Chattanooga’s theater scene may be no match for the brightly lit stages of New York City, but it renders a dignified dose of what you may find in the Big Apple with two distinct seasons of plays for everyone’s taste.
The Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga presents until Sept. 2 its fourth annual Short Attention Span Theater titled “Bizarre”, performing at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays, 2 p.m. on Saturdays, and at 6:30 p.m. on Sundays at St. Andrews Center.
Director Casey Keelan said in a news release that this season’s theme is exploring social norms: “The bizarre is just one big gray area,” he said. “You can’t even define what is bizarre and what is not because it is so subjective.” The idea is that viewers come out with unique interpretations of possibly the weirdest—or the most normal, depending on whom you ask—quickie theater of the moment.
Behind the lights, camera and action lie three producing partners/best friends and the brainchildren of ETC’s third season. Founder Garry Lee Posey birthed the nonprofit company in 2007 and brought on Thomas Cecil and Christy Gallo in 2009, according to its website. They share ETC blog space with other actors, posting reflections on new reads and memoirs from the theater world.
Perfect for theater newbies or veterans looking for pushed boundaries, this 10-minute play leaves almost nothing to the imagination. Visit ensembletheatreofchattanooga.com for ticket information.
For a more traditional palate, the Chattanooga Theatre Centre launches its 89th season on Sept. 7 with “Cabaret” in the Main Theatre. This season’s productions will represent the range of theatre from dramas such as “God of Carnage” to classics such as “Annie.” “Cabaret” production dates will overlap starting Sept. 14 with performances of “The 39 Steps,” a comedy, in the Circle Theatre.
With “Cabaret,” director and musical director George Quick and choreographer Lindsay Fussell take us back to 1966 when the musical first premiered and won eight Tony Awards. Based on nightlife at Berlin’s seedy Kit Kat Club, “Cabaret” was an instant Broadway hit that eventually spawned Bob Fosse’s famous 1972 film.
Quick and Fussell will give their best shot at highlighting one of theater’s most scandalous, gritty and desirable productions with fresh pizzazz by keeping a live band on stage for the entire performance. “This is not a ‘Cabaret’ for the faint of heart,” Quick wrote on Chattanooga Theatre Centre’s website, “It’s an adult show with adult situations.”
If you’re looking for something lighter, Alfred Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps” might be more your speed. Don’t be scared away by the Hitchcock trademark; although the production has a dash of mystery, the centre’s website promises “a fast-paced whodunit” with “nonstop laughs.” If watching four actors play more than 150 characters doesn’t sound eye-catching enough, maybe the play’s credentials will seal the deal: it won Tony and Drama Desk Awards twice each. Visit theatrecentre.com for ticket information.