ARTS & CULTURE
Arkansas Public Theatre Opens Season 37
Text and graphics courtesy of Arkansas Public Theatre
Arkansas Public Theatre begins its 37th season this month at the Victory Theater in Rogers.
The season begins with The Music Man, book, music and lyrics by Meredith Willson. A six-time Tony Award-winning musical comedy about a fast-talking traveling salesman, Harold Hill, and his efforts to con the stubborn citizens of River City into purchasing instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band until romance gets in his way. This beloved play is a joy for every generation. Performances are Sept. 16-18, 22-25, 29-30, Oct. 1-2.
Following that will be Almost, Maine, by John Cariano. Almost, Maine is so far north that it’s almost in Canada. And it’s not quite a town — the residents never got that organized. As the northern lights glitter overhead, residents fall in and out of love in this delightful midwinter night’s dream. Performances are Oct. 28-30, Nov. 3-6.
Christmas is celebrated with A Tuna Christmas by Ed Howard, Joe Sears and Jaston Williams. In the third-smallest town in Texas, OKKK radio station reports on the hilarious Yuletide activities taking place, such as the annual lawn display contest and a production of A Christmas Carol jeopardized by unpaid electric bills. A holiday experience for the whole family! Performances are Dec. 9-11, 15-18.
Brightening February will be the smash musical hit Little Shop of Horrors, book by Howard Ashman, music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman. Meek floral assistant Seymour Krelborn stumbles across a new breed of plant he names “Audrey II” — after his coworker crush. The foul-mouthed, R&B-singing carnivore promises unending fame and fortune to the down and out Krelborn — as long as he keeps feeding it blood. Performances are Feb. 10-12, 16-19, 23-26, 2023.
March brings the world premiere of Survival of the Unfit by Oren Safdie. The play centers around Samuel, a 38-year-old substitute teacher/Uber driver/supermarket bagger/hair stylist, still living at home with his parents. When Samuel’s new girlfriend shows up, you begin to understand the underlying dysfunction that has held him back from growing up. The play touches on love, loss, loyalty, accepting others for their shortcomings, and redefines what family means. Performances are March 24-26, 30-31, April 1-2, 2023.
The Shadow Box by Michael Cristofer is a compelling dramatic triptych about three terminal patients who dwell in separate cottages on a hospital’s grounds, attended to and visited by family and close friends. Winner of both the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a Tony Award for Best Play, the story examines not so much each patient’s impending death, but what each one does with the moments left to live. Performances are May 5-7, 11-13, 2023
Next is Sylvia, by A. R. Gurney. Greg and Kate have moved to Manhattan after 22 years of child-raising in the suburbs. Greg’s career is winding down, while Kate’s career is beginning to offer her more opportunities. When Greg brings home a street-smart lab poodle mix dog he finds in the park, named Sylvia, their marriage is put in serious jeopardy until Greg and Kate learn to compromise. Performances are June 16-17, 22-25, 2023.
Season 37 ends on a musical note with It Shoulda Been You, book and lyrics by Brian Hargrove, music by Barbara Anselmi and additional lyrics by Michael Cooper, Will Randall, Carla Rose Fisher, Ernie Lijoi and Jill Abramovitz. Based on a concept by Barbara Anselmi, It Shoulda Been You invites you to a wedding day that you’ll never forget, where the bride is Jewish and the groom is Catholic. Her mother is a force of nature and his is a tempest in a cocktail shaker. Say hello to an ex-boyfriend and goodbye perfect wedding! It’s up to the sister of the bride to save the day in this new musical comedy. Performances are July 28-30, Aug. 3-6, 10-13, 2023.
Tickets are available at www.arkansaspublictheatre.org or by calling (479) 631-8988. Tickets range in price from $20-45. Doors open one hour before shows start.
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