By Jaclyn Johnson, Artistic Director
Another season came and went, and with it a huge milestone for Festival Theatre. A marker that celebrates many successes. The success of live performing arts becoming a part of our cultural landscape in St. Croix Falls. The success of hosting countless artists, guests, community members and friends in the incredible historic Civic Auditorium as we shared stories, music, conversation and history. The success of achieving the past, practicing the present and dreaming the future for this hard-working, arts-making organization. So many people contributed to the past twenty-five years, and every single one of them made next season possible. Thank you all for helping us turn 25!
To celebrate our 25th Anniversary Season at Festival Theatre, we knew we would need a lineup that would pay homage to the years before us, build upon what we do well, and make memories that will last another twenty-five years. What we have landed upon is a season that is exciting, fresh, challenging and engaging.
Our June Theatre Series season opener will be the sci-fi smash musical Little Shop of Horrors. From Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (the composer of Disney's "Aladdin," "The Little Mermaid," and "Tangled") this classic from 1982 has been a hit on and off Broadway, and a film version made Hollywood sing in 1986. Delighting audiences all over the world for over 30 years, this rock musical will have you engulfed in fun.
We will continue our trend of producing theatre in our downstairs Elbow Room with the fast-paced, hilarious Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised] written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield. This bit of comic gold features three overachieving actors attempting to perform renditions of all thirty-seven of Shakespeare’s plays in just ninety-seven minutes. Witty and physical, it is sure to leave audiences aching from laughter, be they Shakespeare lovers, haters or know-nothing-ers alike.
With all the fun we will be having early in the season, our next production will break the trend, but will not turn down the heat. A Streetcar Named Desire will be our third production in the summer rotating repertory. One of American theatre's best loved plays from the dramatic artistry of Tennessee Williams, this play centers on one of theatre's most iconic women, the fading Southern belle, Blanche DuBois. Adored all over the world by theatre artists and audiences for nearly seventy years, this Pulitzer Prize (1948) winning drama will win, while breaking, your heart.
With our Fall production, we return to fun and comedy, but do not shy away from a challenge. Noises Off by Micheal Frayn takes all the things that are funny about trying to produce theatre, and turns them into a hilarious farce of a farce. It demands a rotating set that allows the audience to see "backstage" during a run of the seemingly doomed-from-the-start touring production of "Nothing On." A show that celebrates everything that can, and will, go wrong in the theatre, this show is a hilarious look behind the scenes of the rehearsal and performance process. So, get in on the joke, and get ready to laugh your faces off, with Noises Off.
And then for some holiday cheer. We will again be reimagining the amazing script adapted by James L. Walker of the story from the treasured mind of Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. Originally an oral performance by Dickens himself, this holiday "ghost story" has been delighting audiences for almost two centuries, adapted into many films, television shows, stories and other performances. A Christmas Carol was last produced at Festival Theatre in 2010, my first year as an arts administrator with the company. It's a joy to be able to revisit this script with our audiences in our 25th Anniversary Season.
The Theatre Action Group and I hope that you are as excited as we are about the upcoming shows. From Little Shop of Horrors to A Christmas Carol, we look forward to celebrating with you all season long. Thank you for being part of Festival Theatre's past, present, and future.