Theater

Tickets Available for HYT’s “Magic Harmonica”

Submitted by HORIZON YOUTH THEATRE Horizon Youth Theatre is pleased to present their third annual fall production for younger actors aged 6 – 12, The Magic Harmonica and Other Fanciful Tales. Directed by Keith Guion and featuring thirty children from many area schools, Magic Harmonica will be performed at Otsego High School (18505 Tontogany Creek Road) on Thursday, October 12 and Saturday, October 14 at 7:00 pm; and Sunday, October 15 at 2:00 pm. Tickets can be purchased online now at www.horizonyouththeatre.org/product/harmonica for just $5.00. The Magic Harmonica and Other Fanciful Tales by Janet Layberry is a collection of four enchanting plays sparkling with charm, wit, imagination, and a quirky sense of humor. In You Call That a Bedmonster?, Princess Julia discovers that Humphrey, the monster under her bed, is missing, and sends her guard out to find him. The Magic Harmonica brings a bit of excitement and adventure into an otherwise dull kingdom. But Hoo Is It For? takes us through an enchanted forest where nothing is what it appears to be, and the party which is rumored to be happening is hard to find. The Woobly Fiasco is a play within a play about a Stage Manager having trouble with her actors, who are supposed to be narrating a play about Wooblies, mysterious creatures who have become the caretakers of the animals with whom they share a crowded forest.   The cast members all play at least two roles within the four mini-plays and are as follows: Simon Baney, Lauren Carmen, Arianna Chung, Greta Chung, Emily Coan, Brianna Dunham, Reece Hall,…


Black Swamp Players’ “Baskerville” is more about laughs than logic

  By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Ken Ludwig’s “Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery” gives the whodunit a whole new twist. Figuring out the mystery take a back seat to figuring out what actor will appear where and as what character speaking in what accent. The cast’s coming and goings, all facilitated by a revolving stage whips up the kind of manic comedy that makes Ludwig’s plays so beloved of community theater troupes, including the Black Swamp Players. “Baskerville” opens the Players’ 50th season this weekend. Shows are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. and Sept. 29 and 30 at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 1526 E. Wooster St., Bowling Green. Tickets are $12 and $10 at http://www.blackswampplayers.org or at the door. That the Players should open their 50th season with this comic take on a classic Sherlock Holmes tale is entirely fitting since Ludwig comedies and a variety of mysteries have been a staple of their seasons. They come together in “Baskerville.” The play, directed by Kistin Forman, takes the classic tale and surrounds Holmes (Eric Simpson) and his friend Dr. Watson (Lane Hakel) with a cast of  40 zany characters all played by three actors—Christina Hoekstra, Jordan Jarvis, Ben Forman, who also gets credit for the clever set design. Here the sleuth’s cogitation over the clues is  upstaged by their antics. They bounce from one character to another, sometimes in the same scene. Forman, at one point, keeps having to switch hats, literally, to play…


Horizon Youth Theatre’s ‘Kindergarten’ packed with lessons & laughter

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Horizon Youth Theatre’s “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” opens with a story about a kindergarten production of Cinderella. That’s interesting given just last spring many of these same young actors were performing “Cinderella.” That Rodgers and Hammerstein “Cinderella,” however, did not have a pig. Productions of the classic fairy tale usually don’t have pigs. But in this Robert Fulghum story, a pig is just what the thoughtful young Norman (Bella Truman) wants to play. When told there’s no pig in Cinderella, the youngster replies: “There is now!” And the fairy godmother in this tale, the kindergarten teacher, makes sure Norman’s dream comes true. From this kindergarten scene through a lecture by a Greek philosopher (Daniel Cagle) who’s not afraid to answer a question about the meaning of life, Fulghum’s play offers life lessons and uplift leavened by lots of laughter. Horizon Youth Theatre is staging the play opening tonight (Thursday, Sept. 14) at 7 p.m., continuing Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets, $5, will be sold at the door. Seating is limited. The show is being presented with the audience in the round on the stage. That puts the audience in the middle of the action as the young actors hustle making entrances and exits and wrestling oversized alphabet blocks onstage. There’s no place for the young thespians to hide with eyes all around and large mirrors on the back wall reflecting the action. Director Cassie Greenlee said she’s a fan of the show. She…


Tickets for HYT’s “Kindergarten” now available

Submitted by HORIZON YOUTH THEATRE Horizon Youth Theatre is pleased to announce its 2017 fall production, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, written by Robert Fulghum and directed by Cassie Greenlee. Performances are at Otsego High School, 18505 Tontogany Creek Road, on Thursday, September 14 at 7:00 pm; Saturday, September 16 at 7:00 pm; and Sunday, September 17 at 2:00 pm. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten brings life to several of Robert Fulghum’s wonderfully told stories from his collected writings. Composed of around twenty short, inter-connected scenes, the play explores important life lessons learned at every age, through stories that are funny, engaging, impactful, and thought-provoking. From a kindergarten class’s highly unusual production of Cinderella, to an over-the-top wedding gone horribly wrong, to a young girl going up against her father in the ultimate familial showdown, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten will keep you laughing and keep you thinking. HYT’s production is staged in the round, a style of performance that places the audience on all sides of the actors, creating an intimate atmosphere that invites the audience to more actively experience the power of these stories and lessons.  Due to the unique in the round seating which is directly on the stage, tickets are limited for each show and it is highly recommended that they purchased in advance at this link: www.horizonyouththeatre.org.  From Thursday (9/14) on, if tickets are not sold out they can be purchased at the door. Tickets are still just $5.00. Raffle prizes, tumblers, and t-shirts will…


North Korean troupe lifts curtain on harsh life under Kim Il-sung’s regime

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The scene acted out by eight defectors from North Korea left some, including the director, wiping tears from their eyes. A younger brother knelt by his dead sister pleading for her not to leave him alone. Over and over, he cried out, until another character came and led him off. Maybe they would cross the Tumen River into China, and maybe from China finally reach South Korea. As emotionally wrenching as the 20-minute drama was, the reality is worse, said Taejoon Choi, one of the actors. The audience saw “just a glimpse” of a situation “more serious and severe.” The cast members are not professional actors. They are victims of the North Korean regime who have made that journey to refugee camps in China, where further hardship and abuse awaits them, and finally to South Korea. This was not fiction. This was their lives, and continues to be the reality for those who remain in North Korea. The mission of the troupe from NAUH International is to expose the harsh realities under which people live in North Korea. As part of that mission the troupe visited Bowling Green State University Wednesday night to present “Kotjebi: We Are Happy.” The play takes place in the market, Jangmadang, where the casual brutality of life under despot Kim Il-sung plays out. A mother played by Gunjn Ju, sells homemade tofu to feed her two children. She is joined by a schoolboy played by Taejoon Choi. His father has died because of the famine, now his mother is…


Black Swamp Players launch fundraising drive for a new home as part of golden anniversary celebration

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Black Swamp Players celebrated 50 years of drama and comedy Saturday night at the Clazel. That’s 232 plays, noted Lane Hakel, the troupe’s president. Those plays were staged in 28 different venues. After an admittedly unscientific poll at the Ohio Community Theatre Association conference, Hakel confirmed, for himself at least, his assumption that having a community theater company survive that long without its own home is rare. As much pride as the Players may take in beating the odds – “it’s a testament to our fortitude” – they want that to change. Hakel announced that in honor of its 50th anniversary the troupe is launching a campaign to raise $50,000 – $1,000 for each year the troupe has been entertaining the public. That would be the start of the fund that would be intended to either acquire the troupe its own house, the dream outcome, Hakel said, or rent a space more suitable to their needs. Since 2000, the troupe has been more or less in residence at the church hall at the First United Methodist Church. Hakel said the Players owe a depth of gratitude to the church for letting them use its space. But the room has limitations. It’s not a great place to act because of the acoustics, and there’s no infrastructure for sets and staging. Also because the shows are presented in the church there are contraints to what kind of material can be presented. Anything with “adult language” either can’t be done or must be “sanitized” as was…


Stars align at BGSU as College of Music welcomes famed guest artists

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts has some special acts in the wings. Lindsay Gross, the college’s manager of public-community relations, can’t help but show her own enthusiasm for what’s in store for the coming academic year – five internationally acclaimed artists who will share their gifts with the community. And all the events related to these residencies are open to public for free. Why wouldn’t Gross be excited? She’s a jazz bass trombonist, and the first guest in September is the American Brass Quintet, a pioneering ensemble that uses bass trombone, not tuba, as its lowest voice. And closing run of guest artists during Jazz Week in late March will be Maria Schneider, the most esteemed living composer for large jazz ensemble. Schneider has won Grammys not only for her jazz work but also for her arrangement on David Bowie’s song “Sue.” And for her collaboration with soprano Dawn Upshaw, who will visit BGSU a week before she arrives. Visits scheduled are: American Brass Quintet, residency Sept.20-22, with a concert Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. Jazz guitarist John Scofield, Sept. 30, a master class and concert at 8 p.m. as part of the two-day Orchard Guitar Festival that starts Sept.29. Opera composer Jake Heggie, keynote lecture at 8 p.m. on Oct. 22 and residency Oct. 23-24, as part of the Edwin H. Simmons Creative Mind Series. Vocal superstar Dawn Upshaw, recital March 18 at 8 p.m. and residency March 19-20, as the Helen McMaster Professorship in Vocal and Choral Arts….


Lionface back on the scene with set of Shakespeare shorts

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Local theater lovers have not gotten their annual serving of open-air Shakespeare this summer. Beautiful Kids, the 20-year-old campus-based troupe, is on, what we hope, is a one-year hiatus. Lionface Productions has also been quiet. Now that community troupe is ready to roar, though they are going to do so indoors at Trinity United Methodist instead of on the Needle Park stage. (As much as I love outdoor Shakespeare, given the number of mosquitos I had to dodge on the short walk from my car to the church, this may be a blessing.) Lionface is staging “Party Bard: A Lionface Productions Shakespeare Shorts Festival” Thursday, July 27, Friday, July 28, and Saturday, July 29, at 8 p.m. at the church at 200 N. Summit St., Bowling Green. Tickets are $7 and $5 for students. In introducing the dress rehearsal Wednesday, Ryan Halfhill said the show was a way for the troupe to signal a return to the basics, Shakespeare and other classic plays. The four scenes presented within the hour-long show cover a gamut of the Bard’s work with two scenes from tragedies, one scene from a comedy, and one scene from a history play. All involve drinking or eating. The party starts with Halfhill playing the porter from “Macbeth.” After a long night of drinking, the porter takes his sweet time answering the door at Macbeth’s castle, imagining himself the gatekeeper of hell – quite appropriate given the murder that’s just occurred – and wonders what manner of sinner may be banging to…


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,”…


BG native Genevieve Simon returns for HYT 20th anniversary

SUBMITTED BY HORIZON YOUTH THEATRE When HYT’s board of directors decided to ask a theatre professional alum to speak at the 20th Anniversary Gala and teach a master class, they ran into some brick walls. Sometimes, things work out exactly the way they are supposed to. Genevieve Simon, New York-based professional actor and playwright, and daughter of Wood County children’s librarian Maria Simon, turned out to be more than up to the task. This afternoon, she seemed almost giddy as she prepared to workshop with eleven students at the drama club master class held at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. “It’s so amazing, being back here where it all began for me,” she said. Simon is involved in many projects, including leading workshops for kids on the autism spectrum using Shakespeare. The therapy, developed by a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, uses drama games and play; she also hosts other workshops in New York. Simon’s latest project was “Romeo + Juliet + Anybodys” which she authored, and was performed at the Cinci Fringe Festival in June. In his coverage of that event, David Dupont wrote of how much Simon was influenced by HYT. “She credits the troupe’s founder Scott Regan and Gonzalez, who was involved with HYT, with empowering the young actors. ‘It was so important to us having authority and some sort of control over the stories we were telling,’ Simon said. ‘Scott was so good about taking our ideas very seriously.’” Simon appeared to be passing those same techniques on to a new generation of actors today in…


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…


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,”…


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…


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…