy Cline’s legendary life through her unforgettable music.

A Christmas Story
Nov 18–Dec 18

By Philip Grecian
Based on the motion picture by
Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown, and Bob Clark
Directed by Matt McNabb, Resident Director

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. Ralphie pleads his case before his mother, his teacher and even Santa Claus himself, at Higbee's Department Store. The consistent response: "You'll shoot your eye out!"

All the dryly-funny elements from the beloved motion picture by Jean Shepherd are here, including the family's temperamental exploding furnace; Scut Farkas, the school bully; the boys' experiment licking a frozen lamppost; the Little Orphan Annie decoder pin; Ralphie's fantasy scenarios, and more. We hope you’ll join us to remember the joy of being a kid at Christmastime again, because sometimes Christmas is about getting what you really want.

'Twas The Night Before Christmas
Dec 1–18

By Ken Ludwig
Directed by Hannah Weinberg

"'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse." But wait! A mouse is stirring, because Santa missed his house last year. Before you can say "Merry Christmas!” we're off on a wild adventure involving a mouse, an elf, and a spunky little girl who just won't take no for an answer.

Join us for this tribute to the Christmas season by Tony© award-winner Ken Ludwig. It’s a grand adventure involving a heist, a duel with rapiers, some hip-hop, a squirt gun, a perilous airplane flight, and an elf’s stint as a secret agent. It’s a journey we’re sure the whole family will enjoy—a fun-filled, joyous way to celebrate the holidays together.

Silent Sky
Jan 6–22

By Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Anne Byrd

When Henrietta Leavitt begins work at the Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s, she isn’t allowed to touch a telescope or express an original idea. Instead, she joins a group of women “computers,” charting the stars for a renowned astronomer who calculates projects in “girl hours” and has no time for the women’s probing theories. In her free time, Henrietta attempts to measure the light and distance of stars, she must also take measure of her life on Earth, trying to balance her dedication to science with family obligations and the possibility of love.

The true story of 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific discoveries, when women’s ideas were dismissed until men claimed credit for them. Social progress, like scientific progress, can be hard to see when one is trapped among earthly complications; Henrietta Leavitt and her female peers believe in both, and their dedication changed the way we understand both the heavens and Earth.

The Drawer Boy
Feb 3–19

By Michael Healey
Directed by Craig R. Johnson

It’s 1972 and Miles, an idealistic, ebullient young actor from Toronto, knocks on the door of an isolated farmhouse somewhere in rural Ontario. He hopes to move in with local farmers, Morgan and Angus, two middle-aged bachelor farmers, for a few weeks, and watch and learn as they go about their daily routines, and then make up a play about them and country life.

Morgan is the no-nonsense "farmer boy" who takes pride in working the land, while Angus is the artistic "drawer boy," with a talent for drawing and design. Morgan has taken care of his friend ever since Angus suffered a massive head injury during World War II. In the remarkable sequence of events that follows, decades of deception are cracked open and forgotten memories begin to surface, forcing Morgan and Angus to confront the hard truth of their extraordinary relationship.

Hailed as one of the top ten plays of 2001 by TIME Magazine and winner of nearly every Canadian theater award possible, The Drawer Boy is a humorous and heartwarming play about the simple pleasures of friendship, storytelling, and remembrance. But more than that, it's a rare and profound meditation on the power of theatre to provoke change, to encourage healing, and to tell the truth. 

Urinetown
Mar 10–Apr 2

By Greg Kotis, Music by Greg Kotis, Mark Hollmann
Directed by Matt McNabb, Resident Director
Music Direction by Elise Beckel Santa

Choreography by Penelope Freeh

In a Gotham-like city, a 20-year drought has caused a terrible water shortage leading to a government-enforced ban on private toilets. The citizens must use public amenities, regulated by a single malevolent company that profits by charging admission for one of humanity's most basic needs. Amid the people, a hero decides he's had enough, and plans a revolution to lead them all to freedom!

Inspired by the works of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, Urinetown is an irreverently humorous satire in which no one is safe from scrutiny. Winner of three Tony© awards and praised for reinvigorating the very notion of what a musical could be, Urinetown catapults the "comedic romp" into the new millennium with its outrageous perspective, wickedly modern wit, and sustained ability to produce gales of unbridled laughter.

Winner of three Tony Awards, Urinetown is a hilarious musical satire of the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, municipal politics and musical theatre itself! Hilariously funny and touchingly honest, Urinetown provides a fresh perspective of one of America's greatest art forms.

Revenge of the Space Pandas
Apr 28–May 7

By David Mamet
Music by Alaric Jans
Directed by Brian J Proball

Binky Rudich, his friend Viv, and his almost human sheep Bob, tinker with a two-speed clock with the idea that, as Binky says, "Time on Earth moves at the same speed all the time, but there is another speed, a slower speed, and if we could find it, everything would stand still on Earth and we would spin off." And they do! To Crestview, Fourth World in the Goolagong System, ruled by George Topax and guarded by the Great Space Pandas.

Things really get exciting when the Supreme Ruler commands that Bob be brought to him, never again to leave Goolagong, and he steals the two-speed clock just to make sure. Pulitzer-prize winning playwright, David Mamet, pens this colorful children’s sci-fi fantasy full of vibrant characters and hilarious dialogue perfectly suited to our second annual Theater for Young Performers production. 

Moonlight and Magnolias
Jun 2–18

By Ron Hutchinson
Directed by Adrian Lopez-Balbontin

1939 Hollywood is abuzz. Legendary producer David O. Selznick has shut down production of his new epic, Gone with the Wind, a film adaptation of the novel. The screenplay, you see, just doesn't work. So what's an all-powerful movie mogul to do? While fending off the film's stars, gossip columnists and his own father-in-law, Selznick sends a car for famed screenwriter Ben Hecht and pulls formidable director Victor Fleming from the set of The Wizard of Oz. Summoning both to his office, he locks the doors, closes the shades, and on a diet of bananas and peanuts, the three men labor over five days to fashion a screenplay that will become the blueprint for one of the most successful and beloved films of all time.

“A rip-roaring farce,” says the NY Daily News of Moonlight and Magnolias, this production welcomes us as an insider to the dynamics of vintage Hollywood with hilarity and genuinely witty characters drawn with such affection we can’t help but cheer them on. 

Anything Goes
Jul 7–Aug 13

By Russel Crouse, P. G. Wodehouse, Guy Bolton, Howard Lindsay
Music by P. G. WodehouseCole Porter
Directed by Scott Ford, Resident Director
Music Direction by Mary Cay Stone
Choreography by Lauri Kraft

Billy instantly falls in love with a beautiful girl he meets in a taxi. When he discovers she’s boarding the SS American, the same London-bound ship his boss and co-worker Reno are boarding, he sneaks aboard himself. The beautiful girl, Hope, is engaged to a stuffy British aristocrat, Lord Evelyn, but that doesn’t stop the love-struck Billy. With the help of other passengers, Billy seeks to shake Reno, whose love he doesn’t return, and capture the heart of the girl of his dreams—all without hurting anyone’s feelings.

Originally penned in 1934 with music and lyrics by American composer and songwriter Cole Porter, this musical comedy was revived on Broadway in 2011 and won a Tony award for Best Musical Revival that same year. Widely considered the definitive musical comedy of the 1930s, the AM New Yorker calls it, “a giddy explosion of escapist romance, combining old-fashioned farce, extended dance breaks and light, breezy songs.”