Totem Pole Playhouse Announces 2013 Season: NOISES OFF, DAMES AT SEA and More
When Totem Pole Playhouse Artistic Director, Ray Ficca, announced in August that if emergency funds were raised, the 62 year old summer theatre would be back in 2013 with a season like no other in Playhouse history, he wasn't kidding. An expanded regular season, an unprecedented four musicals, Tony award winning and nominated shows, a production in downtown Gettysburg, and the biggest cast sizes in over 35 years, are just a few of many 'firsts' in this comeback season for the treasured theatre in Caledonia.
"The 2013 season is by far the most ambitious undertaking in the history of the theater," said Executive Director Nathan Rotz. "We want folks to leave each show having had their most exciting entertainment experience of the summer. Each show will be one 'wow' after another." And there is certainly enough for the summer theatre lover to get charged up about. Franklin County Visitors' Bureau and Patriot Federal Credit Union serve as the 2013 Season Sponsors.
The new eight show season at Totem Pole Playhouse begins on May 25, 2013 with the Broadway smash Noises Off by Michael Frayn. Hailed by many critics as the "funniest farce ever written," and Tony nominees and winner of the Olivier award for Best Play, Noises Off is the ultimate insider show for theater buffs. A backstage farce about a zany bunch of actors performing a farce, this side-splitting comedy pokes fun at every theater cliché in the book. Love triangles, bumbling actors, an imperious director and lost contact lenses are all part of the high-spirited antics in this fast paced laugh fest.
The area premiere of a musical about the life of one of America's most cherished singers hit the stage in early June. A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline follows the Hall of Fame country legend, who rose from her humble roots near Winchester, Virginia all the way to fame and fortune at the Grand Ole Opry, at Carnegie Hall, and beyond. This show includes over 20 of her memorable hits including 'Crazy,' 'Walkin' After Midnight,' 'Sweet Dreams,' 'She's got You,' and 'I Fall to Pieces' as it follows her climb from obscurity to international stardom.
For the first time in five seasons, Totem Pole pulls one out of the vault
with a hysterical spoof of 1930s Busby Berkley-style movie-musical spectaculars – Dames at Sea. The show tells the story of Ruby, just off the bus from Utah, who in the span of one day falls in love, gets cast as a dancer in a Broadway musical, saves the show by moving it to a Navy ship, takes over for the star, becomes a hit sensation, and gets married, to boot! The role of Ruby in the original Off-Broadway production launched the career of Bernadette Peters. Plenty of singing and tap dancing keep this vessel bounding over waves of laughter.
A classic by Broadway's master of comedy, Neil Simon, serves up the laughs in The Sunshine Boys. This comedy tells the story of an old vaudeville team, Lewis and Clark, who are talked into reuniting for a TV special about the history of comedy. The only problem is - the two old men hate each other and haven't spoken in years! With echoes of The Odd Couple and Simon's early career as a gag writer for TV, this comedy gets to the heart of what's funny about real life. The original production ran on Broadway for over 500 performances, and the film version was an even bigger hit, garnering Oscar nominations for both of its stars, Walter Matthau and George Burns.
Totem Pole moves east on Route 30 to the Majestic Theatre in downtown Gettysburg with Richard Hellesen's The Road From Appomattox. Much has been written about Lee and Grant at their first meeting at the Appomattox Courthouse, but very little is told of the second meeting of the two Generals a day later. Originally commissioned by the Ford's Theatre Society, this Civil War one act drama captures the patriotism and compassion of two of American Civil War's most intriguing figures.
The Playhouse returns to the Mad Men era of martinis and mayhem in the classic bedroom farce, Boeing Boeing. It's the 1960s, and an American living in Paris finds himself juggling three fiancées, all air hostesses with busy international routes who know nothing about each other. Worlds collide and the comedy heats up when the flight schedules change and all three women wind up in his apartment at the same time. The play has been in near continual production for almost 40 years all over the world, including very recent West End and Broadway revivals that garnered the Olivier and Tony awards for Best Revival of a Play. As reviewed in Variety, "The breakneck pacing, the agonizing, close-call timing of all the comings and goings, the escalating outrageousness…make it impossible not to be swept along."
Totem Pole often boasts that its seasons have "something for everything." In the third musical of the summer, The Playhouse hopes that they have a show about one thing everyone loves – the circus! Musical theater runs off and joins the circus with Barnum, a magical musical about the improbable life of P.T. Barnum. Clowns, jugglers, tightrope walkers and even a world renowned opera singer weave through the love story of Barnum and his wife Charity. The original New York production ran for over 850 performances and won three Tonys - one for Jim Dale as Barnum - and the very first Tony nomination for a young Glenn Close. And with legendary Broadway creators Cy Coleman (Sweet Charity, City of Angels, Will Rogers Follies) and Michael Stewart (Carnival!, Hello, Dolly, 42nd Street), a spectacle like this figure to be the greatest show on earth!
Even though you may have never heard her name, legendary Brill Building songwriter Ellie Greenwich helped shape the sound of a generation, penning such doo-wop classics as 'Be My Baby,' 'Chapel of Love,' Leader of the Pack,' 'Da Doo Ron Ron' and 'River Deep, Mountain High.' The Tony nominated musical, Leader of the Pack highlights this songwriter's work, which was an important element in the 1960s' "Wall of Sound" and were recorded by artists like Darlene Love, The Ronettes and Tina Turner. This musical re-telling of her life and music was one of the very first of the 'jukebox musicals,' and given the familiarity and energy of her songs, it's no surprise that it's still one of the most performed to this day.