ArtisTree Music Theatre Festival Returns For Second Season

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ArtisTree Music Theatre Festival Returns For Second Season

The ArtisTree Music Theatre Festival offers a season of live, professional musical theatre productions that run from August to October each year. Our Festival is modeled after the "summer stock" tradition of staging shows: we use a resident company of actors and artists to create a series of musicals, with an all-new production presented every few weeks across our three-month season.

The actors, designers, technicians, and musicians of the ArtisTree Music Theatre Festival come from all over the United States. They hold degrees in theatre, and while some of our guest stars are veterans of the Broadway stage, many others are just beginning their professional careers. The Festival offers them a variety of diverse, legitimate credits for their resumes; most of our actors and directors are transplants to New York City, where the theatre action is.

Our creative team is led by festival artistic director, Josh D. Smith. Last year, he and his staff sorted through nearly 800 applications, headshots, and résumés; conducted interviews; and held auditions both locally and in New York City to assemble the finest amalgam of artists we could provide for our premier season.

For our 2017 inaugural repertoire, we presented the very popular Always...Patsy Cline, Godspell,and The Marvelous Wonderettes. Feedback from the community about the quality of the productions -- and what was seen as an exemplary use of the historic Grange Theatre -- has enabled us to return with a very exciting second season.

We also are very pleased to announce a 2018 partnership with Actors' Equity Association (AEA), the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. While we worked with AEA last season under a specific Guest Artist contract, our ongoing association with them enables the festival to be recognized as a Small Professional Theatre (SPT). This allows us to employ more seasoned professionals alongside up-and-coming young artists. Starting next season, we also will be able to provide Equity Membership Candidate (EMC) points, helping to further the professional theatre careers of aspiring newcomers.

Our 2018 Season...

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change

Book & Lyrics by Joe DiPietro
Music by Jimmy Roberts

This celebration of the mating game takes on the truths and myths behind that contemporary conundrum known as "the relationship."

Directing I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Changeis Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, Producing Artistic Director of Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, NY with choreography by Susan Lamontagne (Broadway's Fosse, CATS). ArtisTree Music Theatre Festival is proud to present a newly updated version of the show that provides a fresh, contemporary look to a classic. I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Changewas a record breaking off-Broadway hit show. Written by Joe DiPietro with music by Jimmy Roberts, it ran for whopping 12 years making it the second longest running musical in Off-Broadway history after The Fantasticks. By its final performance, the production had surpassed the Broadway runs of such musicals as My Fair Lady, Annie, Oklahoma!, Grease, Man of La Mancha, 42ndStreet, Fiddler On The Roof, The Producers and Hello, Dolly!

The show is a series of vignettes that features songs about dating, romance, lovers, husbands, wives, and in-laws. It flows nicely through first meetings and all the turmoil involved with first dates and falling in love. It moves to scenes about marriage and eventually losing a spouse. This portrayal of the cycles of loving relationships includes references to more modern nuances. Expressions such as Tinder Profiles and texting update the original.

The cast includes four people: Renée Kathleen Koher, Scott Moreau, Lyn Philistine and Christopher Sutton. ArtisTree audiences may recognize Koher from last season's Godspelland as the hilarious Missy Miller in The Marvelous Wonderettes. Scott Moreau has been seen across the country as Johnny Cash on the 1stNational Tour of the Tony Award winning musical, Million Dollar Quartet. Christopher Sutton is no stranger to I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Changebeing a member of the off-Broadway cast and married to co-star Lyn Philistine in real life. Philistine's career includes appearing on Broadway with Bernadette Peters in the classic musical Gypsy.

Festival Artistic Director Josh D. Smith will serve as Pianist/Conductor of a 4-piece instrumental ensemble using new orchestrations especially created for this updated version of the show by Doug Katsaros.

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change runs August 24 - September 8 (with a special preview performance on Thursday, August 23) at the Grange Theatre in South Pomfret, VT.

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Changeis presented by special arrangement with R&H Theatricals.

The Fantasticks
The Longest Running Musical in History!

Book & Lyrics by Tom Jones Music by Harvey Schmidt

"Try to Remember" a time when this romantic charmer wasn't enchanting audiences around the world. The Fantasticks is the longest-running musical in the world and with good reason: at the heart of its breathtaking poetry and subtle theatrical sophistication is a purity and simplicity that transcends cultural barriers. The result is a timeless fable of love that manages to be nostalgic and universal at the same time.

The Fantasticks is the funny, romantic musical about a boy, a girl, and the two fathers who try to keep their children apart. The narrator, El Gallo, asks the audience to use its imagination and follow him into a world of moonlight and magic, as the boy and the girl fall in love, drift apart, and finally find their way back to each other. They've come to realize the truth in El Gallo's words: "Without a hurt, the heart is hollow."

This moving tale of young lovers who become disillusioned - only to discover a more mature, meaningful love - is punctuated by a bountiful series of catchy, memorable songs, many of which have become classics.

Director-Choreographer Gary John La Rosa (ArtisTree's The Marvelous Wonderettes)returns for The Fantasticks. La Rosa has worked successfully as a theatre professional for over twenty-five years. A New York City native and UCLA graduate, his diverse career has brought him to four continents. He has enjoyed working in hundreds of venues including Broadway, Off-Broadway, Regional Theatre, Opera, Cabaret, Stock and Industrials.

Broadway actor Ken Prymus (The Wiz, Ain't Misbehaving, CATS) returns to Vermont as Henry, The Old Actor. Broadway and award-winning cabaret performer Michael McAssey plays Hucklebee, father of the boy with James Rio (Phantom of the Opera) as the girl's father. Scott Moreau (1st NationalMillion Dollar Quartet)plays the storyteller - El Gallo. Local comedian Collen Doyle (Woolen Mills Comedy Club) brings his talents to the role of Mortimer. Renée Kathleen Koher (Tokyo Disney's The Little Mermaid in Under The Sea) is featured as The Mute. Nick Kuhn (ArtisTree's Godspell) and Sarah Lasko (Dorothy in the National Tour of Andrew Lloyd Weber's The Wizard of Oz) play the young lovers.

Bulgarian harpist Tomina Parvanova will appear on stage at The Grange Theatre playing this beautiful score. Tomina is the principal harpist of the New York Repertory Orchestra, and a two-time winner of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular Orchestra Principal Harp Chair (2015, 2016). On Broadway she has played for Hello, Dolly!(starring Bette Midler), Amelie,and The Fantasticks (the world's longest running show). Festival Artistic Director Josh D. Smith joins the company at the piano.

The Fantasticksruns September 14 - 29 (with a special preview performance on Thursday, September 13) at the Grange Theatre in South Pomfret, VT.

The Fantasticks is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI).

"SUDS" - The Rocking '60s Musical Soap Opera
Created by Melinda Gilb, Steve Gunderson and Bryan Scott

Thirty years ago, three friends got together to create a rollicking little musical called Suds: The Rocking '60s Musical Soap Opera. The show received rave reviews from coast to coast, breaking many box office records at theatres like the prestigious Old Globe Theater, Actors Theatre of Louisville and the San Diego Repertory Theater.

"Suds"is good clean fun for the whole family-a funny, romantic story about looking for love at a Laundromat in the early 1960s. When employee Cindy laments the fact that she has been jilted by her pen-pal boyfriend and feeling like it's the "End Of The World" her singin', swingin' guardian angels Marge and Dee Dee manage to teach her some valuable lessons ("You Can't Hurry Love," "Where the Boys Are," "Please, Mr. Postman," and "It's My Party"). Over the course of they evening they manage to wash and dry dozens of pop songs from the 1960s (including hits from Motown and the Beatles.)

This ArtisTree Music Theatre Festival production is directed by "Suds" original co-creator Melinda Gilb. The production features costume design by David Rigler (Friends: The Musical Parody)and scenic design by Jeffrey T. Perri. The cast includes Erica Lustig (NYMF'S Next Broadway Sensation), Taylor Hilt Mitchell (It Shoulda Been You, Actors Playhouse), Renée Kathleen Koher (ArtisTree's Marvelous Wonderettes)and Sarah Lasko (Dorothy in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Wizard of Oz, National Tour). Festival Artistic Director Josh D. Smith serves as Music Director. "Suds" features a live five-piece band that brings this jukebox musical to life.

Load your quarters in our Whirlpool; spin some chart-topping hits; ditch your Corvair and avoid the wringer of life's troubles by carting your children, your neighbors and your buddies to ArtisTree Music Theatre Festival's Wash-A-Rama and frolic in Suds: The Rocking '60s Soap Opera!

Suds: The Rocking '60s Soap Opera runs October 5 - 20 (with a special preview performance on Thursday, October 4) at the Grange Theatre in South Pomfret, VT.

Suds: The Rocking '60s Soap Opera is presented by special arrangement with Brent Peek Productions.

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