Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Venice Stage Is Set

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Venice Stage Is Set

Article excerpt

Venice Theatre is leaning toward the familiar and a desire to keep its two theaters filled, while throwing in a touch of the offbeat in its four varied series.

The theater's mainstage season will include such favorites as "Hello, Dolly!" and the comic farce "Moon Over Buffalo" along with several shows that will be new to the theater, including the comical mystery "The 39 Steps," Regina Taylor's hat-inspired "Crowns" and the tender drama "Second Samuel."

"The 39 Steps," based on the Alfred Hitchcock movie, features four actors playing dozens of characters to tell a story about a man who finds himself drawn into a web of intrigue.

"Crowns" is a musical built around African-American women and the hats they prominently wear to Sunday church services. "Second Samuel" is set in 1951 in Samuel, Ga., where one of the town's most popular residents has died, leaving behind some surprises.

"How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" with book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert and music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, is the smash Broadway revival that recently starred Daniel Radcliffe.

In all, the theater will present 18 theatrical productions along with dozens of concerts and other special events in the 2012-13 season, said Executive/Artistic Director Murray Chase.

Three of the theater's four Cabaret series shows and one of the Stage II productions are reprises of recent hits.

Chase said he decided to bring back such shows as "The Rocky Horror Show," "The Great American Trailer Park Musical," "Midlife, the Crisis Musical" in the Cabaret, and "The Vagina Monologues" in Stage II as a "naked stab at commercial success. We really want to make sure we keep the theaters filled."

Past sales indicate there is still demand for all those shows, which sold out most performances.

Such hits make it easier for the theater to take chances on less well-known titles, including Lynn Nottage's "Intimate Apparel," which will have its area debut, or Martin McDonagh's "A Behanding in Spokane," which round out the Stage II season with Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize-winning "Our Town."

"Intimate Apparel" is about the forbidden relationship between a black woman who makes undergarments and a Jewish man who owns a fabric store. …

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