Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Large-scale season on way in Sheboygan

Sheboygan Theatre Company

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. - The Sheboygan Theatre Company is thinking big for its 2017-2018 season, offering involving and complex productions.

Performances are at Leslie W. Johnson Theatre of Horace Mann Middle School.

The theme for the season – the company’s 84th – is “The Greatest Stories Ever Told.”

Info: sheboygantheatrecompany.com.

The schedule:

+ “Cabaret” – 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21; 2 p.m. Oct. 15.

The musical from masters John Kander and Fred Ebb (the show “Chicago,” the song “New York, New York”), tells the scandalous story of Sally and Cliff, two devil-may-care lovers on the fringe of the rising Nazi regime. 

The show is set in 1931 Berlin, with many scenes taking place in a decadent cabaret.

It is based on John Van Druten’s 1951 play “I Am a Camera,” which was adapted from the short novel “Goodbye to Berlin” (1939) by Christopher Isherwood.

In a Berlin nightclub, as the 1930s begin, a garish master of ceremonies welcomes the audience and assures them they will forget all their troubles at the cabaret. With the emcee’s bawdy songs as wry commentary, “Cabaret” explores the dark, heady and tumultuous life of Berlin’s natives and expatriates as Germany slowly yields to the emerging Third Reich. Cliff, a young American writer newly arrived in Berlin, is immediately taken by English singer Sally Bowles. Meanwhile, Fräulein Schneider, proprietor of Cliff and Sally’s boardinghouse, tentatively begins a romance with Herr Schultz, a mild-mannered fruit seller who happens to be Jewish. Musical numbers include “Willkommen,” “Cabaret,” “Don’t Tell Mama” and “Two Ladies.” The work is by the famed team of John Kander and Fred Ebb. Directing are Debra Weiher-Traas and Michael Traas, with choreography by Amanda Ellis and musical direction by Thomas Pibal.

+ “A Lyrical Christmas Carol” – 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16; 2 p.m. Dec. 10.

The adaptation by Pittsburgh Musical Theatre will be making its Wisconsin premiere. The show tells the Charles Dickens classic using period music.

On Christmas Eve, Scrooge sits in his house with not a kind word for anyone; he just wants to be left alone until the ‘humbug’ of Christmas is over. But four ghostly visitors-his former business partner, followed by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come-show him the error of his ways, and by the time Christmas Day dawns, Scrooge is a changed person.

Directing is Tom Berger, managing director of the company.

+ “Romeo and Juliet” – 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17; 2 p.m. Feb. 11.

This is William Shakespeare’s enduring tragedy of children who can’t ignore their passions and parents who can’t listen to each other. Romeo and Juliet fall in love as their community falls apart, and like all the youth of Verona, are desperate for mature and loving guidance that is not forthcoming.

+ “The Secret Garden” – 7:30 p.m. May 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19; 2 p.m. May 13.

The musical is drawn from the beloved novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It’s about a 10-year-old girl orphaned by cholera and her experiences with a mystical garden at her Uncle Archibald’s dreary estate in England.

The book and lyrics are by Marsha Norman and music by Lucy Simon.

Along with its mainstage season, the company will continue productions of Studio Players, “providing more intimate, edgier plays in a smaller setting.”

The season will include a revival of “The Rocky Horror Show” in October, the intense family drama “God of Carnage” in spring and the critically acclaimed, disturbing “Hand to God” to end the season.

Contact me at warren.gerds@wearegreenbay.com. Watch for my on-air Critic at Large editions on WFRV-TV at 6:20 a.m. Sundays. My new books, “Three Miles Past Lost and in the Pickers” and “Nickolaus and Olive – a naïve opera (in words),” are available in Green Bay at Neville Public Museum, Bosse’s and The Reader’s Loft.


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