Front Row Center – September 2016

Front Row Center

By Michael Warren

Season 52 at the Lakeside Little Theatre


front rowHere we are again – the beginning of another season at LLT. This year there is a fundraiser Mark Twain, Uncensored opening on August 23, written by local writer Ed Tasca (who also stars.) For the first time in many years, LLT is producing a play written by one of our many talented residents, and I hope this trend will continue.    

The first play of the regular season will be Painting Churches, a comedy-drama by Tina Howe, directed by Peggy Lord Chilton. This play, about the relationship between an elderly couple and their artist daughter, was first produced off-Broadway in 1983 and was a finalist for the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It runs from September 23 through October 2. Next up, opening on October 21, is Outside Mullingar which is an Irish comedy by John Patrick Shanley, directed by Ann Swiston. This play was nominated for a Tony award in 2014. Because it is set in rural Ireland, we can expect some beguiling humor, at least one death and a happy lyrical ending.

If you like Neil Simon, you will enjoy his semi-autobiographical Chapter Two. Some theatergoers will recall the 1979 movie version, starring James Caan and Marsha Mason. This comedy is directed by Phil Shepherd and opens on December 2. Then there’s Death And the Maiden by Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman, directed by LB Hamilton. This is a very intense drama with political and psychological overtones – viewer discretion is advised. Death and the Maiden opens on January 13.

The musical this year is Chicago which of course won a movie Oscar in 2002. We can look forward to hearing again “All That Jazz” and “Razzle Dazzle.” It’s directed by Barbara Clippinger and opens on February 17. The final play of the season is Second Summer, a comedy by Gary Richards which opens on March 24. Here we are in a retirement home in Florida where romance is certainly not yet dead. Paul Kloegman is returning to Ajijic to direct this gently humorous play.

Although four of the plays are comedies, it will certainly be an interesting and challenging season. I’m told that the rotating stage – first created for Betrayal at the end of 2014 – will appear again at least once in Season 52. Thanks again to all involved, both backstage and onstage, for bringing us excellent theater to this small Mexican village.

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