Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Birder Players slates next four musicals

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“A Christmas Carol: The Musical,” “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” and “Pippin” are set for performance by the Birder Players at Broadway Theatre.

Atop a mailer noting the schedule for those titles is a significant phrase:

“Alicia Birder and Dudley Birder Announce.”

Dudley Birder will be associate producer and consultant for “Pippin” and other productions, says Alicia Birder, his daughter, who operates Birder Studio of the Performing Arts and formed Birder Players as a performance troupe made up of studio teachers and performers from the community.

Dudley Birder founded St. Norbert College Music Theatre, which presented its last production in July to close 56 seasons under his helm.

“St. Norbert College has decided to go in a different direction, so Alicia will continue to grow Birder Players and Broadway Theatre,” Alicia Birder says. “Birder Players will culminate our 2017-2018 season with the production of ‘Pippin’ as our summer musical theater show at Broadway Theatre, 123 S. Broadway, De Pere.”

The Birder Players troupe has presented musicals and cabaret productions at Broadway Theatre in recent months. This is the announced schedule:

+ “A Christmas Carol: The Musical” – 7 p.m. Nov. 3, Dec. 2, 14, 15; 2 p.m. Dec. 2; 12 and 4 p.m. Dec. 16. This is an adaptation of the Charles Dickens story, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and book by Mike Ockrent and Lynn Ahrens.

+ “Monty Python’s Spamlot” – 7 p.m. Feb. 1, 2, 3, 9, 10; 2 p.m. Feb. 3, 10. The show that was popular on Broadway is, as promotional material says, “lovingly ripped off from the motion picture ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’.” Monty Python’s Eric Idle had a lot to do with this show, which is filled with irreverent parody.

+ “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” – 7 p.m. April 13, 14, 19, 20, 21. The long running off-Broadway musical comedy made up vignettes features book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music by Jimmy Roberts. The show’s tagline is “Everything you have ever secretly thought about dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives and in-laws, but were afraid to admit.”

+ “Pippin” – Times TBA June 27, 28, 29, 30, July 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. This is early Stephen Schwartz (with book by Roger O. Hirson), creator of such megahits as “Wicked” and “Godspell.” The son of Charlemagne, Pippin is on a life quest. Famous songs include “Magic to Do.” Alicia Birder says, “I am thrilled to produce/direct ‘Pippin’ this coming season 2018 summer.”

About the performance company, Alicia Birder says, “Birder Players, a division of Birder Studio of Performing Arts’ – a 501©c foundation – vision is to continue to provide arts education scholarship and opportunities for the youth in our community. All proceeds of Birder Players performances and productions, which include musical theatre production and musical cabarets, support our ARTreach program and our mission to ‘Education, Inspire, Create and Achieve.’ We intend for Birder Players to continue to grow as it has since its inception five years ago.”

The creative team: producer/director – Alicia Birder; associate producer – Dudley Birder; music director – Chad Lemerande; choreographer – Anna Allen.

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 books, “Three Miles Past Lost and in the Pickers” and “Nickolaus and Olive – a naïve opera (in words)” and the award-winning “Real, Honest Sailing with a Great Lakes Captain,” are available online and in Green Bay at Neville Public Museum, Bosse’s and The Reader’s Loft.

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