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ALTON - Alton Little Theater’s 90th season is off to an exciting start as the theater prepares for several productions in the coming months.
“I love to go to St. Louis, but I know that families may never get to see a first-class production in St. Louis. So we want to give them some exposure here,” said Lee Cox, the theater’s executive director and business manager. “We’re a real, legitimate theater, so they’re getting to see a quality show. There’s not a bad seat in the house.”
To mark the end of summer, the theater is hosting Circus Kaput at 7 p.m. on Aug. 12. This touring circus act aims to give families a fun night before school starts. Tickets are $20 and include refreshments.
“[It’s] a little magic, a lot of comedy and tricks and getting kids up on stage and letting them be part of the magic,” Cox said. “And I just love watching their faces when they see things and [say,] ‘How did he do that?’”
Cox immediately wanted to host the show when she found out about it. But usually, Alton Little Theater (ALT) produces its own musicals and plays. They are currently in rehearsals for the comedy play “Beer for Breakfast,” which will open on Sept. 15 and run through that weekend and the next.
In between rehearsals, ALT will hold auditions for their next big production, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.” Bringing this musical to ALT has been many years in the making. Cox explained that she saw a production of the show at The Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis with ALT’s artistic director Kevin Frakes. Both Cox and Frakes knew immediately that they wanted to put on the show themselves. Six years later, they finally are.
“It’s all about keeping the two women in your life at bay, the one you just slept with and the one you’re engaged to. That can be a little tricky of a situation,” Cox joked about the musical’s plot.
She added that it follows eight generations of the same family. There are four lead roles, and every ensemble member plays six different parts. Auditions for “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” will be at 10 a.m. on Sept. 9 and 1 p.m. on Sept. 10. Cox encourages anyone who is interested to come to the auditions with a prepared song.
There are three more shows planned for ALT’s 90th season; you can read about each of them here. Cox and Frakes hope to end the season with a production of “Waitress,” the Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical by Sara Bareilles. They are still waiting for permission to produce the show, but Cox noted that ALT is “first in line” to receive the royalties in the next few months.
Cox, Frakes and the rest of the ALT board have high hopes for the coming years. Cox mentioned that they have their eyes on “Frozen,” “Ghost” and “Come From Away” as potential musicals they could produce. She hopes to put on as many great shows as possible before she plans to step away from ALT at the end of 2025.
“It’s time that another generation gets to step up, that they don’t have to wait as long as Kevin and I had to wait to take the helm. There are new talents out there and new shows,” Cox explained, adding, “Kevin and I have picked all of our favorite shows, and I hope we get to do every one of them.”
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