ALTON - Yes, Alton Little Theater is making plans to proceed with the opening of the 87th Season (subject to continued State Approval), and will produce the outrageous Comedy, UNNECESSARY FARCE for eight performances September 11th through September 20th! ( adding a Wednesday evening performance for every 87th Season Show).
The Theater continues to upgrade the Safety Protocols set forth for Performers and Audiences members and is training more staff on producing a play with masking, social-distancing, ticket-less entry, no exchange of currency, continuous cleaning and much more! 40% of Season Ticket holders have renewed their Tickets for the "Legendary 87th Season" and Season Tickets remain on sale through September 20th for just $78 for six Mainstage shows. Executive Director, Lee Cox, says that many patrons have made donations and expressed that they "want to keep the Theater open" and in turn, " we want to give them a fabulous Season of Entertainment" .
UNNECESSARY FARCE is written by Paul Slade Smith and Directed by Brant McCance. McCance serves as the Technical Director for ALT but also made his directorial debut last Season with AN THEN THERE WERE NONE - and won TMA nominations for Best Direction and Best Drama, which was quite an accomplishment for a debut. A talented group of seven performers wanted to join McCance for a comedy this go-round and include: Megan Kay, Kurtis Leible, Kelly Hougland, Tiffani Bowen, Pat Kulish, Bill Burton and Shea Maples. Maples will soon be joining the Season regulars as a Director and relishes taking on a challenging role of a very Scottish " Highland Hitman"! McCance says when he read the show he was immediately drawn to the audience experience of " two hours of non-stop laughter" as the plot weaves the audience through mix-ups and mayhem that are just so much fun!
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Indeed the prolific playwright is very attached to UNNECESSARY FARCE and writes four pages of meticulous notes for directors about the challenge of doing "double scenes" (in two adjacent motel rooms) and the mandatory timing and precision of doors slamming, exits and entrances and fast-paced lines that "never get missed". "It is an actor's dream of a show and an audience delight", says Artistic Director Kevin Frakes, who also built the very sturdy set with eight framed doors with help from ALT President, Lief Anderson. RENT ONE was so helpful in furnishing identical motel rooms but the biggest expense was the purchase of eight brand new framed doors - fortunately the Theater will also produce another Farce in May 2021 --and "doors" are always a big part of the laughs in a farce, continues Frakes.
The Theater believes that audiences will love the "escapism" of UNNECESSARY FARCE and will find the Showplace a Welcoming and Safe Environment for small audiences attending a play, with safety measures in place! The Production Team at ALT used time-off in March and April to totally re-organize the Theater's Physical facilities and to come up with a plan to launch Six Mainstage productions and nine Extra, EXTRA Entertainment Shows and Concerts AFTER concluding a successful 10-performance run of BRIGADOON in July. Lee Cox adds, "We learned even more this Summer about ingenuity in keeping our actors, our staff and audiences protected and we will continue to rebuild our usual sell-out crowds --but probably not for a year or two." Cox says. She has spent many hours reflecting on the early years of the Theater and Dorothy Colonius' challenges in presenting just three plays a year in rented space. Dorothy lost $300 and covered the cost of the first show herself - and yet she kept going because she believed in something valuable for her community and she worked tirelessly and enrolled the best people to give of their time and talent. During these tough and scary times, Cox and Frakes who jointly manage the Theater "Business" are so thankful that they had years working with tremendous talents like Colonius and Cliff Davenport, and they vow to keep Dorothy's Dream alive and anchor the Performing Arts for the Region.
Tickets and information can be found through the Box Office (618) 462-3205 or through the Website: http://www.altonlittletheater.org.
Production Photos and Interviews can be arranged through the Director: Brant McCance (618) 406-5641
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