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Published: Wednesday, 8/25/2010

Valentine Theatre offers diverse lineup for 2010-11

BY NANCIANN CHERRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Kelly Klein and Danny Vaccaro in Barter Theatre's ‘The Diary of Anne Frank.'
Kelly Klein and Danny Vaccaro in Barter Theatre's ‘The Diary of Anne Frank.'
NOT BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

As August gives way to September, the Valentine Theatre is putting the final touches on its 2010-11 season.

Theater, dance, comedy, music, children, and classic-film fans will find something to please on the schedule that opens with “The Diary of Anne Frank” on Oct. 16.

The drama, based on the writings of a Jewish girl whose family is being hidden in Amsterdam during the Holocaust, is being presented by Barter Theatre, an Abingdon, Va., professional troupe founded during the Depression. Alumni of the troupe include Gregory Peck, Ned Beatty, Hume Cronyn, Robert Redford, Patricia Neal, and Wayne Knight.

Following that on Oct. 22 is the Valentine's annual gala, this year featuring composer Alan Menken, who has won the most Academy Awards of anyone alive. Nominated 18 times, he's won two for “The Little Mermaid,” two for “Beauty and the Beast,” two for “Pocahantas,” and two for “Aladdin.” His collaborators have included Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, and Stephen Schwartz. He also wrote the score for “Little Shop of Horrors” and the song “The Measure of a Man” from “Rocky V.”

At the gala, Menken will be presenting his music from “Leap of Faith,” a theatrical production based on the 1992 Steve Martin movie about a con artist faith healer, which is scheduled to have its world premiere in Los Angeles in September.

The Valentine's other theatrical productions include the national tours of “Oklahoma” on Dec. 9 and 10, “The Music Man” on Jan. 30, and “Grease” on April 5 and 6, and return visits of “Drumline Live” (at the Stranahan Theater) on Feb. 9 and “Neil Berg's 101 Years of Broadway” on Feb. 14. (OK, Berg isn't really a return, because when he was here last year, his cast only showcased music from 100 years of productions.)

Dance enthusiasts should mark their calendars for Jan. 6, when the Russian National Ballet Theatre presents “Romeo and Juliet.” And on Feb. 15, Tango Buenos Aires will showcase the sultry music and moves of the dance that last year was declared by UNESCO to be part of the world's “intangible cultural heritage.”

The Capitol Steps, a favorite of Toledo audiences will skewer the news, politicians, and celebrities of the day when it returns to the Valentine on Oct. 24. For the same type of laughs early next year, Chicago's Second City troupe will bring its Fair and Unbalanced tour to the theater on March 4.

On tap for music lovers will the Masterworks Chorale in two performances: the “Messiah” on Dec. 11, in which the audience will be invited to join in the joyful music, and Collage IV on June 11, spotlighting a variety of musical style and local performers.

The Toledo Jazz Orchestra also will present two concerts: An Evening with Nat & Natalie on Nov. 20, featuring Nate Gurley singing songs popularized by Nat King Cole and his daughter, and a tribute to Jimmy Cook, the late local jazz trumpet legend, on April 16.

‘The Berenstain Bears' comes to the Valentine Theatre on Oct. 23.
‘The Berenstain Bears' comes to the Valentine Theatre on Oct. 23.
NOT BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

Children aren't forgotten during the season, as professional troupes present adaptations of popular books, including “The Berenstain Bears” on Oct. 23, “Encyclopedia Brown” on Jan. 22, and “Click Clack Moo” on May 21.

New this season to the Valentine is the classic film series: four films on successive Friday nights in January. If you haven't seen these on a big screen with great sound, you're in for a treat. Scheduled are “Gone with the Wind” on Jan. 7, Alfred Hitchcock's “North by Northwest” on Jan. 14, Gene Kelly's “Singin' in the Rain” on Jan. 21, and Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour in “The Road to Bali” on Jan. 28.

Two other events are being planned at Valentine. To celebrate Halloween, the theater will present the films “Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein” and “The Bride of Frankenstein,” along with popcorn, cheap beer, and dancing to a DJ.

And in February in the smaller Black Box Theater, it will produce “Evil Dead — The Musical,” which combines elements of the cult classic horror films “Evil Dead,” “Evil Dead 2,” and “Army of Darkness” to come up with, according to promotional materials, “the only musical production in the world with a splatter zone.” The show will be for mature audiences only.

Tickets for each of the shows in the Valentine season will be sold individually, but many of the show have been combined into series for greater savings. For example, individual tickets for “Oklahoma,” “The Music Man,” and “Grease” are $39, $49, $59, and $65, while series tickets for all three are $102, $129, $155, and $161, representing savings of $15 to $34.

Full details on pricing and packages are available from the Valentine box office, 419-242-2787.

You've heard about kids wanting to put on a show, but how about teachers?

Staff and instructors at the Toledo School for the Arts decided to have some fun while raising money for the school, and to that end, they decided to present “The Great American Trailer Park Musical,” with music and lyrics by David Nehls and book by Betsy Kelso.

Director Rosie Best said she and a fellow TSA teacher saw the show at Scotland's Edinburgh Fringe Festival and just about fell off their seats from laughing so hard.

“We looked at each other and said, ‘We have to do this,'” she said, “but it's not the sort of material we could do at school.”

The show revolves around Norbert and Jeannie, who have been married for 20 years. The spark's gone out of their relationship, due much to the fact that their newborn son was kidnapped shortly after they were married, turning Jeannie into an agoraphobic. When Pippi the stripper comes to town, Norbert is tempted to stray. Commenting on all the action is a Greek chorus of trailer park neighbors: Bad Ass Betty, Lin (short for Linoleum, because she was born on the kitchen floor), and the hugely pregnant Pickles.

Composer Alan Menken will be featured at the Valentine's annual gala.
Composer Alan Menken will be featured at the Valentine's annual gala.
NOT BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

The cast includes Monika Schroeder as Jeannie, Zeb Kellough as Norbert, Liz Hayes as Pippi, Jeremy Allen as Duke, Juliette Quinlan as Betty, Lydia Horvath as Lin, and Bethany Urbansk as Pickles.

The show is being presented in the three-acre back yard of David Guerke, TSA development director, at 1360 Dearborn Ave., Oregon.

“We decided to create our own trailer park,” Best said. Audience members are invited to bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on.

Rated NC-17, the show is definitely not family friendly, but it is definitely fun, Best said.

“The Great American Trailer Park Musical” is scheduled at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Doors and parking open an hour before the show. Tickets (cash only) are $9.99 general admission, $19.99 for tickets and a dinner of fried baloney, Cheez Whiz, and a beer, $29.99 to add a beer coozy, and $59.99 for everything plus overnight camping. Information: Linda Kaplin at 419-304-4280.

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



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