Theater

Horizon Youth Theatre marks 20th year with gala

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The seed for Horizon Youth theatre was planted in the dead of winter. One February night in 1997, Scott Regan, a Bowling Green State University professor of theatre and director of its Treehouse Troupe, gathered more than a dozen people involved in the arts to discuss a dream: the creation of a theater troupe for young people. The attendees didn’t need to be convinced of the value of theater for kids. The only question is whether such a troupe could take root in Bowling Green. Now more than 20 years later, Horizon Youth Theatre is blossoming. Approximately 1000 people attended the four performances of its recent musical “Cinderella.” Throughout the year it offers workshops for kids of all ages. Horizon Youth theatre will celebrate its 20th anniversary Saturday, July 15, 6-9 p.m. in the Simpson Building Banquet room. Tickets are $15. Visit http://horizonyouththeatre.org/2017/05/20-anniversary-gala/. The gala opens with a red carpet extravaganza with heavy hors d’oeuvres and music by the GRUBS. A program will follow at 7 featuring five short performances interspersed by testimonials by three alumni: Genevieve Simon, an actress now in New York; Grace Easterly; and Brittany Albrecht. (Simon will also present a workshop on Shakespeare and autism earlier in the day from 2 to 3:30p.m. at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church for actors 8-18. Cost $10.) The troupe will also honor its founders Scott Regan and Jo Beth Gonzales, the high school drama teacher. Regan said that the idea for the troupe came after a BGSU production of “A Christmas Carol,” which he had directed. The production used a lot of children, and…


Horizon Youth Theatre celebrating its 20th anniversary, July 15

From HORIZON YOUTH THEATRE Horizon Youth Theatre will celebrate at its 20th Anniversary Gala, Saturday, July 15,  6-9 p.m. at the Simpson Building Banquet Room 1291 Conneaut Ave., Bowling Green. Join past and present members of Horizon Youth Theatre as they celebrate the troupe’s 20th anniversary. The evening will include performances, food, door prizes, and special guests. Tickets are available online now at horizonyouththeatre.org. Purchase tickets before Saturday July 1 at only $10 apiece. Starting July 1, ticket prices increase to $15 per person. Only 180 are available and this event is expected to sell out. Schedule of events: 6 p.m. Red Carpet Extravaganza (Heavy hors d’ouevres will be served) 7 p.m. Entertainment and Awards 8 p.m. Post-Party (Dessert reception) Door prizes include 2017-2018 HYT season tickets and many other theater-related gifts. For information and tickets: http://horizonyouththeatre.org/2017/05/20-anniversary-gala/


Dream comes true in Horizon Youth Theatre’s “Cinderella”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Sky Frishman is an old hand at playing Cinderella. The 2017 graduate of the Toledo School for the Arts first played Cinderella when was 9 in the Horizon Youth Theatre’s “Cinderella, the World’s Favorite Fairy Tale.” “In My Own Little Corner” from the score of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” has even been her go-to song for showcases and auditions. Now Frishman gets to put that favorite tune in context as the lead in Horizon Youth Theatre’s production of “Cinderella.” The musical runs June 22, 23, and 24 at 7 p.m. at Otsego High School. “Cinderella has always been one of my dream roles,” she said. Director Cassie Greenlee said the familiarity of the story is part of the attraction. Everyone knows the tale. That allows room for interpretation. The tale has lessons to teach. The story is about choice, she said, about how people choose to act toward others, talk to others, “and what happens when the choice is taken away from them.” The show’s featured bullies are the stepmother and two stepsisters. As the stepmother, Narnia Rieske is comically haughty. But the script explains that she’s anxious to marry off one of her daughters to the prince because they are running through the money left by Cinderella’s father. Not that the stepsisters (Terra Sloane and Melissa Mintz) are concerned. They are too self-involved, two brats who are always bickering with each other when not joining forces to bully Cinderella. The pair do a great job on one of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s funniest songs “Stepsisters’ Lament,” a deliciously comic number. Thomas Long’s prince also gets fleshed…


Tickets available now for HYT’s “Cinderella”

Submitted by HORIZON YOUTH THEATRE Horizon Youth Theatre, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is proud to present Rodgers & Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA June 22, 23, and 24th at 7:00 pm at Otsego High School. The timeless enchantment of a magical fairy tale is reborn with the Rodgers & Hammerstein hallmarks of originality, charm and elegance. Originally presented on television in 1957 starring Julie Andrews, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA was the most widely viewed program in the history of the medium. It was recreated in 1965 starring Lesley Ann Warren, and again in 1997 with Brandy as Cinderella and Whitney Houston as her Fairy Godmother; both were no less successful in transporting a new generation to the miraculous kingdom of dreams-come-true. As adapted for the stage, with great warmth and more than a touch of hilarity, the hearts of children and adults alike still soar when the slipper fits. This Enchanted Edition is based on the 1997 teleplay. Songs include “The Prince Is Giving A Ball,” “My Little Corner,” and “Impossible.” Directed by Cassie Greenlee, the musical features 55 students age 8 – 18 from many area schools including Bowling Green. The rest of the production team: Brittany Albrecht, stage manager; Tim Barker, choreographer; Kelly Frailly, music director; Christina Hoekstra, costuming; and Scarlet Frishman, assistant director. Stars are Skylar Frishman in the title role and Thomas Long as Prince Christopher; Olivia Strang and Narnia Rieske play Fairy Godmother and Stepmother. Other cast: Stepsisters are Terra Sloane and Melissa Mintz; King and Queen are Alex Evans and Anne Weaver; Lionel and Leo (Royal Stewards) are Bob Walters and Bella Truman. Understudies for the…


Art in the air at Simpson Garden

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Simpson Gardens Friday evening was lush with hosta greens, delphinium and coreopsis complemented by artists scattered about the grounds intent on capturing the images of plants, rocks and water. Along with the sounds of birds, mixed the trill of a Chinese bamboo flute, the rumble of a tuba, and young actors singing a show tune. The occasional plop of a drop of rain provided an accent to the thrum of hand drums. The third annual Art in the Park drew more visitors, as well as more artists, said Jacquie Nathan, of the Bowling Green Arts Council, which sponsors the event, hosted by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. Artists took time from creating their art to chat with visitors. Landscape artist Barbara Houdeshell has been painting outside, or plein air, for 17 years. It’s a natural for her. “I like painting, and I like people.” Christie Moser, of Bowling Green, had stopped to chat with the painter. Moser moved to town about a year ago, and when she heard about Art in the Park, she knew she wanted to go. “I can really relate to this,” she said. “I’ve been a musician myself all my life,” Moser said. She plays flute and sings.  “I know the passion that swells within the soul that has to be expressed.” Houdeshell’s passion was emerging before her as she looked over a small pond. This is a study that she will bring back to her studio and may turn into a much larger oil painting. She grew up in Wood County, she said, but this is the first…


Simpson Garden hosts open air arts celebration

From BOWLING GREEN ARTS COUNCIL The Bowling Green Arts Council and Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department will host Art in the Park on the grounds of Simpson Garden Park, 1291 Conneaut Avenue, on Friday, June 9, from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Festive fun in a beautiful garden setting with live music, dance, and theatrical performances, artists painting on easels, interactive art activities for children and light refreshments. FREE and open to the public. As they stroll through beautiful Simpson Garden Park, attendees will have an opportunity to view and vote for their favorite artist at work. They will also enjoy local musicians, music by students of the BGSU College of Musical Arts and performances at the Amphitheater by Julie’s Dance Studio, the Black Swamp Players, and Horizon Youth Theatre. Julie’s Dance Studio will kick off the performances at the Amphitheater at 4:45 with a presentation of a mix of difference dance styles from ballet to musical theatre. The Black Swamp Players will present an excerpt from “Dixie Swim Club” by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten at 5:30 and at 6:30 in the Amphitheater. Horizon Youth Theatre will present two excerpts from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” at 6:15 and at 7:00. Strolling and stationary musicians throughout the grounds will include the Root Cellar String Band featuring Lucy Long, Dave Strickler, Steve O’Regan, and Tom Goodwin; Toraigh an Sonas featuring Mary Dennis, Kathy Moss, Bill Lake, and Bob Midden; the Grande Royale Ükulelists of the Black Swamp, a.k.a. GRÜBS, with Sheri Wells-Jensen, Jason Wells-Jensen, Anne Kidder and Geoff Howes; Fire Breathing Sloths From Mars featuring Henrique Battista, Hong-Da Chin, and Aaron…


Pemberville teen Isaac Douglass headed to Sumatra to commune with orangutans

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The fantastic worlds of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and others fictional heroes weren’t enough for the Isaac Douglass. “I used to read a lot of fantasy books,” Douglass, 14, said. “I enjoyed having little adventures, and I wanted it to happen in real life.” Two years ago the Pemberville teen returned from a Winter Jam concert with a brochure and an idea. He wanted to take a 30-day trip to Australia. His parents, Shawn and Maria Douglass, weren’t ready for that, but as people who traveled themselves when they were young, they wanted their son to have the same opportunity. “We want him to see the world as much bigger than the microcosm of Wood County,” his father said. They found a shorter trip. So at 12 he ventured to Costa Rica where he helped build a road to a farm and painted the house the farmers lived in, and swam and hiked. That’s what he did at 12, now at 14, Isaac is ready to venture further, to Sumatra and Bali. Like the trip to Costa Rica, this trip, offered by ARCC Programs, is both a service trip and a recreational venture. The largest part of the 18-day trip will be working to restore orangutan habitat in Sumatra. The orangutan is the most endangered primate in the world, Shawn Douglass said. Afterward the teens will venture to Bali for some surfing. Isaac will be leaving in late June. Originally the family had looked at the trip, but decided it was financially prohibitive. Then the price was cut because they needed more teenage boys….


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…


BGSU’s “Twelfth Night” has Shakespeare doing Jazz Age shimmy

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News As the matches are made in “The Twelfth Night” the characters gather on stage for a Charleston inspired dance number to that 1920s hit “Masculine Women! Feminine Men!” I could well imagine that peppy song with its refrain “which is the rooster which is the hen” inspiring the BGSU Department of Theatre and Film’s production of the Shakespeare comedy. The confusion of gender lies at the heart of the comedy. Director Jonathan Chambers has set the play in the days of the flappers, 1929 in particular. He injects period touches such as mentions of accordions, Jack Dempsey and the shimmy, as well as having people playing golf, into the script. The sound design is packed with period hits that reflect on the action. In his notes he explains that just as in 1929 the world was poised on the brink of a new era, when Shakespeare wrote the play England was pondering what would come after the reign of Queen Elizabeth. In both cases there was much frivolity with an undertow of apprehension. This “Twelfth Night,” though, does not linger on the darker shades. It just wants to have fun and keep the audience laughing, and succeeds in grand fashion. The play opens Thursday (April 20) at 8 p.m. in the Donnell Theatre in the Wolfe Center for the Arts on the Bowling Green State University campus. It continues with shows Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. with matinees Saturday and Sunday. Advance tickets are $15 and $5 for students and children. Available at the Wolfe Center box office or by calling 419-372-8171, or…


Crim Elementary stages musical to make learning fun

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The backstage was buzzing with nervous actors. The frog and toad were preparing for their big scenes. The snail was brushing up on her slow motion moves. The squirrels were getting ready to make a mess. And the understudies were standing by. In front of the stage, on the gymnasium floor, the eager audience sat with their legs criss-cross applesauce style. When the curtains opened, an excited “ooooooooohhhhh” filled the gym. That’s just the reaction second grade teacher Stacey Higgins was hoping for with the debut of the first musical Thursday at Crim Elementary School. A dress rehearsal was performed in the morning for fellow students, with the big show to occur in the afternoon for parents and other fans. The musical, “A Year with Frog and Toad Jr.” featured all the second grade students – an ambitious endeavor with such young students. “It ties in with our curriculum on the seasons,” Higgins was quick to say. But she added that the performance was also something more. “They need these types of experiences,” she said. “Too much time is spent testing and preparing for tests. We need to get back to making school meaningful and enjoyable for kids.” The musical got the kids singing, dancing, acting, reading narration and designing the colorful set. That is all learning, Higgins stressed. “We want them to have experiences other than just taking tests.” As the audience filed into the gym, and the second graders fidgeted back stage, Higgins admitted to being a little nervous herself. “It’s a good nervous,” she said. “This if the first…