Firestone Theatre Announces New Theatre Season

Firestone Theatre's new season of plays and musicals sets the bar pretty high with a variety of student opportunities and outstanding guest directors. The 2019-20 theatre season includes five plays and one musical each carefully selected as a student-centered work designed to inspire, motivate, and entertain. Three plays recently debuted Off-Broadway and earned wide praise from critics and audiences; each is set to make a northeast Ohio bow on the Firestone stage. In an era of inclusivity awareness and on-stage complaints of pipeline issues at the recent Tony Awards, the latest Firestone season sets the bar by including three plays featuring female-centric stories, three plays written by female playwrights, and three plays to be directed by women. Further, Firestone Theatre is proud to be one of the very few area theatres to consistently offer plays written and directed by women and by people of color. Tickets for the entire season including the musical can be purchased individually or as part of an affordable subscription available on-line at FirestoneTheatre.com.

Firestone Theatre provides an excellent audience experience as well as student-centered performances designed to challenge and entertain a discerning audience. The exciting new season includes plays set to appear in the beautifully appointed Kersker Theater with its exquisite acoustics and state-state-of-the-art lighting as well as even more impressive plays in our intimate Black Box Theater which features new seating risers to improve sightlines for all patrons.

The Kersker Theater Series kicks off with the buoyant and biting comedy School Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play by Jocelyn Bioh. Directed by Cleveland-based guest artist Ashley Aquilla Wheadon, School Girls is a gleeful make-over of an American genre exploring the universal similarities (and glaring differences) facing teenage girls across the globe. Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. October 3, 4, and 5, 2019. These performances represent the first appearance of this play on any stage in the area and may very well be the first high school production altogether. Tickets to School Girls are $8.00 in advance, $10.00 at the door, and $12.00 for reserved, VIP seating. All tickets are currently available online and at the door on the night of performance.

The dangerous and haunting tragedy Hamlet by William Shakespeare continues our Kersker Theater Series. Hamlet is the Bard's enduring masterpiece of revenge, passion, and deception, and is under the direction of local guest artist Tess Burgler, managing director of the Ohio Shakespeare Festival. Burgler recently appeared as the title character in a well-received production of the play by the Ohio Shakespeare Festival performed at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens. Firestone Theatre is excited to collaborate with Burgler to share her spirit, talent, training, and expertise with eager-to-learn students. Since the advent of the Akron School for the Arts in 1995, Firestone Theatre has been committed to presenting a Shakespearean play at least every three years to give all students a meaningful opportunity to experience one first-hand before graduation. Hamlet represents the ninth such production in that time. The most recent was Romeo and Juliet that was the inaugural production in the new Kersker Theater in 2016. Hamlet is under the directionof Tess BurglerPerformances of Hamlet will be held at 7:30 p.m. November 21, 22, and 23, 2019. Tickets are $8.00 in advance, $10.00 at the door, and $12.00 for reserved, VIP seating. All tickets are available online starting October 10, 2019, and at the door on the night of performance.

The Kersker Theatre season concludes with the seminal musical A Chorus Line (high school edition), a landmark show conceived and originally directed and choreographed by Michael Bennett. This popular and powerful show features a score by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Edward Klaben, and a book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Kirkwood. A Chorus Line is a stunning concept musical capturing the spirit and tension of a Broadway performers. Exploring the inner lives and poignant ambitions of professional Broadway chorus members, the show features one powerhouse number after another. Memorable musical numbers include "What I Did for Love, "One," "I Can Do That," "At the Ballet," "The Music and the Mirror," and "I Hope I Get It." The high school edition of A Chorus Line is a full-length version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, adapted for performance by high school students with family audience. Adaptation and support materials for the high school edition have been developed by iTheatrics under the supervision of Timothy Allen McDonald. The Firestone Theatre production of A Chorus Line is directed by Mark A. Zimmerman, choreographed by Rachel McCann, music directed by Chad Pittman, and conducted by Kacy Albright. Performances of A Chorus Line take place April 3 (7:30 p.m.), 4 (7:30 p.m.), 5 (2:30 p.m.), 9 (7:30 p.m.), 10 (7:30 p.m.), and 11 (7:30 p.m.), 2020. General admission tickets are $10.00 in advance and $12.00 at the door. Reserved tickets are $12.00 and can be purchased online starting October 10, 2019. Reserved, VIP tickets are $17.00 for and can only be purchased online starting October 10, 2019. A Chorus Line will be the Firestone Theatre submission to the Northeast Ohio Musical Theatre Competition sponsored by Playhouse Square in Cleveland. Participating students will be eligible for the full slate of Dazzle Awards at the annual ceremony held in the Connor Palace Theater on Saturday, May 16, 2020.

A reasonably priced subscription is available for all Kersker Theater shows and more. An adult subscription can be purchased for as little as $30.00 which represents a 50 percent savings for the season. A student subscription can be purchased for the ridiculously low price of $20.00. A VIP subscription can be purchased for $50.00 and includes a reserved seat for each of the main stage shows, entry to all Black Box Theatre performances, and access to a special VIP room before and at intermission of each Kersker Theater performance. Subscriptions and single tickets can be purchased for all Firestone Theatre productions online at FirestoneTheatre.com and at the door on the night of performances. Advanced tickets will be available at the school from 11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. school days the week of each performance. Details about the 2019-2020 theatre season can be found online at FirestoneTheatre.com

The new Black Box Theatre series features some of the most breathtaking plays ever produced at Firestone and performances that provide an electrifying and intimate theatrical experience. A single performance of Theatre Kapow!: the 24-Hour Theatre Project will be presented at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 14, 2019, after students spend the previous 23 hours writing and rehearsing four short plays. Theatre Kapow!: the 24-Hour Theatre Project is a one-of-a-kind, live-wire theatrical event that is not soon to be forgotten. Admission to Theatre Kapow!: the 24-Hour Theatre Festival is by donation and is not part of the season subscription. Seating is limited and patrons are encouraged to reserve a seat in advance online at FirestoneTheatre.com

Five performances of the fascinating new play After the Blast by Zoe Kazan will be held at 7:00 p.m. on October 24, 25, and 26, 2019, and at 2:30 p.m. October 26 and 27, 2019. After the Blast is set in the wake of a total environmental disaster, when human population has retreated underground. Experience is simulated, fertility is regulated, and Anna and Oliver have one last chance to start a family. After the Blast is under the direction of Mark A. Zimmerman. These performances represent the debut of the play in the area and may be the very first high school production. Seating is limited and is available online at FirestoneTheatre.com starting September 11, 2019. All seats are general admission and cost $8.oo in advance and $10.00 at the door on the night of performance.

Lauren Gunderson's irreverent, girl-powered comedy, The Revolutionists, takes the stage for four performances in the Black Box Theatre in December. Under the direction of Elynmarie Kazle, the comedy will be performed at 7:00 p.m. on December 13 and 14, 2019, as well as at 2:30 p.m. on December 14, and 15, 2019. In The Revolutionists, four fierce women lose their heads during the French Revolution's Reign of Terror. It is a grand and dream-tweaked comedy about violence and legacy, art and activism, feminism and terrorism, compatriots and chosen sisters, and how we go about changing the world. These performances may represent the very first high school production. Seating is limited and is available online at FirestoneTheatre.com starting October 10, 2019. All seats are general admission and cost $8.00 in advance and $10.00 at the door on the night of performance.

The annual One-Act Play Festival featuring the popular play Almost Maine by John Cariani takes the Black Box stage at 7:00 p.m. on January 9, 10, and 11, 2019 under the direction of some of our finest theatre students who may be directing for the very first time. Almost Maine is set on a cold, clear, winter night, as the northern lights hover in the star-filled sky. The residents of Almost, Maine, find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and hilarious ways. Almost Maine was recently named by the Educational Theatre Association as the most produced high school play during the 2018-19 school year. Tickets to all Black Box Theatre performances are $8.00 and $10.00 in advance. Seating is limited and patrons are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance. Tickets to all Black Box Theater performances can be purchased online at FirestoneTheatre.com starting October 10, 2019.

Firestone Theatre is the award-winning play and musical-production component of the Akron School for the Arts housed at Firestone Community Learning Center. Firestone Theatre was named an "Outstanding School" by the Educational Theatre Association in 2013. The curricular track of Firestone Theatre is accessible to all rising ninth-grade students via open enrollment and a formal audition.



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