Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It's Summer at the Station!

Urbana's Station Theatre continues to put up ambitious, uncompromising choices, and that extends to its summer schedule, which has just been announced. If you're interested in spending some of your summertime at the Station, you'll have a choice of two musicals and one very current and provocative staged reading with ties to George Clooney and Brad Pitt. Will Clooney and Pitt be in C-U for this one, too? Stay tuned!

The first summer show for the Station's Celebration Company will be "The Game of Love," a show written in 1965 that uses the music of composer Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880), with musical arrangements and additional material by Nancy Ford, and book and lyrics by Tom Jones. No, not that Tom Jones. The one who wrote the book and lyrics for "The Fantasticks." "The Game of Love" is based on Arthur Schnitzler's "Anatol" plays. Set in 19th Century Vienna, "The Game of Love" looks at playboy Anatol and his romantic adventures, set to a sensuous and charming score. For the Celebration Company, James Mayer will play Anatol, with David Barkley as Max, his wingman and narrator. Ingrid Kammin, Tania Coambs, Lindsay Eckhart, Dawn Harris and Brenna Pfeifer will play the five very different ladies Anatol romances in this Viennese pastry of a musical.

Stephen Fiol directs "The Game of Love" for the Station Theatre, with performances June 7 to 16.

That will be followed by a special two-nights-only staged reading of "8," by Dustin Lance Black. The poster you see below was created for the star-studded staged readings done in New York and Los Angeles, with casts that included John Lithgow and Morgan Freeman on Broadway and Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Martin Sheen in LA.

Black's play uses trial transcripts, news articles, and interviews with the parties involved on both sides of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the case examining the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, the amendment to California's constitution that sought to bar same-sex couples from marrying.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact sponsored the play and have now licensed it for readings in special locations, the Station Theatre among them. Mathew Green directs this very special "8" for the Station, with performances on July 2 and 3. The local all-star cast is slated to include Green himself, as well as Steven M. Keen, Gary Ambler, Barbara Evans, Kay Bohannon Holley, Christopher Terrell, Tanino Minecci, Mindy Manolakes, Joi Hoffsommer, Lindsay Gates Markel, Carolyn Kodes-Atkinson, Aaron Clark, Katie Baldwin, Mike Prosise, and Mikel L. Mathews, Jr.

And then... It's "Rent"! The Jonathan Larson musical that pretty much defined the 90s is coming to the Station Theatre, directed by Mikel L. Mathews, Jr., with musical direction by Alex Zelck Smith. Performances of "Rent," AKA "La Bohème" for a new age, are scheduled for July 12 to August 4. Its plot involves Bohemian artists living in New York's East Village and scraping to get by while maintaining their artistic integrity and living with drugs and disease. Mimi, the seamstress with consumption, is updated to Mimi, the stripper with AIDS, while poet Rodolfo becomes rock musician Roger and Schaunard the musician becomes Angel the drag queen.

For more information on the Station's entire summer season, keep an eye on this space.

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