The Huron Playhouse in Huron, Ohio, is celebrating its 56th season with some favorites of American theater, according to Dr. Jann Graham Glann, the managing/artistic director of the playhouse.
The season comprises three musicals and two classic comedies through July 31. Lighter fare is the order of the day, Glann said, because summer audiences just prefer it that way.
The Huron Playhouse is a division of Bowling Green State University's department of theater. Students who are members of the company receive university credit in performance, production, and management. Filling out the casts are performers of all ages from the surrounding communities.
"We have a full company of about 61 people," Glann said, 30 to 35 of whom are students.
The playhouse produces a different production each week. While one play is being presented, the next is being prepared, said Glann, who started her association with the playhouseas a student in the 1970s. She has been the managing director for more than a decade.
This year's season opened Tuesday with an all-American favorite, Oklahoma!, leading up to Independence Day. The show, which features Agnes de Mille's choreography and such classic Rodgers and Hammerstein tunes as "Oklahoma," "People Will Say We're in Love," and "Surrey with the Fringe on Top," stars Glann's son, John Glann of Huron, and Alison Show of Uniontown, Pa., as the young sweethearts Curly and Laurey.
Oklahoma! runs through tomorrow in the playhouse at 325 Ohio St., Huron, which is about an hour east of Toledo. The curtain for all productions rises at 8 p.m.
Even though there are only two days remaining for Oklahoma!, Glann expects few problems for theatergoers who want to attend. "It's funny," she said, "but weekends are when we have the most tickets available. The weekday shows fill up pretty fast."
Opening Tuesday and running through July 10 is Hay Fever by Noel Coward. Instead of being a comedy of manners, the show is a comedy of bad manners, Glann said. It's about a British family - mother, father, son, and daughter - each of whom invites a guest to the family's country house with the intention of having a romantic rendezvous. But the family's eccentricities soon drive each guest into the arms of someone completely different. "It's simply delightful, a sophisticated comedy with that upper-crusty kind of sensibility," she said.
Next up is The Fantasticks, a musical about young passions, disillusionment, and a more mature, deeper love. Along with nosy fathers and sword-fighting bandits, the show includes such memorable songs as "Try to Remember" and "Soon It's Gonna Rain." It runs July 13-17.
Neil Simon's The Odd Couple is scheduled July 20-24. The tale is about two card-playing buddies, one sloppy, the other obsessively neat, who decide to share an apartment after their wives leave them. It made its Broadway debut in 1965 and has been a staple of community and dinner theaters and summer stock ever since.
The season ends with Anything Goes July 27-31. "We've done the show twice before," Glann said. "This one is based on the latest Broadway revival." The thin plot revolves around the several cases of mistaken identity among the passengers and crew of a luxury liner sailing to Europe. But the plot is merely an excuse for the cast to sing some of Cole Porter's greatest songs, including "I Get a Kick Out of You," "All Through the Night," and "You're the Top."
The Huron Playhouse, which opened in 1949, is the oldest continually running summer theater in Ohio.
The Huron Playhouse is in the McCormick School, 325 Ohio St., Huron. Productions are scheduled at 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday through Aug. 3. Tickets are $11 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and $7 for children 11 and younger from the playhouse box office. Information: 419-433-4744.
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