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Broadway hits are coming to Van Wert

Hal Linden and Barbara Eden star in ‘Love Letters’ in March

  • HalLinden-jpg

    Hal Linden

  • Barbara7in-jpg

    Barbara Eden

  • FEA-SInbad-jpg



Hal Linden


The stars of two of television’s classic series — Hal Linden of Barney Miller and Barbara Eden of I Dream of Jeannie — will be onstage in the play Love Letters, a celebration of love and the power of the written word, at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Van Wert March 8, just one part of the theater’s 2014-2015 season.

Love Letters made A.R. Gurney a finalist for the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.


Barbara Eden


Other Broadway favorites headed for Van Wert include the musicals Anything Goes, with music and lyrics by Cole Porter, on Feb. 15, and Memphis on March 28-29.

The original production of Memphis won 2010 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Book.

Some of Broadway’s hit songs will be heard when the gospel quartet Ernie Haase & Signature Sound team with J. Mark McVey, who appeared as Jean Valjean in Broadway’s Les Miserables, for an Oct. 18 performance. Songs include Climb Every Mountain, Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat, Get Happy, Sunrise, Sunset, Blow Gabriel Blow, and Old Man River.




On the funny side, standup comic and actor Sinbad appears Feb. 7, and on April 19 the Church Basement Ladies are back at the Niswonger with The Last Potluck Supper.

For ticket information, call the box office at 419-238-6722 or go to

Sylvania workshop

Calling all young singers, dancers, and actors. The Sylvania Arts Commission theater department will offer a two-week summer production workshop for performers ages 10-18 at the Franciscan Center at Lourdes University. Sessions will be from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, July 28 to Aug. 9.

A new musical, King Midas and the Golden Touch, will be directed by Irina Zaurov, the theater department’s artistic director. She will conduct auditions; 25 students will be selected. 

The application may be downloaded from and mailed to Sylvania Community Arts Commission, 5632 N. Main Street, Sylvania, OH 43560. The deadline is July 18. Information: 419-517-0118.

Coming to Bellevue

Bellevue Society for the Arts plans to open its 20th season Sept. 19 with Monty Python’s Spamalot, inspired by the 1975 film comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

The musical tells the story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table in an irreverent, light-hearted way, with showgirls, cows, rabbits, and other unexpected elements. The original 2005 Broadway production received 14 Tony Award nominations and won three, including Best Musical. Performances are Sept. 19-20 and Sept. 26-27 at 7:30 p.m., and Sept. 21 at 2:30 p.m.

Phillip W. Johnson of Sandusky will direct. Auditions for the show will be 7 to 9 p.m. July 14 and 15 at the theater, 205 Maple St. in Bellevue.

The musical drama Four Tickets to Christmas will be staged Nov. 14-16 and Nov. 21-22. 

Set in 1905, the show is the story of members of a touring musical family with conflicts who end up at their grandparents’ farm for the holiday.

Lori Damschroder of Woodville will direct. Auditions are 7 to 9 p.m. Sept. 29 and 30 at the theater.

Rabbit Hole, David Lindsay-Abaire’s 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, will be presented Jan. 23-24 and Jan. 30-31. It chronicles the effects of a tragic accident on the lives of a once-happy couple. The play was adapted for the 2010 film starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart. Nancy Steyer of Tiffin will direct the Bellevue shows; auditions are scheduled for Dec. 1 and 2.

The new season’s Children’s Theatre production, Dr. Dolittle Jr., is planned for the weekend of April 24–26. Auditions are scheduled for Feb. 23 and 24. The musical is based on the Doctor Dolittle stories by Hugh Lofting and the 1967 film, and features a book, music, and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. The Children’s Theatre is under the direction of Jodie Fleming-Arnold and Heather Walters of Bellevue.

Rent, the hit Broadway musical by Jonathan Larson which won the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, is slated for May 15-17 and May 22-23. The show, loosely based on Puccini’s La Boheme, is about young artists and musicians in New York’s Lower East Side who live in the shadow of HIV/​AIDS. 

Auditions are scheduled for March 16 and 17. Rent will be directed by Angela Bickhart-Sommers of Bellevue.

Bellevue’s Teen Theatre plans to present All Shook Up: The Music of Elvis Presley, with the classic songs Heartbreak Hotel, Jailhouse Rock, and Don’t Be Cruel, July 10-12 and July 17-18.

It is to be directed by Jennifer Miller of Bellevue. Auditions are scheduled for May 11-12.

Reservations may be made by calling 419-484-2787 beginning two weeks before the event.

Season Ticket Pass Cards good for seven Bellevue Society for the Arts-produced performances may be purchased at the box office. Prices are $70 general admission, $50 for seniors 60 and older.

Send theater items two weeks before the event to Sue Brickey at

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