‘Annie Get Your Gun’ and ‘The Producers’ round out upcoming Village Theatre season

March 2, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

Village Theatre dips into the Great American Songbook, re-imagines Broadway blockbusters and polishes original musicals for the Mainstage during the 2011-12 season.

Performers present a reading of the musical ‘It Shoulda Been You’ at the 2010 Festival of New Musicals. By Sam Freeman

For the fourth consecutive season, the downtown Issaquah playhouse plans to feature a pair of original musicals on the Mainstage — rarity for regional theaters.

The lineup includes the classic musicals “Annie Get Your Gun” and “The Producers” — plus the original musicals “Take Me America” and “It Shoulda Been You.” The lone play in the upcoming season is a Neil Simon chestnut, “The Odd Couple.”

The season kicks off in Issaquah just after Labor Day. The productions then head to the Everett Performing Arts Center after the local engagements conclude.

‘Take Me America’

Sept. 14 to Oct. 23

“Take Me America” last appeared on the Village Theatre stage as a reading at the 2009 Festival of New Musicals.

The rock musical presents tales from refugees struggling to gain political asylum in the United States — and of the immigration agents responsible for deciding the refugees’ fates. The immigration agents labor to find a balance between the refugees’ humanity and a difficult professional position.

Though the subject matter has significant heft, “Take Me America” intersperses comedy throughout the musical.

‘Annie Get Your Gun’

Nov. 9 to Dec. 31

Composer Irving Berlin conceived “Annie Get Your Gun” — a fictionalized account of sharpshooter Annie Oakley — for the Broadway stage in 1946.

“Annie Get Your Gun” is a romp about the romance between Annie and Frank Butler, the heartthrob in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show.

The original production played for more than 1,100 performances, and codified the songs “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better” in the Great American Songbook. The local staging spins off of the successful 1999 Broadway revival.

The Odd Couple’

Jan. 18 to Feb. 26, 2012

“The Odd Couple” on Broadway beget a classic film and a TV sitcom. The play ran for almost 1,000 performances in the mid-1960s.

The original run received numerous 1965 Tony honors, including Simon for Best Author and Mike Nichols for Best Director.

The play features mismatched roommates Oscar Madison — a carefree and unkempt divorcé — and Felix Unger, fastidious and uptight.

The living arrangement is a last resort for slob Oscar and neatnik Felix — the decision leads to laugh-out-loud scenes for the audience.

‘It Shoulda Been You’

March 14 to April 22, 2012

The musical “It Shoulda Been You” is about another odd-couple pairing: The wedding-day sparring between Catholic and Jewish in-laws-to-be.

The theater offered a barebones reading of the romantic comedy to kick off the 2010 Festival of New Musicals. The show had also received a reading at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s prestigious festival the previous year.

“It Shoulda Been You” unites the Steinberg and Howard families on a frenzied wedding day as emotions run high and schemes unfold. The race down the aisle includes a surprise for audiences.

‘The Producers’

May 9 to July 1, 2012

“The Producers” — the blockbuster Broadway musical — picked up a record-shattering 12 Tonys for the 2001 staging.

Village Theatre imports the jokes about show business and Nazis to the Mainstage as the lead characters — out-of-luck producer Max Bialystock and fussy accountant Leo Bloom — conspire to create the worst musical ever in order to pocket some fast cash.

The original Broadway production ran for more 2,000 performances and spawned a 2005 film.

Like the original run, “The Producers” in Issaquah promises outrageous punch lines and glitzy production numbers.

What to know

Village Theatre Mainstage subscription packages offer five shows for the price of four. Season packages range from $145 to $245. The theater has discounts for seniors age 65 and older, for youth patrons younger than 21 and for Family Room seats.

Individual tickets go on sale intermittently throughout the season, starting in August. The theater plans to announce on-sale dates and prices throughout the season.

Tickets can be purchased at the Francis J. Gaudette Theatre box office, 303 Front St. N., by phone at 392-2202, or at www.villagetheatre.org.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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