Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Theater Troupe at Shawano Schedules Three Plays for 2019

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Three plays are on the calendar for Box in the Wood Theatre at its home performance space, Mielke Arts Center. Info: shawanoarts.com.

The community theater is supported by the Shawano County Arts Council and named for its location in woods adjacent to Mielke Pond.

An overview:

+ “Always a Bridesmaid” by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten – April 26, 27, 28, May 3, 4, 5.

In this comedy by a lively play writing team, four friends have sworn to keep the promise they made on the night of their senior prom: to be in each other’s weddings, no matter what. More than 30 years later, these Southern friends-for-life are still making “the long walk” for each other, determined to honor that vow. Libby Ruth, the hopeful romantic with the perfect marriage, believes – in spite of all evidence to the contrary – that her friends can find the very same happiness. Headstrong Deedra’s “rock-solid” union hangs by a thread when she discovers her husband of many years has a wandering eye. Monette, flashy, high-spirited and self-involved, continues to test her friends’ love and patience with all-too-frequent trips down the aisle. And salt-of-the-earth, tree-hugging Charlie discovers – the hard way – that marital bliss is not the end of her rainbow and panics in outrageous style when the opportunity presents itself. Forsaking all others, in sickness and in health, the four repeatedly struggle to stage the perfect wedding in spite of fistfights at the altar, runaway brides and the mistaken, and unfortunate, release of a flock of white doves on the first day of hunting season.

+ “Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka,” a musical – July 11, 12, 13 14, 18, 19, 20, 21.

Adventures experienced by Charlie Bucket on his visit to Willy Wonka’s mysterious chocolate factory light up this adaptation of the fantastical tale. Featuring the songs from the 1971 film starring Gene Wilder and new songs by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, the show is “scrumdidilyumptious.” In the story, enigmatic candy manufacturer, Willy Wonka, stages a contest by hiding golden tickets in five of his candy bars. Whomever comes up with these tickets will win a free tour of the Wonka factory and a lifetime supply of candy. Four of the five winning children are insufferable brats: the fifth is a likeable young lad named Charlie Bucket, who takes the tour in the company of his equally amiable grandfather. The children must learn to follow Mr. Wonka’s rules in the factory… or suffer the consequences.

+ “Love, Sex and the IRS” by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore – Oct 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13.

In this farce, Jon and Kate are engaged to be married in two weeks. Kate, however, has been having an affair (but without sex; that’s for after marriage) with Jon’s roommate and best friend, Leslie. Since Jon had a reputation back in college for violently jealous rages that included blaming the messenger, Leslie hesitates to tell him of their infidelity. Besides, there is also the matter of Connie, Leslie’s estranged girlfriend. But that’s not all. Jon, a chronically underemployed musician, has been making ends meet by claiming a tax exemption – using Leslie as his wife. Now a representative from the IRS wants to come and audit their books. In addition, Jon and Leslie live in an apartment building that does not permit unmarried couples and is run by a nosy landlord who keeps an eye out for live-in females. Then Jon’s mother comes for a visit unexpectedly to help out before the wedding. In classic farcical style, Leslie masquerades as a housewife, aided by Jon’s fiancée, Kate, in order to fool the IRS agent. Jon, Leslie and Kate struggle to keep their stories straight as one character after another brings more confusion to the storyline.

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.

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