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The Liberty Theatre Unveils Upcoming Season
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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

See if you can try to keep the airplane schedules straight when The Liberty Theatre Company stages its 2024-25 season.

The Liberty Theatre Company will stage the madcap farce "Boeing-Boeing," an adaptation of a Lewis Carroll classic, a smash sci-fi musical and a contemporary spin on a groundbreaking play about gender equality this coming year. And it will stage its full season in The Liberty Theater for which the company was named.

"Attendance was up 230 percent this past season," said Naomi McDougall Jones, the theater company's artistic director. "It was an extraordinary joy to watch so many people come in and see theater."

Members of the theater company welcomed nearly a full house of theater fans into The Liberty Theatre Sunday evening as they unveiled their season. Over cheese and cracker and artichoke dip, they invited attendees to compare clues given to each as they entered the theater to guess upcoming plays before revealing the lineup through comic sketches performed by Andrew Alburger, Joel Vilinsky, Claudia McCain, Courtney Loving and Chris Carwithen.

"BOEING-BOEING"--June 28-July 13

This madcap farce debuted as a bedroom caper starring Jerry Lewis and Tony Curtis in 1965. Based on a 1960 French play, it revolves around a Parisian lothario who has developed an ingenious system for juggling three flight attendants, keeping “one up, one down and one pending” with the help of a maid who excels at changing photographs. It works perfectly since all three are assigned to international routes on non-intersecting flight schedules, meaning that only one is in Paris at any given time.

That is, until faster jets result in schedules being changed and all of the attendants land at Bernard's flat at the same time. The play is considered the most performed French play throughout the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records.

"LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS"--Oct. 4-19

Delve into the world of the hapless floral shop manager Seymour Krelborn as he stumbles upon a new breed of plant that is foul-mouthed, full of promises and a constant engine of rhythm and blues--as long as it gets fed. And we're not talking about plant feed in this rock 'n roll musical featuring music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman!

The original off-Broadway production of the musical broke ground with its use of puppetry to bring the plant Audrey II to life. The Broadway production, which opened in 2003, offered an even more sophisticated use of puppetry. And the musical has gone on to become a smash sci-fi hit.

"ALICE IN WONDERLAND: A RADIO PLAY"--Dec. 6-8

The Liberty Theatre is following last year's radio play of McDougall Jones' "Hammond Castle," with another radio play--this time an adaptation of Lewis Carroll's 1865 tale of a girl who falls through a rabbit hole into a world of fantastical creatures.

This version will let the audience do much of the imagining through an immersive soundscape.

"A DOLL'S HOUSE-PART 2”--Feb. 7-22

In 1879 Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen premiered his controversial play about a woman who walks away from her stifling marriage and her three children in a play that stressed the importance of  gender equality. It is famously said to end with “the door slam heard around the world,” her tenure as "a doll" coming to an end.

Now, The Liberty Theatre Company is following up that classic with Lucas Heath's 2017 play "A Doll's House, Part 2," which picks up where Ibsen's play left off. This play, which went on to Broadway, begins with a knock at the door--the same door that Nora slammed shut 15 years earlier.

The play was nominated for eight Tony Award Nominations, including Best Play, and the 2017 Outer Critics Circle Award, Outstanding New Broadway Play, among other honors.

24 HOURS THEATRE FESTIVAL--April 6

Last fall dozens of adults and youth came together to write, cast and stage mini-plays over the course of 24 hours. It’s back by popular demand.

"We don't know what the show will be. It hasn't been written yet," Chris Carwithen told the audience. "We won't know until 6 p.m. April 6, 2025, when it takes the stage."

McDougall Jones said her theater company was grateful to Logan Frederickson of Windermere who was able to get the theater company back in the elegant 1938 Liberty Theatre after it was shuttered during the pandemic.

And she was thankful for actors and volunteers who had been involved in The Liberty Theatre Company's productions during the past couple years, even when they had to stage plays in such spaces as The Mint bar and restaurant.

"I'm so proud of what we did last season. I'm so grateful to all of you who were part of it," she said, acknowledging those who had done everything from knock on doors to sell season passes to those who helped build sets. "Theater isn't cheap and we can't do it without volunteers."

The Liberty Theatre Company will offer its Pay-What-You-Feel Season Passes again, with passes on sale from June 1-July 15. This year literature will be printed in Spanish, as well as English, with bilingual speakers pitching the season passes door to door.

"We thought we might sell 350 last year--we sold 600," said McDougall Jones. "This year we're looking to The Advocates and Hunter Coalition to reach those who may be able to pay the least."

New this year is a Premium Pass that includes 10 tickets that can be used for guests. It also will include a special pre-show presentation to acquaint passholders with items that will make the experience that much more enjoyable.

Sponsors are being sought--they will get their company names on all posters and other advertising. And volunteers are needed for usher and other roles.

"Tickets don't pay the cost of productions so donations are welcome," McDougall Jones said. "We also take stocks and bonds."

The Liberty Theatre plans to continue its work in the schools. And the internship program the Liberty Theatre Company started last year will be expanded this year.

Roots Wine Bar is partnering with The Liberty Theatre to offer 10 percent discounts to theatergoers before and after a show.

Carol Clark and Diane Thurmond said they were not only looking forward to the upcoming season but that they were looking forward to being back in The Liberty Theatre.

"I've always loved this building. I remember when (the former owner) announced the movies over the radio: 'Toooooo night at The Liberty Theatre...' " said Clark. "I even made sure my friend read the history outside before we came in. It's good to have theater in it again."

To learn more, visit https://www.libertytheatrecompany.org/. Questions? Contact Naomi McDougall Jones at naomi@libertytheatrecompany.org.

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