Friday, Oct 19, 2018
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Music-Theater-Dance

Season of the Arts: Region's theaters have full slate of live shows

  • Book-of-Mormon-10

    Ryan Bondy stars as Elder Price, center, and Cody Jamison Strand plays Elder Cunningham, right, in ‘The Book of Mormon,’ playing at the Stranahan through Sept. 24.

    Joan Marcus

  • Christmas-Carol-2

    Toledo Rep's production of 'A Christmas Carol' returns this year to the Valentine.

  • FEA-VILLAGE06-3

    Nancy Wright during a rehearsal of the Village Players' season opener, "The Cemetery Club."

    The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth
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“There’s something about a live theater performance: You can’t fake it,” Broadway star Gavin Creel said in a July interview with The Blade after he won a Tony Award for his performance in the hit show Hello, Dolly!

Each audience is a new audience, and no performance can be repeated in exactly the same way, and that’s all part of the excitement.

This is true for live theater everywhere, whether it be on Broadway or in Toledo. Today, we look at some of the most intriguing shows our region’s theaters have planned for this new season.

September

Book-of-Mormon-10

Ryan Bondy stars as Elder Price, center, and Cody Jamison Strand plays Elder Cunningham, right, in ‘The Book of Mormon,’ playing at the Stranahan through Sept. 24.

Joan Marcus Enlarge

■ The Theater League brings The Book of Mormon back to the Stranahan Theater for eight shows Tuesday through Saturday. The musical, which won nine 2011 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, centers on two young Mormon missionaries who are sent to find converts to their faith in a remote village in Uganda. The Book of Mormon’s national tour first stopped here in 2014.

Bonnie & Clyde, the Toledo Repertoire Theatre’s 85th season opener, continues with performances Sunday and Thursday to Sept. 24 at the 10th Street Stage, telling the story of Depression-era gangsters Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. The musical, nominated for a 2012 Tony Award for Best Score, has everything from rock and rockabilly to country, jazz, and gospel — and a bit of ragtime.

■ The Village Players kicks off its 61st season with The Cemetery Club, a comedy/​drama about three widows who meet once a month for tea before going to visit their husbands’ graves and the new and different chapters that open in their lives. Performances are Sunday and Thursday to Saturday and feature well-known Toledo actors Barbara Barkan, Nancy Wright, Anne Cross, Jean Mills, and Norb Mills.

■ The Testament of Mary, to be presented Sept. 30 by Actors Collaborative Toledo, gives Mary’s account of the days leading up to and following the crucifixion of her son Jesus.The show is produced in collaboration with the Artist Series at Trinity Episcopal Church to benefit music and arts at Trinity.

■ The Black Swamp Players begins its 2017-18 season with the northwest Ohio premiere of Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, with 40 characters portrayed by a cast of five. Shows are Friday to Sept. 24, Sept. 29-30, and Oct. 1 at the First United Methodist Church in Bowling Green.

October

■ Jamie Farr, one of Toledo’s favorite sons, returns home Oct. 7 to appear at the Stranahan Theater in Tuesdays with Morrie. The actor, known for portraying Corporal Klinger in the hit TV series M*A*S*H, is touring in a stage production of Mitch Albom’s 1997 bestselling memoir about reuniting with with a favorite college professor, Morrie Schwartz, 16 years after graduation. The show also will be presented Oct. 8 at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Van Wert, Ohio.

(Editor’s Note: Farr announced Sept. 18 that he would not be taking part in the Toledo show because of visa issues for his co-stars.)

It Came From Mars, a comedy by Michigan playwright Joe Zettelmaier, is one example of area theater organizations’ interest in presenting works by area authors. The play lands at the Rep for nine shows beginning Oct. 13. The story follows what happens when a radio show is interrupted by the news that Martians have arrived.

■ The Croswell Opera House in Adrian presents the premiere of The Family Digs, a new play by another Michigan playwright, Terry Hissong, Oct. 20-22. The comedy centers on an archaeologist suffering from a strange illness, his New Age son, and a fabulous archaeological discovery.

■ On Oct. 27, the Aquila Theater Company, a New York troupe noted for its innovative presentations of classic plays, brings its national tour of Sense & Sensibility, an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, to the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts in Findlay.

■ 3B Productions will stage The Rocky Horror Show Oct. 19-21, including a midnight performance Oct. 21.

■ The Village Players has planned an Oct. 7 performance of Pvt. Wars, reuniting Derek Hansen, Jake Gordy, and John Jennens, the original cast of a 2001 presentation that won Ohio Community Theatre Association state and regional awards.

November

■ Theater League brings the national tour of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, a comedy that won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Musical, to the Stranahan Nov. 9-12. The story follows Monty Navarro’s plans to inherit a family fortune by eliminating a few relatives while he tries to deal with his mistress and his fiancée, too.

■ Tom Stoppad’s renowned comedy/​drama Arcadia, where the past looks to the future and the present looks to the past, all from the vantage point of a London drawing room, will be presented Nov. 4-5 and 10-12 by the University of Toledo Department of Theater and Film and directed by actor Qarie Marshall. Performances are at the University of Toledo Center for Performing Arts.

■ The Valentine presents the first of three Studio A shows, The Woman in Black, a ghost story based on a novel by English author Susan Hill, Nov. 3-5 and 10-12.

■ A Toledo Rep special event, the premiere of Human Error by Toledo playwright Eric Pfeffinger, will be Nov. 17-19. The play centers on two couples who are facing the results of a medical mixup.

■ The classic musical Meet Me in St. Louis is at the Croswell on Nov. 25-Dec. 10, telling the story of turn-of-the-century family looking forward to enjoying the wonders of the 1904 World’s Fair.

December

Christmas-Carol-2

Toledo Rep's production of 'A Christmas Carol' returns this year to the Valentine.

Enlarge

■ The Toledo Rep’s holiday tradition, A Christmas Carol, returns to the Valentine Dec. 1-3; it will be the Rep’s 33rd production of the classic story.

■ Christmas with Actors Collaborative Toledo will feature three one-act plays: Unchained by local playwright Tanner DuVall, an adaptation of Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales, and The Road to Nineveh by Le Wilhelm. The performance will be Dec. 9 at Pam’s Corner, 116 10th St.

January

■ The national tour of the classic musical Cabaret comes to the Valentine on Jan. 2. The show, set in the Kit Kat Klub in Germany in the 1930s as the Nazis rise to power, is based on the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Tony Award-winning production.

■ The Purple Rose Theatre Company in Chelsea, Mich., will present the world premiere of Flint, a play by playwright and actor Jeff Daniels. The story centers on two couples struggling to cope when auto manufacturing jobs leave their city. What becomes of the American Dream? Performances are Jan. 18 to March 10 at the Purple Rose.

February

■ The national tour of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, about the early life and climb to musical stardom of Carole King, is brought to the Stranahan by the Theater League Feb. 6-11.

A Chorus Line, with 17 dancers auditioning for spots on the chorus line of a Broadway show, is at the Valentine Feb. 18, part of a national tour.

The Language Archive, a comedy/​drama by Julia Cho about an expert on dying languages who’s at a loss for words when it comes to love, will be presented by the Bowling Green State University Department of Theater and Film from Feb. 15-18 and 22-24 in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre.

■ Oregon Community Theatre stages Driving Miss Daisy Feb. 16-18 and 23-24 at Fassett Auditorium, 3025 Starr Ave.

April

■ William Shakespeare’s The Tempest will be presented by the University of Toledo Department of Theater and Film and directed by Edmund Lingan April 6-15 at the Center for Performing Arts.

■ The Rep’s new Rainbow Series of three classic gay plays begins April 6-7 with The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer, set in New York during the HIV/​AIDS crisis of the 1980s.

A Life, a one-act play by Adam Bock about a lonely single man who turns to the stars for advice on his place in the world, will be presented by Actors Collaborative Toledo April 20-21, 27-28 at The Underground at the Collingwood Arts Center.

June

■ In Sweet Charity, the enduring musical with book by Neil Simon that opened on Broadway in 1966, a taxi dancer searches for the man of her dreams. It will be presented by the Toledo Rep June 1-2, 8-10, and 14-17.

Contact Sue Brickey at: sbrickey@theblade.com.

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