Theater preview: Pioneer Theatre raises curtain on 2014-15 titles in season ‘for everybody’

Published: Friday, April 18 2014 8:00 a.m. MDT

Before the midnight movie adaptation, “The Rocky Horror Show” was staged on Broadway, with a 2000 revival following. PTC’s production of the campy musical lampoon of B horror films will be a concert staging, the first in what will be an annual series.

“One Man, Two Guvnors,” nominated for seven Tony Awards, is a madcap celebration of British comedy. “Everyone loves a door-slamming farce. And there are food fights and people falling down stairs. It’s just hilarious theater," Azenberg said.

“Peter and the Starcatcher,” which was awarded five Tonys, provides a rambunctious backstory for J.M. Barrie’s ever-youthful Peter Pan character. “It is theater magic at its best. No technology, just theater magic," Azenberg said.

First presented in this year’s inaugural series called Play-by-Play New Readings, “Alabama Story” is a full staging of the drama by award-winning playwright and Playbill managing editor Kenneth Jones. “Next year is the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, and it’s a stroke of lucky timing that we have this very moving new play that takes that into account," Azenberg said.

“The Crucible,” Arthur Miller’s allegorical retelling of the Salem witch trials, is considered a central work in the canon of American drama. “I love that we’re staging a play that students read in school and that can also be seen live on stage," Azenberg said.

The dramatic comedy “I Hate Hamlet” follows a television actor as he contemplates performing his dream role. “It’s such a great concept: John Barrymore’s ghost comes to teach how to do Shakespeare. How fabulous is that? It’s ghost story, theater story and comedy all rolled into one," Azenberg said.

Seventy-six trombones will take the lead in “The Music Man,” the musical that launched the career of Robert Preston (who, after his stage success, composer Meredith Willson insisted repeat his Professor Harold Hill role in the film adaptation over Frank Sinatra and Cary Grant). “It’s one of the best musicals ever written — ever. It’s the perfect musical," Azenberg said.

Surveying the beginning of her third season as the creative leader of Pioneer Theatre, Azenberg said, “I’m proud of the work. I’m proud of the shows we do. We are exploiting our strengths very well. We’re bringing in great talent. We’re using the great local talent. The productions look wonderful. And I’m proud of the new projects, like the Play-by-Play series and the concert stagings we will begin. I think that’s a lot within two years, to get all this going.”

Content advisory: "The Rocky Horror Show" and the R-rated version of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” contain sexuality and objectionable language. “One Man, Two Guvnors” contains mild objectionable language.

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