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  • Florence Little Theatre offers ‘Something Wonderful’ for 93rd Season

Florence Little Theatre offers ‘Something Wonderful’ for 93rd Season

on Wednesday, 06 July 2016. Posted in Good life, Arts & Culture, Local News

Florence Little Theatre offers ‘Something Wonderful’ for 93rd Season
FLT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR GREG HAMBLETON, FLT PRESIDENT JOHN BANKSON POSE IN FRONT OF 1968 PHOTOS FROM THE ‘KING AND I’

The Florence Little Theatre has “Something Wonderful” planned for its 2016-2017 Season. The season opens Friday, July 15, with the summer production, “Ronald Dahl’s Willy Wonka JR.,” featuring a cast of youth performers. “We’re trying to do something new with “Addams’s Family,” mixed with old classics such as “The King and I,’ explained FLT President John Bankson. Included in the mix will be “To Kill A Mockingbird,” “Always Patsy Cline” and “Barefoot in the Park.”

“We have a great line up of experienced directors,” Bankson continued. He announced that Joey Webster is directing his second children’s summer show at FLT. Veteran director and actor, Glen Gourley will bring his directing talents back to the FLT stage after a long absence. The show has been cast (Frankie Sullivan will play Gomez) and is currently in rehearsal. Steve Mapes is making his FLT debut as director. This classic drama was presented at FLT in 1984 and again in 2003.

The choice to bring back “To Kill A Mockingbird” coincided with the death of author Harper Lee and discovery of her manuscript “Go Set a Watchman,” which was published as a sequel, John noted. “Always Patsy Cline,” was incredibly received when presented during the 2006-07 season at the former theatre on Cashua with seats filled to capacity. The board felt it was time to bring it back John said.

Veteran performer and director Frankie Sullivan will direct this musical. “Barefoot in the Park,” a classic Neil Simon comedy and will be directed by another veteran director and performer, Keith Best. It was performed at FLT in the 1982-83 season. “The King and I,” opened with the new FLT theatre on Cashua Drive in 1968, and was presented again for the theatre’s 70th anniversary in 1993. At the helm will be for this massive musical will Robin Thompson, longtime director and musical director for more than 50 FLT musicals and special shows.

The 2016-17 season offers a mix of the old and the new, providing fun and things to challenge people, said FLT executive director Greg Hambleton. Bankson added that the 2016-2017 Board of Directors welcomes four new members: Mary Hepburn returns to the board, along with new board members, Ginger Sullivan, Scott Mitchell and Reggis Armstrong. Theatre memberships, offering substantial savings over box office prices are currently being sold with the opportunity for members to choose their seats for the entire season. An adult season membership package is $90 and students are $60.

Supporting packages start with Sponsors at $275 which includes two tickets for each show and ends with Grand Benefactors for $1,500 and 10 tickets for each show. You can obtain or renew your membership by stopping by or calling the FLT box office from noon until 5 p.m. on weekdays or go to the FLT website, www.florencelittletheatre.org. 2016-17 Season Shows Ronald Dahl’s Willy Wonka Jr.  runs July 15-17 and 22-24. It is based on the book Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

It is directed by Joey Webster and underwritten by McLeod Health. Roald Dahl's “Willy Wonka Jr.” follows enigmatic candy manufacturer Willy Wonka as he stages a contest by hiding five golden tickets in five of his scrumptious candy bars. Whoever comes up with these tickets will win a free tour of the Wonka factory, as well as a lifetime supply of candy. Four of the five winning children are insufferable brats, but 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. Featuring the enchanting songs from the 1971 film starring Gene Wilder in addition to a host of fun new songs, Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka JR. is a scrumdidilyumptious musical guaranteed to delight everyone's sweet tooth. Adapted for the stage by Leslie Bricusse and Timothy Allen McDonald. Lyrics and Music by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. Note: This summer production is not part of the season ticket package. Seats are $15 for adults and $10 for students.

Call the box office at 843-662-3731 between noon and 5 p.m. on weekdays to make a reservation or you may go online to the FLT website. The Addam’s Family runs Sept. 16-25. The book is by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. Music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. The musical is based on characters created by Charles Addams. Glen Gourley is director. The Addam’s Family features an original story, and it's every father's nightmare.

Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family – a man her parents have never met. And if that weren't upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Now, Gomez Addams must do something he's never done before – keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday's 'normal' boyfriend and his parents.

To Kill A Mockingbird runs Nov. 11-19. Adapted by Christopher Sergel. From the novel by Harper Lee. Directed by Steve Mapes. Scout, a young girl in a quiet southern town, is about to experience the dramatic events that will affect the rest of her life. She and her brother, Jem, are being raised by their widowed father, Atticus, and by a strongminded housekeeper, Calpurnia. Wide-eyed Scout is fascinated with the sensitively revealed people of her small town, but, from the start, there's a rumble of thunder just under the calm surface of the life here.

The black people of the community have a special feeling about Scout's father and she doesn't know why. A few of her white friends are inexplicably hostile and Scout doesn't understand this either. Unpleasant things are shouted and the bewildered girl turns to her father. Atticus, a layer, explains that he's defending a young Negro wrongfully accused of a grave crime. Since this is causing such an upset, Scout wants to know why he's doing it.  Always Patsy Cline runs Jan. 20-28, 2017.

It was written by Ted Swindler and is directed by Frankie Sullivan. Always…Patsy Cline is more than a tribute to the legendary country singer who died tragically at age 30 in a plane crash in 1963.  The show is based on a true story about Cline's friendship with a fan from Houston named Louise Seger, who befriended the star in a Texas honky-tonk in l961, and continued a correspondence with Cline until her death.  Barefoot in the Park runs March 10-18, 2017. Written by Neil Simon, it will be directed by Keith Best.

Paul and Corie Bratter are newlyweds in every sense of the word. He's a straight-as-an-arrow lawyer and she's a free spirit always looking for the latest kick. Their new apartment is her most recent find – too expensive with bad plumbing and in need of a paint job. After a six day honeymoon, they get a surprise visit from Corie's loopy mother and decide to play matchmaker during a dinner with their neighbor-in-the-attic Velasco, where everything that can go wrong, does. Paul just doesn't understand Corie, as she sees it.

He's too staid, too boring and she just wants him to be a little more spontaneous, running "barefoot in the park" would be a start... The King and I  runs April 21-30, 2017. It will be directed by Robin Thompson.  Music by Richard Rogers with book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. Based on “Anna and the King” by Margaret Landon East versus West makes for a dramatic, richly textured and ultimately uplifting tale of enormous fascination It is 1862 in Siam when an English widow, Anna Leonowens, and her young son arrive at the Royal Palace in Bangkok, having been summoned by the King to serve as tutor to his many children and wives.

The king is largely considered to be a barbarian by those in the West, and he seeks Anna’s assistance in changing his image, if not his ways. With both keeping a firm grip on their respective traditions and values, Anna and the King grow to understand and, eventually, respect one another, in a truly unique love story. Along with the dazzling score, the incomparable Jerome Robbins ballet, “The Small House of Uncle Thomas,” is one of the all-time marvels of the musical stage. 

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