Comedy, magic, drama, dance, community theater, movies, family fare and music of many genres are included in the 2013-14 Ritz Theatre season. Subscriptions are to go on sale beginning Aug. 19 and brochures are to be mailed soon.
Ticket prices have not been set yet, according to Michael Strong, executive director at The Ritz. Curtain time for all events is 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
The season opens with the Oct. 4 installment of Friday Night Live. This series features local and regional artists performing in the intimate atmosphere of The National Theatre at The Ritz.
Abba impressionists Arrival.
Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.
Alan Safier portrays classic comedian George Burns in “Say Goodnight, Gracie.”
Additional dates for this season are Nov. 8, Dec. 13, Jan. 3, Feb. 7, March 14, April 4 and May 2.
The monthly movie series is to return but with a "Golden Age of Hollywood" theme. The screenings also have been moved to Wednesday afternoons at 2.
Dates and titles have yet to be determined.
Ritz Players rundown
The Ritz Players have chosen four pieces to present this season.
Their first production is "Young Frankenstein," the new Mel Brooks musical, with evening shows Oct. 31 Nov. 1 and 2 and a 2 p.m. matinee Nov. 3. Creatures of all descriptions are to sing and dance around the laboratory to tunes such as "Transylvania Mania," "He Vas My Boyfriend" and "Puttin On The Ritz."
"It's going to be a Heidelberg-Ritz Players joint venture," Strong said.
"Moonlight and Magnolias" by Ron Hutchinson is to be staged in The National Theatre at The Ritz Feb. 14, 15 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Feb. 23.
The play follows the story of legendary producer David O. Selznick and his efforts to rewrite the dysfunctional screenplay of the motion picture, "Gone With the Wind." To shut out pressure and criticism from the actors, gossip columnists and relatives, he holes up with Victor Fleming and Ben Hecht to hammer out a revised script for one of the most beloved and famous films of all time.
"Proof," a drama by David Auburn, also is to take place in The National Theatre for three evening shows May 9,10 and 17 and a matinee at 2 p.m. May 18.
The main character is Catherine, who has spent years caring for her father, a brilliant but sickly mathematician. His death triggers a disturbing, chain of events that causes her to fear she has inherited his madness.
The Players are to present the dramatic musical, "Les Miserables," to culminate its season. Performances are slated for July 11,12 and 19 at 7:30 p.m. and July 20 at 2 p.m. on the main stage.
Based on the novel by Victor Hugo and set during the French Revolution in 19th-century France, the play portrays the poverty and perseverance of the common people amid social and political unrest.
Familiar tunes from the show include "One Day More," "On My Own," "Stars," "I Dreamed a Dream," "Castle on a Cloud," "Master of the House" and "Bring Him Home."
Discovery series features 4 productions
The Discovery Series - Arts in Education is back at The Ritz with four presentations for students.
Garry Krinsky presents "Toying With Science" at 10 a.m. Oct. 9. Aimed at grades 4-8, the program explores the scientific principles of gravity, leverage, fulcrums, simple machines and others. Krinsky holds young people's attention with humor, mime, motion and original music.
"The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales" for grades K-3 is to be presented by the Griffin Theatre Co. of Chicago for two shows, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Jan. 16.
Based on the book by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, the show features an acting ensemble that takes on multiple characters. Classes attending are encouraged to read the stories prior to the program.
The Mad River Theatre Works is to stage "Everybody's Hero: The Jackie Robinson Story" at 10 a.m. Feb. 18.
The play for grades 4-8 dramatizes pivotal moments in Robinson's life as a professional baseball player. Overcoming racial prejudice and verbal abuse, he became one of the greatest players in the history of the sport.
"Stuart Little" is a mouse character from a classic book by E.B. White. Dallas Children's Theatre is to bring his story to the stage for grades K-5 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. April 8.
Living in New York, Stuart encounters many hair-raising situations and zany characters as he learns valuable life lessons.
"The Nobodies of Comedy" has become a staple at The Ritz. A fall show has been booked for Oct. 5 and a winter show is set for Jan. 25.
These talented yet unknown comedians have a reputation for providing a rollicking evening of adult humor at a low ticket cost.
The Amazing Kreskin is to be in Tiffin Oct. 19. Currently, he often appears on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" and "Mike Huckabee." He also has been a regular guest on "Regis & Kathy Lee," "David Letterman" and "Howard Stern."
"You have to know Kreskin if you watched Johnny Carson or Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin. ... He is a mentalist," Strong said. "He'll allow an audience member to hide his paycheck, and if he can't find it, he doesn't get it."
Because The Ritz allegedly is haunted, Kreskin has offered to probe for clues about the ghost or ghosts during the show. Due to the nature of this program, no children younger than age 10 are to be admitted.
The Ritz Teen Thespian Guild is in its 10th year at The Ritz. Comprised of students from area high schools, the group chooses a non-musical play to produce each fall. This year, they have selected "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder.
"This is one of the classic American plays. ... a great story of love and loss and growing up," Strong said.
Evening performances are scheduled for Nov. 15 and 16 and the Nov. 17 matinee is at 2 p.m. The drama utilizes a minimal set and pantomimed props to portray the lives of an ordinary couple in small-town America as they fall in love, get married and struggle with loss.
Spend "An Evening with Creedence Clearwater Revisited" Nov. 23. Two musicians from the original Creedence Clearwater Revival, Stu Cook and Doug "Cosmo," resurrected the music of CCR in 1995 and took it on the road. Their play list includes "Rollin on the River," "Bad Moon Rising," "Who'll Stop the Rain" and more.
At 2 p.m. Nov. 24, jazz pianist and recording artist Meral Guneyman is to present a mix of classical and contemporary selections.
Trained at Julliard, she has premiered many modern compositions and performed around the world as a soloist and with symphony orchestras.
"It's going to be a very interesting program very melodic," Strong said.
Celebrate the holidays Dec. 14 when The Ritz presents "Christmas with Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr."
The pair were the lead vocalists of The Fifth Dimension for 10 years before striking out as a duo. They have received seven Grammy Awards and earned 15 gold and three platinum recordings.
"'You Don't Have to be a Star' was their first break-out single," Strong said.
Von Heidecke's Chicago Festival Ballet is to return to The Ritz with 16 professional dancers for a performance of "The Nutcracker" Dec. 21.
Local children are to be invited to join the cast for this elegant production.
Gary Pucket and The Union Gap, who put out six consecutive gold albums in the 1960s, are to present a program of fan favorites Feb. 1. Although the band broke up in 1971, their hit "Young Girl" was reissued in 1974 in England by popular request.
March 7, The Ritz is to host pop country music band, Sawyer Brown. With hits such at "Some Girls Do," "The Race is On" and "Thank God for You," they were lauded at the Music City Music Awards in the 1990s.
"Six years in a row, they were named Best Vocal Band, from 1993 to 1998," Strong said.
Arrival from Sweden and Abba original musicians are to present "The Music of Abba" March 21. Founded in 1995, the group has become one of the world's most popular Abba tribute bands.
The show includes selections such as "Dancing Queen," "Take a Chance on Me" and "Fernando."
"It's more than a tribute. It's a revival of the actual show," Strong said.
The New Shanghai Circus bounds onto The Ritz stage at 2 p.m. March 23. This troupe has been performing for 16 years with juggling, gymnastics, contortions and breath-taking stunts.
"Feats of strength and flexibility; the athletes in the show are just incredible," Strong said. "It's a family event."
"Say Goodnight, Gracie" is set for April 26 with Alan Safier in the persona of the late George Burns. Vintage photographs and video clips from film and television help to document the comedian's lengthy career in the entertainment business.
"This show is one of the highest-grossing off-Broadway shows. ... It's a one-man play," Strong said. "This guy has got it down. He gets inside the
life of George Burns and Gracie Allen, as well."
The annual spring performance of trideaDANCE is to take place May 3. The resident contemporary dance company of The Ritz Theatre is to feature local and regional dancers with original works by Kathy Miller of Tiffin and by other choreographers.
Subscription renewals begin Aug. 19, and new subscriptions go on sale Aug. 26. Flex packages of three or more shows, are to be available Sept. 3, and individual ticket sales start Sept. 9.
To learn more about any of these programs, stop at 30 S. Washington St., visit www.ritztheatre.org or call (419) 448-8544.