Think you have what it takes to help dream up a Broadway show? You’ll get your chance — sort of — if you are in the audience when Broadway’s Next H!t Musical comes to Bowling Green State University on Saturday.
Here’s how it will work: An emcee will do “red-carpet” interviews with audience members as they enter the theater. Before the show begins the audience will be asked to make up song titles, write them down, and drop them in a bowl.
Then the curtain goes up on the first act, an awards show. Four of the song titles are selected at random, and they become the inspiration for funny songs written and performed by four talented improvisers. The audience gives the “award” to the best of the four songs, and the cast turns it into a full musical, complete with characters, music, and a witty script, for the show’s second half. The cast also includes a pianist.
The show is under the direction of Rob Schiffmann, a professional improviser and musician for 17 years and a graduate of Oberlin College, and Deb Rabbai, an original member and co-creator of Broadway’s Next H!t Musical.
Broadway’s Next H!t Musical will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Donnell Theatre at the Wolfe Center for the Arts on the BGSU campus. Tickets are $25 general admission and can be purchased at bgsu.edu/arts or by calling the arts box office at 419-372-8171 (summer hours are limited).
‘Les Miz’ at the Ritz
The Ritz Players’ new show is an ambitious one, the legendary musical Les Miserables, opening Friday in the Ritz Theatre in Tiffin. The original 1987 Broadway production, based on the 1862 novel by Victor Hugo, won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Original Score, and has a spectacularly dramatic story set in early 19th-century France. One brave man, Jean Valjean, a peasant who served years in prison for stealing bread for a starving child, is released. He chooses to break parole and flees in search of a better life, finding success as mayor and factory owner in a French town. But a merciless policeman, Inspector Javert, who wants to send him back to jail, is looking for him. And that’s not all. Along the way, Valjean promises a dying woman, Fantine, that he will care for her daughter, Cosette, and he is swept up in the 1832 fever of revolution in France.
The Ritz production is directed by Jim Cook of Sycamore; the music director is Greg Ramsdell of Tiffin. The large cast includes Eric Hertenstein of Findlay as Jean Valjean, Seth Innis of Tiffin as Javert, Sarah Engeman of Fremont as Fantine, Ava Breyman of Tiffin as little Cosette, and Alexandra Bell of Fremont as the adult Cosette.
Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Ritz Theatre, 30 S. Washington St., Tiffin. Additional performances are at 7:30 p.m. July 19 and 2 p.m. July 20. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students, from ritztheatre.org, 419-448-8544, ext. 4, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or the box office.
Bellevue Society for the Arts’ Teen Theatre stages the Off-Broadway rock musical comedy Zombie Prom, set in the atomic 1950s, at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and and 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the Hirt Theatre, 205 Maple St., Bellevue, Ohio. Tickets are $12 for adults 18 and older, $8 for seniors 60 and over and children and students through grade 12. Call 419-484-2787.
Rep seeks board members
The Toledo Repertoire Theatre is seeking applicants interested in serving on its board of trustees. The application form is at toledorep.org.
For more information, contact Rep business manager Kathy McGovern at 419-243-9277 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is Tuesday.
Send theater items at least two weeks in advance to Sue Brickey at email@example.com.