Theater

3B’s “25th Annual Bee” spells l-a-u-g-h-t-e-r

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Thirteen years after its Broadway debut, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” keeps going without ever aging. The adolescent competitors vying for this bit of success are still amusingly awkward and distracted, and the host’s victory in the third annual spelling bee is still as bright as ever in her memory. So, just as school is ending, 3B Productions brings us back for a spelling bee at the Indoor Maumee Theatre. The show runs Thursday, May 24, through Saturday May 26 at 8 nightly with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, May 27. Visit 3B Productions.org for tickets. As with other musicals centered on competitions – including last week’s moving “Hands on a Hard Body’ staged by Perrysburg Musical Theatre – this show is really about the game of life. And these competitors are just out of life’s starting gate, but not so young as not to have acquired their first scars. Leaf Coneybear (Dylan Coale) is the spacey, lovable home school kid, who backed into his place in the bee. As he sings “I’m not too smart,” yet is able to nail some difficult words thanks to a sock puppet. Marcy Park (Courtney Gilliland) the driven Catholic school girl instead is burdened with her own expectations of prowess in all things – from languages, she speaks six, to sports, she plays several. She’s already placed in the top 10 in the National Bee, and seems to take her return as a given. Chip Tolentino (Quintin Boullion) also went to the finals, though, Marcy doesn’t remember him. She only remembers the top 10. He’s an upstanding kid, just a bit cocky, an Eagle Scout struggling with the emergence of puberty. William Barfee (Matthew Johnston) almost won the bee the previous year but had to withdraw for health reasons. He’s a doughy nerd who relies on his “magic foot” to spell out words, a routine that includes a vocal pop whenever he dots an “i.”…

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Festival of Shorts brings out the best in Horizon Youth Theatre

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Those who want to know what the Horizon Youth Theatre is all about need only make their way to the Otsego Elementary School this weekend. The youth troupe is staging its annual Festival of Shorts Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Everything is the work of the kids, 7-17. They wrote the scripts and act them out, and with one exception students are directing. This is where Horizon’s mission to educate young people in all aspects of theater shines. The goal, said Cassie Greenlee, artistic director of the troupe, is for students to learn “about every step of what’s required to put on theatre.” “What I love about this year is that for the first time every single thing was created by students. That’s really impressive and something that I’m really proud of. It’s more for them to hang their hats on.” The program includes six plays, four written by students and the fifth created collaboratively by youngsters in the Devising Class taught by Keith Guion, who directs. Four of the plays will be staged during each performance. Admission is free, but donations are requested. Scarlet Frishman, a 17-year-old junior from the Toledo School for the Arts, and Terra Sloane, a 15-year-old freshman from Bowling Green High, are among the student directors. This is Frishman’s third time directing. “I wanted to direct in the first place because of the biggest influence in my life outside of my immediate family has been Cassie Greenlee.” They first worked together in 2009, when both were new to the company. “Who I am as a person is completely different because of who she is,” Frishman said, “and I really want to be that influence on another young person’s life because it was extremely valuable for me.” She’s set her sights on studying theatre at Yale University. Sloane has also directed before. “It helps me as an actor,” she said of directing. “I see…


BGSU to stage ‘Threepenny Opera,’ ‘darkly comic story of crime, sex, marriage, corruption and betrayal’

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Bowling Green State University’s Department of Theatre and Film will present Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s landmark musical, “The Threepenny Opera” in the Thomas B. And Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre at the Wolfe Center for the Arts for one weekend only, April 19-22. Written in 1928 and based on John Gay’s “The Beggar’s Opera,” “The Threepenny Opera” tells a darkly comic story of crime, sex, marriage, corruption and betrayal – all revolving around notorious gangster Mack the Knife. When Mack pairs up with Polly Peachum, heir to the city’s largest syndicate of deceitful beggars, his plans for cashing in on the queen’s coronation day go awry. Mack has friends in high places – but will they be able to protect him from his bitter enemies? Known for its influence on later musicals like Kander and Ebb’s “Cabaret,” Brecht and Weill’s biting tale of beggars, whores and thieves is frequently revived for new audiences around the world.  Weill’s celebrated score includes such standards as “Mack the Knife” and “Pirate Jenny.” BGSU Professor Jonathan Chambers directs the production, which features a cast of more than 20 BGSU students. Scenic Designer and Properties Master Kelly Mangan and Costume Designer Margaret McCubbin infuse the production with a punk-and-junk aesthetic, while College of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean Marcus Sherrell brings the action to life with a dynamic lighting design. The cast includes Kris Krotzer as Mack the Knife, Anna Parchem as Polly Peachum, Kelly Dunn and Noah Froelich as her parents, Erica Harmon as Jenny, and Jabri Johnson and Anne Koziara as Tiger Brown and his daughter Lucy. Jillian Fournier serves as stage manager, assisted by Paige Dooley. This performance is funded in part by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music Inc., New York, New York. The production includes strong language, violent and adult situations, and brief nudity. Performances are at 8 p.m. April 19-21 and at 2 p.m. April 21 and 22. Tickets purchased in advance are $5 for students, $10 for…


BGSU Arts Events through April 24

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS April 6 — Academy Award-winning actress Eva Marie Saint will attend a special showing of “The Trip to Bountiful,” the 1953 television production she starred in with Lillian Gish, at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater at BGSU’s Hanna Hall. Gish and Saint reprised their roles on Broadway the following year, earning Saint the Drama Critics Award and the Outer-Circle Critics Award. Following the screening, Saint, a BGSU alumna, will discuss her career and her work with Gish. Free   April 6 — World Percussion Night will feature multiple drumming styles, including performances by the Taiko and Steel Drum ensembles from the College of Musical Arts. Advance tickets are $7 for students and $10 for other adults; tickets the day of the concert are, respectively, $10 and $13. Tickets can also be purchased at bgsu.edu/arts. For more information, call the box office between noon and 6 p.m.weekdays at 419-372-8171. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall, located in the Moore Musical Arts Center. April 11 — The Faculty Artist Series presents Matthew McBride-Daline on the viola. Since his debut in Carnegie Hall, McBride-Daline has performed worldwide as a viola soloist. An avid chamber musician, he has performed at numerous international festivals including the Banff Center for the Arts, Verbier Academy, the Music Academy of the West, the New York String Orchestra Seminar and Sarasota Music Festival. His performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall, located in the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free April 12 — Continuing its focus on exile and migration, the International Film Series presents “Balseros (Rafters)” (2002, Spain, 120 minutes, directed by Carles Bosch and Josep Maria Domenech), with an introduction by Dr. Pedro Porbén from the Department of World Languages and Cultures, Latin American Studies. Filmed in Cuba, Guantanamo Bay and the United States, this transnational film gives insight into the “human adventure of people who are shipwrecked between two worlds.” The award-winning documentary tracks the lives of Cubans who fled Cuba by raft during the…


Bob Hastings: Keep Black Swamp Players afloat, & reconsider water tower theater

My name is Bob Hastings, and if my 76+ stage appearances have made you smile, I’m glad…but this isn’t about me. I’m 86 years old and over-the-theatre-hill. But what I have to say should…and might be of considerable importance to the Bowling Green area…singing, acting and dancing talent, community band, and theatre fans in all of Wood County. The Black Swamp Players announced recently to suspend operations for a lack of persons to produce, direct and particularly build, paint and design the sets…and fulfill back stage duties.. A more recent BSP meeting produced glimmers of hope in rescinding that suspension and announcing at least a partial season of shows for 2018/19. In my 36 years with the Players I have done it all…many times. Act, direct, board member, president, set designer/builder, paint, etc., etc. PLEASE…I am begging the Bowling Green Community to not allow this organization, celebrating their 50th year, to close its doors for even one year. We have produced our shows on as many as 11 local stages including 10 years at the Mall and 13 at the First United Methodist Church. I retired in 2014, my health and stamina no longer allowing me to be active. I’m retired, but it seems to me that the public and current actors and directors owe it to living charter members, Jim and Lee Forse…and hundreds of past actors, directors and workers, to keep the theatre lights burning for another 50 years. So, if there are those reading this letter, able and interested in working on or behind the stage…or those who would be interested in helping to build sets, or those willing to serve on our board to help make critical decisions about our organization…I beg of you to step up now and call our president, Lane Hakel! I do not have Lane’s permission to print his contact information…but you can reach me…by email at bobhastings@woh.rr.com, I’ll see that it gets to Lane and the board. However, if we are…


Black Swamp Players facing its final curtain

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Black Swamp Players have announced to its members that the theater troupe is suspending operations after its production of “On Golden Pond” in April. The play is the last production of its 50th season. It may be the troupe’s last … or maybe not. President Lane Hakel said that his opinion of what the final outcome will be depends on the day. “We’re in a weird position for a non-profit,” Hakel said. “We have enough money to continue, but we don’t have enough people.” It takes people to build and paint sets, handle all the technical details, as well as administrative work to stage four shows a year – a musical and three “straight” plays. The troupe’s musical “The Secret Garden” ended is two weekend run on Sunday. “This used to be a labor of love, now it’s just a labor,” Hakel said. No there just are not enough to do the work needed to stage another season. Casting has not been a problem this season. “Secret Garden” drew a good turnout of newcomers to the Players. Hakel credited it to the popularity of the show, and to the good reputation of director, Cassie Greenlee. The board has been discussing the fate of the troupe “for years, not just months,” Hakel said. Whether this is intermission before a triumphant resolution in the second act or whether this is the final curtain will depend on response to the news of the suspension.  If other newcomers step forward, or former volunteers who’ve taken a hiatus return and bring “positive contributions” with them, then the Players can survive. A final decision will be made next January. The Players will hold its annual banquet, awards ceremony, and election of officers in May. “If we come back, it will be a new community theatre with an injection of cash that just happens to be called the Black Swamp Players,” Hakel said. The current structure of four productions –…


“All Hands on Deck” brings a sense of purpose to its celebration of WWII generation

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Jody Madaras, the song and dance man from Pemberville, created the musical “The All Hands on Deck Show” as a celebration of the World War II generation. The show brings together more than 40 hits from the era, tied together by a plot about a USO troupe. The show has found a home in Branson, Missouri, when it is not touring the country. As the members of that generation pass from the scene though, Madaras said he’s finding fans from an unexpected cohort. “We’re seeing a lot of Vietnam veterans,” he said. “The whole show is about unity. The Vietnam veterans I’ve spoken to and gotten to know have a yearning for unity.” The country was not a unified when they were sent to war, he said. Now they see this show about their parents’ generation as providing a sense of what they miss and long for. “All Hands on Deck” will return to the Valentine Theatre in Toledo Sunday, March 4, for a 2 p.m. matinee. Click here for tickets. https://www.etix.com/ticket/p/7156800/all-hands-on-deck-toledo-valentine-theatre “In six years I’ve personally learned a lot about our country just meeting these people,” said Madaras.  “One of thing I’ve learned that I didn’t know early on is that in 1942 every American had a purpose. Every citizen had a purpose. Every citizen felt like they could contribute to the country. “That could be the key to our future,” he said. It’s something his generation – he just turned 47 – could learn from and emulate. “That idea of every American having a purpose, I don’t think we have that kind of mindset.” That comes through in the songs, he said, especially the Rosie the Riveter. The famous image of the bicep flexing worker flashes on the screen. “These are women with a purpose; that’s powerful.” Madaras hopes the show, which he co-created, “in some small way” reminds people of the need for unity and a sense of “contributing to something…