MENASHA, Wis. (WFRV) – Attic Chamber Theatre Inc. announced its 2002 season of productions and named Berray Billington as its artistic director, widening his association with the Fox Valley company. Info: attictheatreinc.com.

According to press releases:

The productions

+ “Crown Matrimonial” by Royce Ryton – Feb. 10-19. Directing is Berray Billington. The play was previously announced.

The story could be called “the greatest love story of the 20th century.” The play focuses on the crisis that faces the British empire when King Edward VIII declares his love for American divorcee Wallis Simpson and abdicates. The play tells the story from the viewpoint of the royal family as developments eventually lead to the 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

Note from the theater: “Due to the continuing concerns over the spread of Omicron, Attic has moved the February production of ‘Crown Matrimonial’ from the Baehman Theater to the Perry Theater of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Fox Cities Campus. Tickets sold for the Baehman Theater will be honored for seating in the Perry Theater. However, instead of assigned seats, seating will be general admission with first come/first served. Our house manager and ushers will assist ticket holders in finding appropriate seating.”

+ “Ten Chimneys” by Jeffrey Hatcher – June 9-12, 15-18. Directing is Berray Billington.

The play has Wisconsin roots in the author, the place and focal characters. The setup: It’s summer 1938, and Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, the two most revered stars of the Broadway stage, have decided to perform Anton Chekov’s “The Sea Gull.” But first they must retreat to “investigate” the play at Ten Chimneys, their sprawling Wisconsin estate, surrounded by actors, family and hangers-on. When a young actress named Uta Hagen arrives, a romantic triangle begins to mirror the events in Chekhov’s play about passion and art. “The result is a funny, poignant and revealing look at private lives that never really leave the stage.”

+ “Wait Until Dark” by Frederick Knott – July 8-10, 12-16. Directing is Michael J. Laskowski.

A sinister con man named Roat and two ex-convicts, Mike and Carlino, are about to meet their match. They have traced the location of a mysterious doll, which they are much interested in, to the Greenwich Village apartment of Sam Hendrix and his blind wife, Susy. The con man and his ex-convicts, through a cleverly constructed deception, convince Susy that the police have implicated her husband Sam in a murder, and the doll, which she believes is the key to his innocence, is evidence. She refuses to reveal its location, and a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues between Roat and Susy – in the dark.

+ “Cabaret” by John Kander (music), Fred Ebb (lyrics) and Joe Masteroff (book) – Aug. 12-14, 18-20. Directing is AJ Westbrook.

Set in 1929 Berlin during the waning days of the Weimar Republic as the Nazis are ascending to power, the musical focuses on the hedonistic nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub and revolves around American writer Clifford Bradshaw’s relations with English cabaret performer Sally Bowles. A sub-plot involves the doomed romance between German boarding house owner Fräulein Schneider and her elderly suitor Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor. Overseeing the action is the master of ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub. The club serves as a metaphor for ominous political developments in late Weimar Germany.

+ “Scrooge in Rouge” by Ricky Graham (book and lyrics), Jefferson Turney (music) and Jeffrey Roberson and Yvette Hargis (additional material) – performance dates and venue to be determined.

The quick-change version of the Charles Dickens classic is set in a Victorian music hall. The Royal Music Hall Twenty-Member Variety Players troupe is beset with a widespread case of food poisoning. This leaves only three surviving members to soldier on through a performance of “A Christmas Carol.” The undaunted trio gamely faces missed cues, ill-fitting costumes and solving the problem of having no one to play Tiny Tim. Done in the style of British music hall, the show “abounds in bad puns, bawdy malapropisms, naughty double-entendres and witty songs.”

About Berray Billington

From the theater: The Attic Chamber Theatre Board of Directors hired Berray Billington as the theater’s artistic director for the coming year. Billington joined the board in 2012 and was elected president in 2015. “His new position will focus on presenting new and interesting theater for the Fox Cities area, revitalizing the ACT internship program, expanding the company’s community outreach and education programs, and exploring other venues and performance opportunities.”

Billington attended the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, pursuing a degree in theater with an emphasis in costume design and directing. For 12 years, he ran the Waupaca Community Theater, creating the troupe’s summer musical season. He also directed and designed the annual Waupaca High School musical.  He has acted and designed with the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre, a professional regional theater in Clinton, Iowa.

“Billington has been working to re-organize and revitalize Attic Theatre, introducing the chamber theater concept by producing and directing smaller cast plays and musicals. Under his direction, ACT began serving adult refreshments and he created the ‘Music in the Attic’ fund-raising concert.”

An honor

Tuesday, the Menasha Award Program announced Attic Chamber Theatre is the winner of the 2022 Best of Menasha Awards in the category of Performing Arts Theater.