Posted: Friday Mar 8, 2013
March 8, 2013
Saint Vincent Summer Theatre promises a summer of laughter with the announcement of four shows during its 45th summer season opening May 30.
The season will begin with the popular comedy, The Nerd, by Larry Shue, which runs from Thursday, May 30 to Saturday, June 15. Too Many Cooks, a newly-published farce by Marsha Kash and Douglas E. Hughes, will play from Thursday, June 20 to Saturday, July 6. A celebration of the music of Irving Berlin, I Love a Piano, will be featured from Thursday, July 11 to Saturday, July 27 and the season will end with Ken Ludwig’s Lend Me a Tenor from Thursday, Aug. 1 to Saturday, Aug. 18.
Colleen Reilly will direct all four productions.
“We’re doing two old favorites that audiences have been requesting to see again and two shows that are new to our theatre,” Reilly commented. “That worked really well last summer. People seemed to enjoy the blend of the old and the new and we’re trying something similar this year.”
“We’re starting off with one of the most beloved shows ever in the history of our theatre, Larry Shue’s The Nerd,” she continued. “Some people will be familiar with Shue’s work since The Foreigner, his other great play, was the biggest hit of our season last summer. So, a lot of people know and love Shue and have not had the chance to see The Nerd for several years so we’re going to be starting our season with it.”
“The second show is going to be a wonderful, recently published Canadian farce called Too Many Cooks and it is just a joy,” Reilly continued. “It’s one of those shows that just filled me with delight when I first read it. I was reading the script and laughing out loud to myself here in the office and reading bits to my colleagues and we were all just laughing with glee. It tells the story of a restauranteur in Niagara Falls when prohibition across the border in America had turned Niagara Falls and Canadian border towns into hotbeds of smuggling and rum running. On this particular evening, a great many events conspire to prevent Irving Bubbalowe’s restaurant from opening in the fashion he had been hoping. It has all the classic farcical elements – mistaken identities, misunderstandings, chases, doors opening while others close in rapid succession, all the farcical favorites. It’s going to be great summer entertainment.”
“The third show we’re doing is another one that is new to our stage and I’m very excited about it. It a delightful show called I Love a Piano,” she added. “It takes the music of Irving Berlin and uses it to tell a series of stories taking place over the first half of the 20th century. Some are funny, some are touching, some are glorious and triumphant, and they’re all wrapped up with the music of Berlin. Some of the greatest songs ever written, some of the greatest American music ever written is part of the show.”
“The last show we’re doing is another old favorite that we have not done for 10 years, Lend Me a Tenor,” she concluded. “It’s by the author Ken Ludwig. It tells the story of what happens one night when the Cleveland Grand Opera Company is expecting the arrival of the greatest living tenor of his day, Tito Morelli, to perform a benefit performance of Othello. Morelli is discovered in his hotel room seemingly dead from an overdose of sleeping pills. So, the opera’s director convinces his gopher who actually has a very fine tenor voice, to go on in the star’s place, figuring that under the heavy make-up no one would be able to tell the difference and in fact nobody can. The assistant goes on, it’s a huge hit, but Morelli turns out not to be dead and as a result complications ensue. Ludwig is a master of comedy. He’s written some of the most beloved and successful American comedies in the last few decades. Lend Me a Tenor is a show that we have done a few times, but not for 10 years. Audiences have said they would like to see it again, too.”
The upcoming summer season comes on the heels of record-breaking summer and Christmas seasons. “Our attendance last summer, nearly 10,000 patrons, was up by 31% over 2011,” Reilly commented. “Our growth has been great and we are grateful for that. Plaid Tidings drew more than 2,000 patrons to nine performances during December – 20% more people than Forever Plaid in the summer showing and a 160% increase over our last Christmas show. We are grateful to the public for their support. We hope that this summer the trend will continue. The people who have enjoyed past shows will hopefully bring their friends so they can have the experience as well. They will see some old actors they have come to love and some new actors they will grow to love.”
The good news for Saint Vincent Theatre patrons is that ticket prices will remain unchanged for the third consecutive year. “Costs are rising everywhere and our production costs are no different,” Reilly noted. “I would like people to realize that. We hope it will enable as many people as possible to see the shows. It’s a great bargain especially if you buy one of the packages. The preview night is always a good value, $10 general admission on the first night of every show. That’s a tradition Fr. Tom started in 1970. We want everyone to be able to enjoy our productions.”
The young Saint Vincent director said that many patrons tell her that times are tough and people need Saint Vincent Summer Theatre where they can relax and laugh. “People call early for our schedule because they are being asked by their friends, church groups, or co-workers because they are looking forward to laughing,” Reilly said. “All of our shows are comedies in one way or another. They are designed to entertain and give our audiences a break from the stresses of life. That’s not theaters’ only role but it is one of them. At this time in this region there is a need for relief and entertainment. Things are difficult for many people for a number of different reasons. People look at Saint Vincent Summer Theater to provide escape and entertainment. We are delighted to provide that. It is an extension of Benedictine hospitality. We want to give them joy. I have been struck by how many patrons have mentioned coming to the theater and laughing.”
Reilly reminded patrons that Saint Vincent is a professional theatre. “While many people realize it’s a professional theater, some people think they will see SVC students,” Reilly commented. “Nothing wrong with that at all, but I don’t think they realize it is professional. We have been affiliated with the professional union Actors Equity since 1985 and our actors are working professional actors. It is somewhat unusual to have a professional theater in such a small town as Latrobe. It is a bit unusual given our long history as well. That is not the case in all small towns. I know personally that I am very grateful to Fr. Tom and the other founders who thought that this area could support a theater. We are also grateful to our audiences, who keep us going. It is really a neat thing and I hope people will take advantage of this opportunity in the area.”
Saint Vincent Summer Theatre patrons are asked to make ticket reservations in advance because seats are reserved at all performances except Thursday evening preview shows, which are general admission. Reservations may be made by mailing or emailing (email@example.com) preferred dates prior to Monday, May 20 or by calling the theater box office starting Monday, May 21 until Sunday, August 18.
From May 20 through August 18, customers may also make reservations online by going to www.svst.org. A credit card is required for online reservations, and such reservations are transferable, but non-refundable.
Individual tickets are $10 for preview performances, $19 on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evenings, $22 on Friday and Saturday evenings and $16 for matinees. Special theatre party group rates apply to groups of 20 guests or more. Senior citizens, 62 or older, are eligible for a $2 discount upon request on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings only. Special subscription plans are also available through Saturday, June 29. In addition, student tickets are available for $10 for any seat, any performance.
Saint Vincent Summer Theatre performances are all scheduled in the comfortable, air-conditioned Performing Arts Center of the Robert S. Carey Student Center on the Saint Vincent College campus. Free van shuttle service is provided to and from the spacious and convenient parking areas adjacent to the Saint Vincent Basilica.
Saint Vincent Summer Theatre will continue to feature its well-known cabaret, the special after-the-show party to which all theatre patrons are invited. Saint Vincent students serve snacks, hot dogs and beverages after the production and also provide entertainment. The cabaret is open after all performances except Thursday preview shows and all matinees. Theatre officials encourage donations if patrons enjoy themselves at the after-the-show party.
The 24th annual Saint Vincent Summer Theatre Gala will be held Friday, July 12. All proceeds benefit the Saint Vincent Summer Theatre.
A free brochure is available by contacting Colleen Reilly at (724) 805-2229 prior to May 20 and the Saint Vincent Theatre box office at 724 537-8900 after May 20.
Photo: Saint Vincent Summer Theatre patrons enjoy professional comedy productions in the comfortable, air-conditioned Performing Arts Center in the Robert S. Carey Student Center on the campus of Saint Vincent College, Latrobe.
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