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Cultural Park Theatre season is under way

By Staff | Sep 15, 2012

Cultural Park Theatre wraps up its first show of the season Sunday, but ticket packages are still on sale for those who do not want to miss out.

The theater opened Sept. 7 with “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” a rock ‘n’ roll music review that features tunes from the ’50s. Michael Moran, executive director, said the first show of the season always showcases the youth.

“That show always kind of salutes the theater’s younger talents,” he said. “Some of them are as young as 10, and they go up through 19.”

Because of the cast, the first show makes for a good family outing.

“Everybody can come to that one,” Moran said.

The plot of “Shake, Rattle and Roll” takes place in a classroom.

“The children learn from their teacher and parents, who are in for a career day, about the music and times back in the ’50s,” he said.

“Fifties style music is very popular right now,” Moran added.

During the 2012 main season, there will be 10 shows and five concerts. Dramas and comedies run two weekends, and musicals run three weekends. Concerts are one-night events, except if they are special performances.

The shows are selected by the theater’s play committee.

“They meet themselves and look at named shows,” he said. “They ask patrons which shows they’d like to see in the following year.”

Two well-known musicals in this season’s lineup are “Man of La Macha,” which runs Jan. 25 though Feb. 10, and “Annie,” which is set for March 15 to 31.

“They were both major Broadway successes,” Moran said.

Another is “Love Songs of Stephen Sondheim,” which is scheduled for Oct. 26 through Nov. 4. The show is a tribute, with a focus on his love songs.

“Steve Sondheim is probably one of the world’s most renowned writers of Broadway and film music,” he said.

Moran cited “Love Sex and the IRS” as probably the least famous show on the schedule. The performance is about two musicians who live together in New York and one secretly files taxes for the other – as a married couple.

“They get audited by the IRS, then all the stuff goes crazy at that point,” Moran said.

There are also two comedies by the popular playwright Neil Simon.

“Cultural Park has a reputation for doing Neil Simon comedies,” he said.

According to Moran, it was pretty smooth preparing for the season as the committee was “extremely hardworking” and picked well-known shows.

“It was all gearing around the fact that the theater is celebrating its 50th year,” Moran said. “The original company started in June 1963.”As for the concerts, there is one set in December for Christmas that will feature holiday music Beatles-style with tribute band The Nowhere Band.

“They will play for four days,” he said.

Las Vegas performer Tommy O, who specializes in Broadway and pop, is on the list, while “Sweet Dreams at the Opry” is a musical tribute to Patsy Cline and other country legends like Kenny Rogers, Crystal Gayle and Ray Stevens.

“It’s become one of our more popular venues,” Moran said of concerts.

The main season shows take place at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and at 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Concerts are at 8 p.m. Wednesdays.

Tickets prices for single shows and concerts are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors over age 55 and $12 for children and those with a student ID.

Until Sunday, customers can still buy ticket packages. The season ticket package includes all 10 shows for $130. The snowbird package excludes the first show and the last show of the season at a cost of $104 per person.

The concert package includes all five performances for $72.

Throughout the year, the theater hosts auditions for the shows. As of Friday, male singers ages 17 and up were being sought for “Music Revue” to salute Sondheim. Auditions will be held Sept. 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Moran said those interested in auditioning must sing 16-18 bars of music, be prepared to read a monologue or out of a script, and wear shoes to dance in.

As a community theater, all performers are volunteers.

“It’s a very much relaxed audition process,” he said.

No appointments are necessary.

“Basically, they can just show up,” Moran said.

From Nov. 10 to 11, auditions will be held for “Annie.”

“Which is an extremely popular show for young people to audition for,” he said. “Everybody wants to be little orphan Annie.”

For more information on tickets, ticket packages or auditions, contact the Cultural Park Theatre at 772-5862 or online: culturalparktheater.com.

Cultural Park Theatre is at 528 Cultural Park Blvd.