Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Family Drama, Musicals and More at Community Players in 2017-18

Ready or not, it's time to think about fall seasons at area theaters. Community Players announced their 2017-18 season earlier this month, with season tickets now available. What's up at Players as we move into fall?

Arthur Miller's complex family drama, All My Sons, opens September 1, with performances through the 10th. Bruce Parrish will direct this "gripping classic by a master playwright," which "explores the father son dynamic and the corruption of the American Dream." Miller took the idea for the play from a newspaper account about a World War II scandal involving defective aircraft engines used in military planes. In the play, which is set in 1947, we meet Joe Keller, who was accused of selling a flawed part for aircraft engines that resulted in the death of 21 pilots. He was cleared, but that isn't the whole story. His wife Kate is in denial, both about Joe's part in the scandal and about her son Larry, who has been missing in action for several years. Younger son Chris also went off to war, but he has returned, and his realization that his father is not the man he thought he was forms the central conflict in the play. Parrish will hold auditions for All My Sons on July 17 and 18. You can see details on characters and casting here.

The November choice is the musical Sister Act, based on the 1992 movie with Whoopi Goldberg as a wannabe diva who goes on the lam -- hiding in a convent -- after she witnesses a crime. She is a force to be reckoned with in the confines of the convent, but her musical talent gives her a chance to bond with the sisters. Marcia Weiss will direct this one, with auditions in September and performances November 2 to 19. Alan Menken wrote the music for the Broadway musical version of Sister Act, with lyrics by Glenn Slater and book by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner.

If you need to lighten up your January, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), may be just the ticket. This funny, fast and furious race through the works of Shakespeare, with the history plays as a football game and Hamlet in 30 seconds (and then in 30 seconds backwards), has been very popular since the three men (Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield) who created the Reduced Shakespeare Company and launched The Complete Works at Edinburgh's Festival Fringe in 1987. Look for auditions for this three-person (usually three-man) show in November and performances January 11 to 21, 2018. Brett Cottone will helm the Reduced Shakespeare madness for Community Players.

After that, it's Into the Woods, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's fractured fairytale musical that offers a different look at the magical obstacles facing Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack (the one with the beanstalk), a childless Baker and his Wife, a pair of charming Princes, and a Witch who has a thing about her garden. Into the Woods premiered on Broadway in September 1987, with a well-received revival in 2002. Those two productions earned a total of 20 Tony nominations; the show was named Best Revival along with awards for its score, book and lighting design, and best actress Joanna Gleason, who played the Baker's Wife in the original production. Into the Woods will be on stage at Players from March 8 to 25, under the direction of Sally Parry.

Then we're back to scalding family drama -- with some very black comedy at its heart -- in the form of Tracy Letts' blistering August: Osage County, focusing on the messed-up members of the Weston family. Entertainment Weekly called it "Southern-fried familial dysfunction" and that's as good a description as any. August: Osage County premiered at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theater in 2007, followed by a Broadway run that earned five Tony Awards, incouding Best Play. It also won a Pulitzer Prize for Letts. August takes the stage from May 8 to 14, 2018, directed by John D. Poling.

The season finishes up with family-friendly Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the perennial favorite from Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice that tells the Biblical story of Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob, who can read dreams to predict the future. His 11 brothers are not happy about their dad's favoritism, spurring a nasty plan that sends Joseph into Egypt as a slave. He may start out with nothing, but he ends up interpreting dreams for the Pharaoh and rising to power and influence before once again coming face to face with his brothers. Aimee Kerber will direct this pop-rock musical in performance from July 5 to 22, 2018.

Season tickets are now available, either by downloading the order form at the top of this page or this page. For more information, you can try the box office at 309-663-2121 or email boxoffice@communityplayers.org.

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