Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Venice Theatre Celebrates 'Americana' on Stage

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Venice Theatre Celebrates 'Americana' on Stage

Article excerpt

Venice Theatre is making a

few adjustments to how it pack-ages

its shows in the 2017-18

season, getting rid of some con-fusing

labels while promising a

"boatload of fun" with a series

of new productions and revivals.

Executive/Artistic Director

Murray Chase describes the

five-show mainstage season as a

"splash of Americana" with the

Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy

"You Can't Take It With You"

and Frank Galati's Tony-winning

"The Grapes of Wrath"

bookending three musicals --

"A Christmas Story," a revival

of a 2012 production of "Smokey

Joe's Cafe" and "Dreamgirls."

"We've got a representation

from so many segments of

American life and I think we're

going to celebrate that," Chase

said in an interview earlier this

week, before a public announcement

Wednesday night in front

of a full theater of patrons that

was to include musical numbers

from some of next season's

shows.

The theater will continue the

reduced schedule of five main-stage

productions it introduced

this season to allow for longer

runs.

"Economically, we

found that the sixth show

was never paying off in

May. This way we can

concentrate our efforts

on the five we have and

make them a little bigger

and a little stronger."

In its second space, the

Pinkerton Theatre, the

organization had been

presenting shows under

the labels Stage II (for

more alternative productions)

and the Cabaret

series.

"We're getting rid of

the labels. The cabaret

season evolved into small

musical formats and we

have the Cabaret festival

in the summer -- it was

just confusing," Chase

said. "So now it's all Stage

II. We're not sure what

impact it will have on

attendance or response,

but it will be less confusing

for the patrons."

Chase said he couldn't

be more excited about

the range of shows,

stories and characters

featured in the Stage II

season, beginning with

the musical revue "Bee-hive,"

which traces the

evolution of women and

popular music through

the changing sounds of

the 1960s. The theater

will bring back last fall's

hit production of "The

Toxic Avenger" which

took off slowly before

hitting sellout status,

and in the holiday season

will offer David Sedaris'

one-man comedy "The

Santaland Diaries," about

the writer's experience

working as a shopping

mall elf in a Santa display. …

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