Theater

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…


BGSU arts events through April 28

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS April 13 – The International Film Series continues with the Swedish film “Force Majeure,” directed by Ruben Östlund. An award winner at the Cannes Film Festival, the Toronto Film Festival, and other internationally recognized venues, the film deftly explores the emotional dimensions of the legal term “force majeure,” an unexpected event (such as a hurricane) that releases both parties from the obligations of a contract. In this story, the ski vacation of a seemingly ideal family takes a sudden turn when an avalanche approaches them as they are having a pleasant lunch at the lodge. The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater located in Hanna Hall. Free April 13 – Prout Readings conclude with B.F.A. student readings at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free April 13 – Bowling Green Opera Theater presents a variety of opera scenes. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free April 14 – The University Choral Society and Early Music Ensemble present Bach’s “St. John Passion.” The moving and sacred oratorio of Johann Sebastian Bach is a dramatic representation of the Passion as told in the Gospel of John for the Good Friday Vespers of 1724. Revel in the extravagant, expressive music of the season. The performance will begin at 7 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, East Wooster St., Bowling Green. Free April 14 – The Toledo Museum of Art and BGSU’s College of Musical Arts present EAR | EYE Listening and Looking: Contemporary Music and Art. The performance and discussion…


BGSU arts events through April 18

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS April 7 – The Collegiate Chorale and University Women’s Chorus will perform at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Advance tickets are $3 for students and children and $7 for adults. All tickets are $10 the day of the performance. Tickets can be purchased at the box office in the Wolfe Center, by phone at 419-372-8171, or online at http://www.bgsu.edu/the-arts/. April 7 – The elsewhere theater season concludes with “Dying City,” written by Christopher Shin and directed by Tanner Lias. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre located in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Additional performances will be at 8 p.m. on April 8 and 9. Free April 8 – The Dr. Marjorie Conrad Art Song Competition will take place in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Preliminaries will begin at noon, with finals following at 8 p.m. Free April 8 – An opening reception for the MFA I Thesis Exhibition will begin at 7 p.m. in the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman Galleries in the Fine Arts Center. Free Through April 18 – The MFA I Thesis Exhibition will be on display in the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman Galleries in the Fine Arts Center. Gallery hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free April 9 – The Sunday Matinee Series continues with the 1925 film “The Lost World,” directed by Harry G. Hoyt. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was not only the creator of Sherlock…


Tickets on sale for BG High’s production of “Shrek”

From BGHS THEATRE The musical “Shrek”  is based on the beloved Dreamwork’s cartoon about an ogre, named Shrek, who along with several other fairy-tale creatures who are forced off their land by the evil Lord Farquaad.k the Musical” The show will be on stage at the Bowling Green Performing Arts Center, April 20-22  at 7 p.m. and April 23 at 3 p.m. Tickets are available at showtix4u.com until April 14. Then tickets can be purchased at the PAC box office April 17-19th from 3-6 pm. In an attempt to regain his land, Shrek decides to take Lord Farquaad’s challenge to rescue the “fair Princess Fiona” from a tower that happens to be guarded by a dragon. Shrek, with his “trusty steed” Donkey, and Fiona make the journey towards Lord Farquaad’s kingdom. Along the way, Shrek and Fiona discover that they are now friends who are also in love. The play teaches us to love our true natures which sometimes include “our warts and all.” Shrek is played by junior, Justin McKenzie. Fiona is played by junior Elaine Hudson. Donkey is played by senior Josh Coleman with the voice of “the dragon” sung by Olivia Strang. Lord Farquaad is performed by senior Micah McKanna. The cast includes  Rachel Amburgey, Stephanie Bell, Alex Bellavia, Sophia Bird, Hannah Bowlus, Abraham Brockway, Ethan Brown, Natalie Carty, Alyssa Clemens, Megan Clifford, Brian Condon, Nova Cullison, Kaitlyn Dorman, Fran Flores, Saralynn George, Sophi Hachtel, Devon Jackson, Moe Kellow, Sarah Kelly, Sarah Kerr, Darin Kirchner, Hailey Kirchner, Luke Kobylski, Dea Kukeli, Thomas Long, Jadyn Lundquest, Julie Maas, Michael Martin, Jessica Miller, Darryl Moorehead, Sophia Nelson, Naila Ortega, Hudson Pendleton, Mr….


BGSU Arts Events through April 12

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS March 31 – Jazz Week continues with a trombone performance from Jazz Lab Band I with Grammy-nominated guest artist Alan Ferber. The recital will begin at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased at the box office in the Wolfe Center, by phone at 419-372-8171, or online at www.bgsu.edu/the-arts/. Advance tickets are $3 for students and children and $7 for adults. All tickets are $10 the day of the performance. April 1 – Bravo! BGSU celebrates the very best of the arts. Experience a magical evening of vocal, instrumental and theatrical performances, plus exhibitions and demonstrations by student and faculty artists in glass, ceramics, metals and digital arts. Enjoy a festive atmosphere and an array of appetizers and tasty treats. The celebration will begin at 7 p.m. in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. To purchase tickets to the event, contact Lisa Mattiace in the President’s Office at 419-372-6780 or by email at lmattia@bgsu.edu April 1 – Students from BGSU’s College of Musical Arts will be featured in an afternoon chamber music concert at 1 p.m. at the Way Public Library, 101 E. Indiana Ave., Perrysburg. Hosted by Pro Musica, friends of music at the college, the program will feature students who have received travel grants from the organization. The concert is free and open to the public. April 2 – The Gish Sunday Matinee series kicks off with the 1945 film “And Then There Were None,” directed by René Clair. Agatha Christie’s celebrated who-done-it “Ten Little Indians,” under the deft guidance of French director…


Horizon Youth Theatre presents 2017 Festival of Shorts

Submitted by Horizon Youth Theatre Horizon Youth Theatre is pleased to announce its 2017 Festival of Shorts. Three different shows will consist of one act plays written and acted by students; monologues by students from Cassie Greenlee’s Character Acting & Monologue workshop; and the emcee talents of Scarlet Frishman and Katie Partlow. Performances are at Otsego Elementary School, 18505 Tontogany Creek Road, on Friday March 31 and Saturday April 1 at 7:00 pm; and Sunday April 2 at 2:00 pm. Admission is by donation. The plays, with their performance days and cast lists, are as follows: Featherwary by The 2017 Devising Class, directed by Keith Guion Performing Friday and Sunday Cast: Firecloud, an elf-dragon thief – Alexandra Roberts-Zibbel Lainey, a mushroom fairy – Paige Suelzer Penny, a bewildered sudden visitor – Katie Partlow Tim Brown II, a squatter and housekeeper – Eli Marx Vanessa West, a spoiled, rich brat – Emma Kate Holbrook Dr. Cecilia Goldberg, a medical prodigy – Grace Holbrook Greenhouse by Bindi Hoskay, directed by Terra Sloane with mentor Brittany Albrecht Performing Friday and Saturday Cast: Gardener – Ethan Headley Daisy – Isobel Roberts-Zibbel Sunflower – Scarlett Strausbaugh Rose – Calista Wilkins Primrose – Alice Walters Shopper 1 – Noah Carpenter Shopper 2 – Lydia Korzeniewski Shopper 3 – Elise Allen Gwen – Izzy Douglass Home? by Alexandra Roberts-Zibbel & Rose Walters, directed by Alli Kulbago Performing Friday and Saturday Cast: Mom – Sasha Meade Karsyn – Lydia Mackiewicz Cassidy – Lauren Clifford Penny – Bindi Hoskay Peyton – Gray Frishman The Secret Alliance for Lonely Kids by Terra Sloane, directed by Kelly Frailly Performing Friday and…


BGSU arts events through April 4

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS   Through March 31 – The BFA Senior Thesis Exhibition will be on display in the Bryan and Wankelman Galleries, located in the Fine Arts Center. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays and 1-4 p.m.Sundays. Free March 24 – Bowling Green Opera Theater features Kurt Weill’s “Street Scene.” The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in the Donnell Theatre located in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Advance tickets are $5 for students and children and $15 for adults. All tickets are $20 the day of the performance. Tickets can be purchased at the box office in the Wolfe Center, by calling 419-372-8171 or online at www.bgsu.edu/the-arts/. An additional performance will be at 3 p.m. on March 26. March 24 – EAR | EYE Listening and Looking: Contemporary Music and Art explores the relationship of contemporary music and art through music performances in response to specific works of art and discussion. It is a partnership between the doctoral program at BGSU’s College of Musical Arts and the Toledo Museum of Art. The event begins at 7 p.m. at the Toledo Museum of Art, 2445 Monroe St. Free March 28 – Tuesdays at the Gish continues with the 1991 film “Thelma and Louise,” directed by Ridley Scott. Based on the award-winning screenplay by Callie Khouri, the film draws us into the remarkable but troubling adventures of Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon) that arise from their desire to take a few days off from their oppressive lives as women in domestic/economic relationships. Their misadventures lead…


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.