Theater

BG High’s musical “Shrek” delivers a message about acceptance on way to a fairy tale ending

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A musical based on an animated film shouldn’t feel this timely. But you can’t escape the echoes of the news when a host of refugees flood onto the stage of the Bowling Green Performing Arts Center. Yes, the refugees are a motley assortment of your favorite fairy tale characters. Still one feels the very real pang of people displaced. These refugees end up in a swamp, the home of the misanthropic ogre, Shrek, who wants no part of them. “Shrek: The Musical” like its predecessors “Shrek” the movie and the original picture book by William Steig turns fairy tales on their heads. The show, directed by JoBeth Gonzalez, still delivers a happily-ever-after ending. Along the way there’s plenty of comic patter, tuneful melodies, dances, and a few heart-tugging moments. “Shrek, the Musical,” Bowling Green High’s all-school musical, opens tonight (April 20) at 7 p.m. continuing Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. in the PAC. The animated film really sets the bar for the cast and crew. Technical director Ryan Albrecht and his team capture the atmosphere and settings, and manage to make these shifts without interrupting the action. The dragon is a particularly nice piece of stage puppetry. Justin McKenzie does a good job as the gruff Shrek. He shows that a lot of that grouchy exterior is an affectation. He lets the ogre gradually open up emotionally. That process begins with his relationship with Donkey played with a sure sense of comic timing by Josh Coleman, who is able to capture the antic spontaneity of Eddie Murphy from…

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Broadway, blues & opera intersect in colorful “Street Scene” at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The brownstone at 346 on an anonymous street on New York’s Lower East Side is the home to seven families of motley ethnicity. “Street Scene,” the opera they inhabit, brings together music of the Old World and New to express their joys, hopes, passion, fears, and desperation. The 1946 collaboration of composer Kurt Weill, poet Langston Hughes, and playwright Elmer Rice opens Friday at 8 p.m. in the Donnell Theatre in the Wolfe Center for the Arts on the Bowling Green State University campus. A matinee performance will be presented Sunday at 3 p.m. Advance tickets are $15; all tickets are $20 the day of the performance. Call 419-372-8171, go online at bgsu.edu/arts, or visit the box office in the Wolfe Center to purchase tickets. “Street Scene,” said Kevin Bylsma, coordinator of opera at BGSU, “is a great amalgamation of operetta, opera and musical theater that tells a poignant story that resonates as much today as it did in 1946.” The tale of immigrants tossed together in a strange, sometimes hostile place had such resonance that guest director Nicholas Wuehrmann considered setting this version in contemporary times. There’s the “universality of the themes of love, relationships, the struggle of the immigrant population, prejudice, just every day life and the struggle to get along, and dreaming and hoping,” the director said. “It reminds me of the people I know in New York.” He passed on the idea, trusting the audience will relate regardless of the time period. All the characters have their own struggles, and the show highlights them in song. In the opening we…


JoBeth Gonzalez inducted into Ohio EdTA Hall of Fame

From THE EDUCATIONAL THEATRE ASSOCIATION: OHIO CHAPTER The Educational Theatre Association: Ohio Chapter (Ohio EdTA) is thrilled to announce the Hall of Fame induction of Dr. JoBeth Gonzalez and Mr. Scott Wilson. Dr. JoBeth Gonzalez – known affectionately as Dr. G by her students – has been a leading advocate for theatre education in Ohio for decades. As a teacher at Bowling Green High School, she has directed innumerable plays and musicals, and served as the long-time leader of her school’s thespian troupe. Over 23 years at BGHS, she has earned a reputation for addressing challenging subjects of special relevance to her students, including eating disorders, teen suicide, bullying, and human trafficking. “Several years ago, JoBeth and I were part of a research group called Critical Links at the Educational Theatre Association. I had known JoBeth prior to that project, but became even more aware of the depth of care that she brings every day to her students and to her craft,” says Irene Imboden, Ohio EdTA co-director. “JoBeth is my inspiration. I often tease her, saying ‘When I grow up, I want to be JoBeth.’” Gonzalez is the author of two books: “Temporary Stages” and “Temporary Stages II: Critically-Oriented Drama Education,” which have inspired many theatre teachers to provide audition feedback rather than posting of cast lists. She is the past president for the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, the 2014-2015 Ohio EdTA Theatre Educator of the Year, and Bowling Green State University College of Education and Human Development’s 2016 Educator of the Year. Scott Wilson has taught theatre in Westerville, Olentangy and Columbus Public Schools for 19…


BGSU arts events through March 3

Feb. 23—The Creative Writing Program’s Reading Series features visiting writer Callista Buchen. The BGSU MFA alumna and author of chapbooks “The Bloody Planet” and “Double-Mouthed” will share her work. The reading will begin at 7:30 p.m.in Prout Chapel. Free Feb. 23 – The Department of Theatre and Film presents the second week of performances of “The Penelopiad,” Margaret Atwood’s version of Homer’s “Odyssey” told through the voices of Penelope and her 12 hanged maids. Speaking from beyond the grave, Atwood’s characters explore this mythic tale of love, betrayal, responsibility, and power. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre, Wolfe Center for the Arts. Tickets are available at bgsu.edu/arts, 419-372-8171 or at the Wolfe Center Box Office, and cost $5 for students and $15 for adults in advance, and $20 for everyone on the day of the performance. Additional performances are at 8 p.m. Feb. 24 and at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Feb. 25. Feb. 23 – The Hansen Musical Arts Series features the Grammy-winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth. Through study with masters from singing traditions the world over, the eight-voice ensemble continually expands its vocabulary of singing techniques and, through an ongoing commissioning process, forges a new repertoire without borders. The recital will begin at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Feb. 25 – The BG Philharmonia celebrates the 50th annual Concerto Concert. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of Moore Musical Arts Center. Advance tickets are $3 for students and children and $7 for adults. Tickets can be purchased at the box office in the…


Black Swamp Players’ “Baby” is a well-rounded musical about the highs & lows of expecting

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The baby in the title of the Black Swamp Players new musical is a red herring. Yes, the premise of “Baby: The Musical” is three couples, each at a different stage of life, confronting pregnancy. The show, though isn’t about babies, or a baby, but about those three couples, or rather the six individuals, and how they face having or not having a baby, and the strains this puts on their relationships. The Players have assembled a cast that captures the predicament of each of the couples, and surrounds them with a chorus of comic supporters and irritants. Directed by Inge Klopping “Baby” is on stage Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in the First United Methodist Church, 1526 E. Wooster, Bowling Green. Tickets are $15 and $12 for seniors and students from Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St. and at http://www.blackswampplayers.org/tickets. “Baby” opens with a mini-lecture on the biology behind it all by Deb Snow. She concludes: “In a way it’s truly a romantic story. Sperm meets egg. The great miracle occurs and no one knows it’s happening.” We then meet our three couples just as they realize, or they think they realize, what has happened. Danny (Andrew Austin) and Lizzie (Courtney Gilliland) are college students. He’s a serious musician trying to find his own sound, and she’s a writer. They’re romantics committed to living and loving by their own rules. They’ve just moved in together when they find out she’s pregnant, or as she sings “inside of me our genes have found their niche.” Alan (D….


Black Swamp Players to deliver musical “Baby”

Black Swamp Players is proud to present the musical “Baby” Feb. 24 and 25 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 1526 E Wooster St, Bowling Green.  Ticket prices are $15 and $12 for seniors and students from Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St. and http://www.blackswampplayers.org/tickets. There is nothing more exciting, frightening and utterly transformational than impending parenthood. In Baby, three couples work their way toward parenthood under three very different sets of circumstances.    The three couples on a university campus deal with the painful, rewarding and agonizingly funny consequences of the universal experience of pregnancy and upcoming parenthood. There are the college students , Lizzie Fields (Courtney Gilliland) and Danny Hooper (Andrew Zon Austin) , barely at the beginning of their adult lives; the thirty-somethings,  Pam (Nicole Navarre) and Nick Sakarian (Chris Stack) who are having trouble conceiving but determined to try; and the middle-aged parents,  Alan (Ward Ensign) and Arlene McNally (Mara Connor) looking forward to seeing their last child graduate from college…when a night of unexpected passion lands them back where they started. The musical, full of heart and joy, examines how parents-to-be experience the emotional stresses and triumphs, as well as the desperate lows and the comic highs that accompany the anticipation and arrival of a baby. Baby is the 1984 Tony-nominated Best Musical that has an original book by Sybille Pearson, music by David Shire and lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr. directed by Inge Klopping with music director Janine Baughman.   


BGSU arts events through March 1

From BGSI OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Feb. 16—The Creative Writing Program’s Reading Series features graduate students Bridget Adams and Benji Katz. The reading will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Feb. 16—The Department of Theatre and Film’s production of “The Penelopiad” will open at 8 p.m. in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre at the Wolfe Center for the Arts. “The Penelopiad” is Margaret Atwood’s version of Homer’s “Odyssey” told through the voices of Penelope and her 12 hanged maids. Speaking from beyond the grave, Atwood’s characters explore this mythic tale of love, betrayal, responsibility and power. Additional performances are at 8 p.m. Feb. 16-18 and Feb. 23-25, with matinees at 2 p.m. on Feb. 18, 19 and 25. Advance tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the box office in the Wolfe Center, 419-372-8171 or online at www.bgsu.edu/arts. All seats the day of the performance are $20. (See story: http://bgindependentmedia.org/bgsus-the-penelopiad-shows-the-tragedy-on-the-ancient-greek-homefront/) Feb. 17—The Brown Bag Music Series will present a musical extravaganza in celebration of Black History Month. Students and faculty from the College of Musical Arts will perform starting at 11:45 a.m. at the Simpson Building, 1291 Conneaut Ave., Bowling Green. Free Feb. 17—The BGSU Wind Symphony will perform at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Advance tickets are $7 and can be purchased at the Wolfe Center for the Arts box office, 419-372-8171 or online at www.bgsu.edu/arts. All seats are $10 the day of the performance. Feb. 18—The University and Concert Bands will perform at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Advance tickets are $7 and can be…