Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

Home · Articles · News · Features · OTP plans a dazzling season
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OTP plans a dazzling season

Robert Downes - August 25th, 2008
Look for plenty of sizzle on the stage this year at Old Town Playhouse in Traverse City, which is bringing in some of America’s hottest contemporary plays.
The lineup includes the Vegas-flavored laugh-fest of “Nunsensations!,” the edgy urban satire “Urinetown,” the musical version of “The Producers,” the perennial favorite “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” and a cross-dressing comedy, “Leading Ladies.”
“We’re very excited about our season and artistic direction this year,” says Phil Murphy, OTP executive director. “This year we decided to be a little more contemporary and have plays that are new up here and haven’t been seen before. The only exception is ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ which was staged 25 years ago.”
Murphy notes that “The Producers” has only now been released to community theaters across the country after its seven-year run on Broadway. “I think we’re the first playhouse in Michigan to stage the play, which is a big coup to get the rights as early as we did.”
Speaking of rights, the licensing rights to stage this season are sky-high. To stage “The Producers,” for instance, OTP must pay $18,000. Then it’s $14,000 or more for “Urinetown,” and $11,000 for “Nunsense,” but a mere $1,500 each for “Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Leading Ladies,” which are
non-musicals.
“The licensing rights for non-musicals are quite reasonable, but musicals cost an arm and a leg because everyone wants to do musicals and everyone wants to see them,” Murphy says.
In fact, that dynamic is why tickets are so crazy-expensive on Broadway these days, where seats go for as much as $450 each.
But Murphy is confident that the strength of this year’s season will pull OTP through with its expenses. He adds that it’s also easier than ever to order tickets, thanks to a new on-line ordering system at www.oldtownplayhouse.com. Season tickets are currently available for all five shows for $90.
Look for a gritty line-up of dramas in the downstairs Studio Theatre as well, with season tickets available at $27 for three shows (listed below). Murphy says that playgoers can expect some surprises here in the years ahead in that increasingly, playwrights from around the country are approaching OTP to produce their original works.
Want to have it all? For $115, you can obtain a season ticket package that buys all eight shows being staged in 2008-2009. Again, order at www.oldtownplayhouse.com, or drop by the box office. Here’s the rundown on what’s playing:


MainStage Theatre
Following is a run-down on this year’s season, provided by Old Town Playhouse:

Nunsensations! • Sept. 5-27

The Nunsense Vegas Revue takes the sisters on a new adventure. When a parishioner volunteers to donate $10,000 to the sisters’ school if they will perform in a club in Las Vegas, Mother Superior is hesistant to accept. However, after being convinced by the other sisters that “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” Reverend Mother agrees. What follows is the most feather-filled, sequin-studded, fan dancing Nunsense show ever.
Performing in “The Pump Room” at the Mystique Motor Lodge, the sisters experience “show-biz” like never before.
Urinetown, the Musical
Nov. 7-29

“Urinetown” is an earnest tale of love, greed, and revolution. The show is set in a town plagued by a 20-year drought, where water has become so scarce that private toilets have become unthinkable. At the mercy of a single dominating corporation that maintains a monopoly on the town’s public amenities, the destitute citizens must pay towering taxes and fines to carry out their most private and basic of needs.
A hero rises to lead his fellow citizens against the tyrannical regime. Drawing from “West Side Story,” “Chicago,” and “Les Misérables,” among others, the show pays irreverent homage to the great American musical theatre tradition. Hilariously funny and honest, “Urinetown” provides a fresh perspective on one of America’s greatest art forms.
The show is the winner of three Tony Awards, three Outer Critic’s Circle Awards, two Lucille Lortel Awards, and two Obie Awards.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Jan. 16-31
Prisoner Randle Patrick McMurphy declares himself insane so he’ll be transferred to a mental institution, which he believes will be more comfortable than the jailhouse. But McMurphy soon finds that his ward in the asylum is run with an iron fist by the domineering Nurse Ratched.
McMurphy flexes his individualist muscle in the ward, making a name for himself and causing trouble for the staff. During his stay he attempts to breathe life, masculinity, and individuality back into the submissive and emasculated patients, including the Chief, a tall, deaf-mute Native American. When Nurse Ratched’s tyrannical rule drives one of the patients to suicide, McMurphy takes action, with dire consequences.

The Producers • March 6-28
Mel Brooks’ cult comedy classic involves a down-on-his-luck Broadway producer and his mild-mannered accountant, who come up with a scheme to produce the most notorious flop in history thereby bilking their backers (all “little old ladies”) out of millions of dollars. Only one thing goes awry: the show is a smash hit!
The antics of Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom as they maneuver their way through finding a show (the gloriously offensive “Springtime For Hitler”), hiring a director, raising the money and finally going to prison for their misdeeds is a lesson in broad comic construction.

Leading Ladies • May 8-23
Forget love -- what the world needs now is laughs. That’s the creed of playwright Ken Ludwig. Taking as his theme one of the theater’s oldest and surest laugh-getters -- guys in dresses -- Ludwig adds some fresh twists and a few genuine surprises.
Ludwig’s heroes (heroines?) are Leo and Jack, actors reduced to touring rural Pennsylvania (c. 1952) with their “excerpts from Shakespeare.” With few prospects and less cash after a disastrous appearance at the Moose Lodge, they hear of a wealthy, dying woman seeking two long-lost relatives. Even after learning “Max” and “Steve” are nicknames for Maxine and Stephanie, Leo insists they go through with the scheme. “Leading Ladies” celebrates the shared spirit of mischief and fun that connects cross-dressing comedy from the Bard to “Tootsie.” Ludwig’s laugh-a-second farce, will surely join “Charley’s Aunt” in the repertories of regional and community theatres for decades to come.

Studio Theatre

Rabbit Hole • Oct. 8-18
This anatomy of grief doesn’t so much jerk tears as tap them from a reservoir of feelings common to anyone who has experienced the vacuum left by a death in the family. The plot of “Rabbit Hole,” is centered on the impact of the accidental killing of a small child. Grief has obviously not brought the members of the family closer together. Sorrow isolates them.

Panache • Feb. 12-21
The screwball comedy is about upper-class Kathleen Trafalgar, unhappily married, who appears one day at a Brooklyn apartment inhabited by Harry Baldwin -- a frustrated artist who has had an unfortunate tragedy in his life that has left him unable to do anything but booze and gamble. As it happens, Kathleen just found out that Harry has the license plate, P-A-N-A-C-H-E, which she had ordered from the New York DMV. She had received P-A-N-C-A-K-E in error, and now she’s willing to pay any price to get P-A-N-A-C-H-E from Harry.
Don Gordon’s play is a heart-warming romantic comedy, sometimes bittersweet, sometimes sad, sometimes zany. It’s a play with -- well -- panache.

Doubt: A Parable • April 16-25
“What do you do when you’re not sure?” Father Flynn asks the audience in the opening line of this play, setting the stage for a story of suspicion and moral certainty.
His colleague, Sister Aloysius, is an old-school nun who insists that her students not be coddled: “Every easy choice today will have its consequence tomorrow. Mark my words.” Flynn, following the Second Vatican Council’s directive, believes the clergy should be more accessible to the parish and be thought of “as members of their family.”
These two schools of thought come into direct conflict when Aloysius suspects Flynn of “interfering” with Donald Muller, the school’s first black student.
 
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