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Published: Wednesday, 7/30/2008

Teens, show tunes and gender bending on area stages

BY NANCIANN CHERRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Summer is supposed to be a fallow time for stage productions, but there s still a lot of variety in Toledo and the area for those who like live entertainment.

In Maumee, 3B Productions opens its first all-teen show, High School Musical On Stage!

Released in 2006, High School Musical became the Disney Channel s most successful original movie ever produced. The Emmy Award-winner went on to inspire a television sequel; a feature film, due to hit theaters in October; a concert version, and a stage adaptation, which 3B is presenting.

We had never done an all-teen show, said Joe Barton, one of the founders (along with Gary Buerk and Jesse Bernal) of 3B. It s the biggest one of them all, like West Side Story was back in its day, so we figured we might as well kick it off right.

A preview performance on July 24 went well, he said, and he s looking forward to an even better show for tonight s opening.

For those not in the know, the plot goes something like this: Sharpay Evans and her brother, Ryan, are used to being the stars of the musical productions at East High School, but one year, they re upstaged by Troy Bolton, captain of the basketball team, and Gabriella Montez, a shy transfer student who s a whiz in math and science. Troy and Gabriella win the leading roles in the latest show, to the dismay of not only Sharpay and Ryan, but also members of the basketball and the scholastic decathlon teams, who fear that Troy and Gabriella will no longer be able to devote enough time to their main extracurricular focuses.

Troy and Gabriella resist peer pressure to drop out of the production, thus teaching their fellow students that they can follow their dreams.

The stage show is somewhat different from the movie, Barton said in a telephone interview. It s the same story line, but the stage version goes a little deeper into the characters and the chorus has a lot more to do.

Heading the large cast are Taylor Yohe and Jackie Skoog of Bowling Green High School as, respectively, Troy and Sharpay, Caitlyn Varwig of Bowsher as Gabriella, and Kyle Rutkowski of Whitmer as Ryan.

Also performing are Andrew Ackerman, Sebastian Adams, Darien Ankney, Justin Betancourt, Dylan Bielen, Chad Brown, Brian Brubaker, Jennifer Charvat, Brian Collins, Cody Dent, Annie DeSantis, Julian DeSantis, Zack Doane, Bethany DuBell, Ben Duncan, Layan Elwazani, Tyler Farr, Monica Gonzalez, Kyle Gossett, Kaleigh Gray, Amy Heider, Katie Kitz, Jayson Kolbicz, Josh Kovin, Emily Krueger, Jeff Malanga, Kapil Melkote, Jamie Paridon, Erin Podracky, Rachel Rine, Elizabeth Romey, James Sherwood, Gabi Shook, Jenson Strock, Dylan Tan, Maegan Vogel, Brianna Willinger, Rachel Wolin, and Paige Zilba.

I really lucked out, Barton said. The cast represents 12 different high schools, and I got all the talented kids.

High School Musical is scheduled at 8 p.m. today-Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the Maumee Indoor Theater, 606 Conant St., Maumee. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors from Kostumes LTD, 7313 International Dr., Holland, or at the theater box office. Information: 419-865-5533.

Broadway cabaret

Come to the cabaret, my friends is a line from the musical Cabaret, and it s one that audience members just might hear next week when "Broadway at Manhattan s opens in the Adams Street restaurant.

Five performers have organized a show featuring an evening of songs from contemporary Broadway musicals such as Miss Saigon, Rent, Songs for a New World, and Chicago

.

Featured will be Matthew Bowland of Genoa, who has appeared in such shows as Cabaret and The Fully Monty for the Toledo Repertoire Theatre; Vicki Monhollen-Clyce of Northwood (Waterville Playshop productions, including Cabaret); Craig Cousino of Erie, who has sung for events at the International Institute; Lindsey Denham of Oregon (Waterville Playshop and Bowling Green State University shows); and Zach Lahey of Toledo, a co-owner of the restaurant, who has starred in such shows as the Rep s The Full Monty and Guys and Dolls at the Valentine Theatre.

Damian Stout of Bowling Green is the musical director.

Broadway at Manhattan s is scheduled at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Aug. 7 in Manhattan s restaurant, 1516 Adams St. The $20 tickets includes one drink and hors d oeuvres before the show. Information: 419-243-6675.

Season opener

The Fort Findlay Playhouse begins its 2008-09 season tonight with The Queen of Bingo.

The comedy by Jeanne Michels and Phyllis Murphy explores issues that strongly affect older women, including widowhood, loneliness, family ties, hot flashes, and weight gain. Originally written for women, the show became a hit when it introduced some gender-bending, with men taking the key roles of sisters Sis and Babe, who adore playing bingo as much as gossiping about their friends and enemies.

Directed by Jim Toth, the FFP cast features Patrick Davis as Babe, Marty Williams as Sis, and Andrea Adams-Miller as Father Francis McKenzie Muldoon.

The Queen of Bingo is scheduled at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday through Aug. 7 in the Fort Findlay Playhouse, 300 West Sandusky St., Findlay. Tickets are $12 through the Arts Partnership, 618 South Main St., Findlay. Information: 419-422-4624.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at: ncherry@theblade.com or 419-724-6130.



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