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Published: Thursday, 10/15/2009

Glacity troupe takes up residence in the Valentine

BY NANCIANN CHERRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Glacity Theatre Collective has found a home.

Composed of local theater professionals, Glacity has been in existence since 2007, presenting its shows in a variety of venues, from a former frame shop on Adams Street to the Millennium Theater at Maumee Valley Country Day School.

Now it has become a resident company of the Valentine Theatre.

"We're pretty excited about it," said Holly Monsos, executive director of Glacity and chairman of the University of Toledo department of theater and film.

Glacity was approached by CAPA, the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts, which took over management of the Valentine in July, when Dale Vivirito retired as the local theater's executive director.

One of the goals CAPA set for the Valentine was attracting more regional arts groups to the theater, Monsos said. Glacity was the first to take CAPA up on its offer.

"It will cost us more, rent-wise," Monsos said, "but now audiences can find us. We won't be moving from theater to theater. It will save us [Glacity members] a massive amount of time because we won't have to find a new space for each production."

She also ticked off other benefits: professional lighting and sound, accessibility for those who use mobility equipment, and a feeling of safety for audiences coming downtown at night.

Bill Conner, president of the Columbus organization, is also pleased with the association.

"There's lots of really good space inside the Valentine," he said Tuesday in a telephone interview. "Glacity is a pretty unique professional company, and we're very, very happy to have them here. Over time, we feel that it will turn out to be a great partnership."

One of the problems that the Valentine faced in previous attempts to attract local arts organizations was the requirement that union labor be used, increasing costs to the point that nonprofit groups with a shoestring budget couldn't afford the venue.

Conner said that isn't a problem with Glacity, because the union contracts are limited to the main auditorium, and Glacity will be using other spaces, such as Studio A on the street level and the dance studio on the fifth floor, accessible by the elevator.

Of course, no new association is without a glitch or two, and Glacity has experienced its first.

But it's a good glitch.

The troupe's first show of the season, HAR HAR: An Evening with Harburg Harrisbrandt, was to open tonight. But New York-based playwright Joseph Langham, who wrote and stars in the one-man show, was offered a guest-starring role on Law & Order, creating a scheduling conflict.

"He's an actor; he can't turn that down," Monsos said.

So Glacity delayed its production until next week. HAR HAR now will open Oct. 22.

The show is about a singer-songwriter who tries to perform his songs for a nightclub audience, but he constantly gets distracted and heads off in other directions.

HAR HAR is set in a seedy nightclub, Monsos said, and the Valentine is setting up small tables in Studio A and will have a bar stocked for purchases, so the audience can feel as if it's in a real club.

HAR HAR made its debut at the New York International Fringe Festival, where it won the excellence award for solo show. It was picked up for extended runs off-Broadway and in Arizona.

"HAR HAR: An Evening with Harburg Harrisbrandt" opens at 8 p.m. Oct. 22 in Studio A of the Valentine Theatre. The entrance is 140 Adams St., and doors (and bar) open at 7:30 p.m. Additional performances are Oct. 23, 24, and 29-31. Tickets are $15 and are available in advance at glacity.tix.com. At the door, cash and checks will be accepted.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at: ncherry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6130.



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