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Aurora theater season includes classic musicals, drama

By SCOTT SHRINER Executive Editor Published: June 21, 2017 1:00 AM

AURORA -- What do an idealistic orphan, a down-on-his-luck garbage collector, the Duke of Athens and the King of Siam have in common? They'll all be on stage at Aurora Community Theatre this coming season.

The theater recently announced its 2017-18 slate of productions and the offerings include a notably contrasting variety of shows.

"I am excited about the diversity in ACT's 2017-18 season, not only in ethnic diversity, but the offering of a mixture of classic musicals, a superb drama, a poignant though provoking musical and a play written by Shakespeare who is regarded as the greatest writer in the English language," said Marc Howard, ACT board president for 2017-18.

Here's the list of plays, so mark your calendars!

Annie. Nov. 3-Dec. 2, 2017. Directed by Michael Dempsey, with musical direction by John Kroll and choreography by Amie Wesley Gabel. Auditions are July 16-18. "'Annie' will have a longer run than most of our previous productions, with five weeks of performances and closing night coordinated with the city's holiday tree lighting ceremony," according to a news release from the theater.

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Fences. Jan. 26-Feb. 17, 2018. By August Wilson, winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for drama and Tony Award for best play. The 2016 film version of this play, directed by and starring Denzel Washington, won a best supporting actress Oscar for Viola Davis. Directed by Michael Oatman. Auditions are July 24-25. "This will be the first time ACT will have an all African-American cast," the release noted.

A Midsummer Night's Dream. March 2-10, 2018. Directed by Rachel M. Murar. Auditions are Dec. 17-18. "We have wanted to bring Shakespeare to our stage for quite some time now, and felt this was the season to introduce 'The Bard' to our audiences," the release stated.

The King and I. April 27-May 19, 2018. Rodgers and Hammerstein classic. Directed by Dustin Oliver, with musical direction by Tim Shaffer and choreography by Amie Wesley Gabel. Auditions are Jan. 14-15. "This show will be the second opportunity for younger performers to participate in theatre as we try to promote education and interest in the performing arts throughout the community," the ACT release stated.

Next to Normal. June 29-July 14, 2018. A contemporary rock musical and winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for drama. Directed by Marc C. Howard with musical direction by D. Keith Stiver. Auditions are Feb. 19-20, 2018. "Over the last several seasons ACT has tried to push boundaries with more non-conventional summer stock productions. These shows are more current and contain subject matter that is more on the 'adult' side," stated the theater's release. "2018 will be no exception."

And don't forget, theater enthusiasts don't have to wait until this fall to visit ACT. The final production of the 2016-17 season is the ever-popular high school musical "Grease," playing June 30-July 15. The show, ACT's summer stock offering, starts at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with a 3 p.m. Sunday matinee July 9.

Get tickets by visiting www.auroracommmunitytheatre.com or calling the 330-562-1818. The theater is at 115 E. Pioneer Trail in the Aurora Memorial Library building.


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