ALTON - Alton Little Theater will launch a NEW Season of Productions and Extra Entertainment Concerts, beginning with the Canadian Play, GLORIA'S GUY, which opens on September 10th for eight performances through September 20th. The GREAT 88th presentation of plays showcased through May of 2022 -- and Season Tickets are still on sale for just $80 for all seven shows.
Even during the height of COVID when Theaters across the country shuttered their doors, ALT Directors and Artistic Director, Kevin Frakes read nearly 100 recently written plays, looking for a combination of charm and inspiration to give returning audiences both delight and entertainment!
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ALT's Executive Director, Lee Cox, upped her networking efforts in 2020 and reached out to Playwrights and to Theaters across the country and continent -- as other national theaters reached out to ALT for education and inspiration, asking the question "HOW did you do 4 Productions and 3 Concert during 2020?" The answer, ALT was "lucky" and " determined!" says Cox. When infection rates were under 5%, the actors and even musicians were ready to go, after weeks of rehearsing in double masks and in small groups of 7 or fewer players at a time.
Frakes and Cox said, "We played to some very small houses of masked, socially-distanced patrons -- but we performed and met protocols for testing, vaccination, and daily sanitation efforts." ALT was officially on hiatus for 40 days in the Spring of 2020 and another 90 days at the end of the year --but the State allowed "essential" personnel to keep working -- and Frakes, Cox, ALT President Lief Anderson, and Lee's husband Michael never stopped working -- except in November 2020 when Kevin Frakes contracted COVID while caring for his wife. Even that very scary three weeks, only made the production team more determined to survive both economically and creatively - for the performers and for the Community that was also suffering emotionally and financially.
Lee Cox took on networking with a determination to support LIVE Theater in every way possible; ALT increased its interactions with the American Association of Community Theaters (AACT) and with Playwrighting Guilds across North America. Thus, the increasing Team of ALT Season Directors (now 6) began to have regular communications about well-received scripts -- and a Season was chosen that presents seven different but wonderful aspects of love, inspiration, family values, charitable communities, resilience, the value of friendship, and plenty of humor of all kinds.
GLORIA'S GUY Playwright, Joan Burrows, and Lee Cox have become "email buddies" as Joan waits patiently to see if she will be allowed to travel to the St. Louis area for Opening Night.
GLORIA'S GUY became a round-robin of casting and direction for a few weeks this past July -- and the tenacity and conviction that Shea Maples and Brant McCance modeled demonstrated that the "show must go on." Shea stepped into a role, Brant took over Directing, and then Lee Cox stepped into the role of the older (and wiser) English/ Drama teacher when another talented actress had to drop out with scheduling conflicts. Indeed, the production which includes, Shea Maples, Lee Cox, Megan Kolosieke, Emily Schneider, Mary Crank, and Melissa Mulrean only has 22 rigorous rehearsals, since ALT's 87th Season ends on August 29th - and the new Season opens on September 10th.
Fortunately, the entire cast has embraced their characters and the script and adores rehearsing together in the Dorothy Colonius Foyer, while they await the Turnover Construction Night on Sunday, August 29th when dedicated ALT Board members will help Kevin Frakes convert a Manhattan Penthouse into a Canadian Boathouse. GLORIA'S GUY will then have ten days to perfect their acting ensemble and their lovely story about love and redemption.
The cast members have spent time talking about their class reunions and the tendency to look back and say, "what if?" Cox says that she will attend her own 50th High School reunion a few days after the play closes, with a renewed commitment to "live every day to the fullest, and ALWAYS risk saying I Love You!"
McCance, Frakes, and Cox have trio-loved the production of GLORIA'S GUY and believe it is the perfect Season opener that sets the tone for beautiful pieces of Theater that inspire us all to be better and more engaged in our own well-being and the well-being of those we care about.
Individual Tickets and Season Tickets are on SALE now by Calling 618-462-3205 or through http://www.altonlittletheater.org.
Some behind-the-scenes photos will be taken on August 29th when the mammoth workday happens to make the magic happen for the Great 88th!
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