Theater

Horizon Youth Theatre marks 20 years of acting up at gala

By TESSA PHILLIPS BG Independent Contributor The excitement was palpable as community members of all ages began to fill the Simpson Garden Banquet Room last night for the Horizon Youth Theatre’s 20th anniversary gala. Kids sat at tables decorated with photos from past HYT performances and reminisced on favorite stage memories. Genevieve Simon, one of the guest speakers at the gala, spotted a scrapbook and sat down to look through it with her brother, Martin. “Martin was part of Horizon for about two years, maybe longer,” Genevieve said. “Our whole family was involved, and that’s kind of how I was roped into it,” Martin added, grinning at his sister. Martin, a senior in high school, has plans to study theater in college, like his sister before him. “Horizon definitely encouraged me to pursue theatre as a career. It inspired me,” he said. After an hour of hors d’oeuvres, HYT members began doing what they do best—entertaining the audience. Scott Regan took the stage with co-founder Jo Beth Gonzalez and spoke about the importance of history and storytelling. “These two things separate us from the animals,” Regan said. Regan became emotional as he shared a story about a child who had become ill and had been sent to the hospital around the time of an HYT production of “Winnie the Pooh.” Before a painful procedure, she had told her mom that she wished she was “back in the Hundred Acre Wood.” “What does this tell us? To me, it proves that theatre gives kids something to hold on to during hard times,” Regan said. “Horizon Youth Theatre came from a place of…

Read More

Genevieve Simon’s Bowling Green roots inform work headed to Cincy Fringe Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Genevieve Simon was a junior at Bowling Green High School she didn’t get the part she wanted in the school musical “West Side Story.” Instead of a role with a lot of singing and dancing, the director Jo Beth Gonzalez cast Simon as Anybodys, a tom boy who hangs out with the Jets, who ignore her. But she persists. “She was this strange girl who wanted to be a boy.” Simon ended up loving the role even though it has few lines. That didn’t mean it she wasn’t acting. “I started to learn how to be on stage when it’s not about you.” Simon learned to listen intently to the story. She fashioned a deep inner life for Anybodys, contemplating her role in the social structure, and projecting that even if she was in the shadows. “I was able to explore and learn how to be on stage and listen, how to be part of a group – who do I feel most loyal to, most scared of, and who do I hate?” “I look back at that and am so grateful she gave me that challenge,” Simon said in a recent telephone interview from her home in New York City. That experience not only has played into her development as a professional actor now working in New York, but it has inspired a new play, “Romeo + Juliet + Anybodys,” that will be performed at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival June 6, 8, and 10. For details visit: http://www.cincyfringe.com. The play brings Anybodys out of the shadows and into the spotlight. Simon said…


Perrysburg Musical Theatre to stage “The King and I”

From PERRYSBURG MUSICAL THEATRE Perrysburg Musical Theatre, in its last show of its seventh season, will present Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I” to the Perrysburg community this June 22 – 25.   “The King and I” is a timeless and ever-important reminder about overcoming cultural differences with understanding, respect, and love, while maintaining unique and personal traditions and values.  The story takes place in the early 1860’s in Bangkok, Siam (now Thailand), where the newly-widowed Anna Leonowens and her son, Louis, arrive from England, where Anna has taken a position as the schoolteacher for the children of the King of Siam. The King is determined to usher Siam into the modern world, and he thinks Western education can be a part of that – yet, Anna is horrified by many of the traditions that he holds dear.  They discover that they have a lot to learn from each other.  Music from the score includes “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Getting to Know You,””Hello Young Lovers,” and “Shall We Dance?” The cast is comprised of community members throughout northwest Ohio, featuring Jennifer Braun (Anna) and Matt Boggs (King of Siam), and supported by a cast of more than 70 members.  The show is a family affair for many of the cast members:  mothers-and-daughters sharing the stage are Angela Paprocki and Paige Paprocki (Royal Wives), Carrie Sanderson (Lady Thiang) and Lindsay Sanderson (Royal Child/dancer), Tania Schneider (Royal Wife) and Caity Schneider (Royal Child/Buddha), and Amanda Hubaker (Royal Wife) and Alex Hubaker (Royal Child); husband-and-wife cast members include Chuck Kiskaddon (Captain Orton) and Wendie Kiskaddon (Nurse); and a number of siblings will…


“The Fantasticks” gets fresh & lively staging at Valentine Theatre

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A play so constructed of theatrical artifice should not be this moving. Yet when the wise rogue Gallo reprises the ballad “Try to Remember” at the end of “The Fantasticks,” it tugs at the heart. In the preceding two hours, the bandit-for-hire Gallo (Ryan Zarecki) has taken the audience into his confidence. “The Fantasticks” is being staged by the Valentine Theatre in Studio A, on the Adams side of the complex, directed by James M. Norman, for six shows starting Friday, May 12, at 8 p.m. continuing Saturday, May 13, Friday, May 19, and Saturday, May 20, all at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees, May 14 and 21, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20. Visit: http://www.valentinetheatre.com/events.html. “The Fantasticks” has a classic fairy tale set up with a girl, Luisa (Madison Zavitz), and a boy, Matt (Griffen Palmer), and they are in love in the most besotted way, made all the more acute by the fact that their fathers have built a wall to keep them apart. The fathers, Hucklebee and Bellomy, are feuding, or that’s what they like their children to suppose. It’s all a ruse to keep the lovebirds focused on each other and to bring about their marriage. They are also gardeners, which gives them more satisfaction than raising children, because as they sing “if you plant a turnip, you get a turnip.” Who knows what children will turn into? All this plays out as planned, more or less, in the first act with the assistance of Gallo and two, down-at-the-heels actors, Henry (Ed Burnham) and Mortimer (Jeremy Allen). But it is…


Theater lovers should add “Every Brilliant Thing” to their to-do list

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Kendra Beitzel is alone on stage as “Every Brilliant Thing” starts. Her character is in many ways alone in her troubled life as the daughter of a chronically depressed mother. Beitzel relates the tale in an engaging tone that’s at once self-knowing and wryly objective. But Beitzel needs help telling  her story. It is a monologue that sometimes needs other bodies to fill out the story, so she will draw random audience members to stand in for her psychologist, her boyfriend, her father, even herself. Her character as well discovers over the course of her life that she needs help to cope with what life has handed her. Broken Spectacle Productions will present “Every Brilliant Thing” Wednesday, May 3 through Friday, May 5, at 7:30 each night at Grumpy Dave’s, 104 S. Main St., Bowling Green. Tickets are $12 from http://www.brokenspectacle.com/. There’s also a one drink minimum. The audience participation is part of what attracted director Sara Chambers to the script.  “Because the audience itself becomes a character,” Chambers said, “the implication is we’re part of a human community, and that’s part of what makes life good.” The play deals with “hard-wired depression,” yet “it is so hopeful.” “The show is not saying in any way you can choose not to be depressed,” Chambers said. Still there are choices. “I can still get help,” Chambers said. “I can continue to make choices about how I view the world. Things can get better, not always brilliant, but they can get better. “I think it’s important to talk about things that are really hopeful about the…


Players’ “Dixie Swim Club” offers comic, touching look at friendship over the years

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Even if you didn’t go to Pemberton College, you’ll probably know with the women from its championship swim squad. They are a familiar line up of southern female types – overachiever, perfectionist alpha woman, sex-obsessed diva, screwball redneck, and cheerful naif. These archetypes mean the writer, Jones Hope Wooten, doesn’t have to spend time establishing characters. You know, sometimes before the character enters, where they fit in this theatrical ecosystem. The fun is seeing what twists the script and the particular cast can put on them, so we see them a little fresh. The Black Swamp Players’ production of “The Dixie Swim Club” opens Friday, April 28, at 8 p.m. in the First United Methodist Church, 1526 E. Wooster St., Bowling Green. The play continues Saturday (April 28), Friday, May 5, and Saturday, May 6, all at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees April 30 and May 7 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 and $10 for students and seniors at Grounds for Thought or at: https://www.blackswampplayers.org/. Directed by Aggie Alt, in her first effort for the Players, “The Dixie Swim Club” is set on a vacation house on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Members of the swim club have reunited here for more than 20 years when we first encounter them. Now 44 they are facing the various discontents and joys of middle age, and realizing those are sometimes hard to distinguish. One of the characters even shows up pregnant. That birth gives the play its circle-of-life feel. When the play ends 33 years after this first scene, one of the five team members is…


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…