After the late-summer doldrums, it's time to pick musicals or drama
"Overture, curtains, lights / This is it, you’ll hit the heights / And oh, what heights we’ll hit / On with the show, this is it!”
Those of a certain age (cough…Boomers…cough) cannot help but recognize the lyrics to the classic Looney Tunes opening song. And like Bugs and Daffy, the local theatre community is once again ramping up to draw the curtains on a season of new shows.
Already open and continuing for two more weekends is Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga’s first show in its new home, the modern musical “Violet.”
This piece is about the journey of a young woman who is disfigured, and embarks on a journey by bus from her farm in Spruce Pine, North Carolina to Tulsa, Oklahoma in order to be healed. Highland Center, 107 N. Tuxedo Dr.. (423) 987-5141, ensembletheatreofchattanooga.com
Some have called F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” the Great American Novel. It’s also become an award-winning play, and it’s coming for three performances this weekend to the Robert Kirk Walker Community Theatre at the Memorial Auditorium, presented by Back Alley Productions.
According to the Back Alley folks, “‘The Great Gatsby’ is set during a hot summer during the decadent Roaring ’20s, and tells of a mysterious Long Island millionaire named Jay Gatsby. The story is seen from the perspective of Nick Carraway, a young bond salesman new to a world of extravagant wealth.”
“Fitzgerald’s words are beloved by millions,” the show’s director Kaylee Smith said. “It resonates with young and old and continues to stand as a hallmark of American literature. The cast and crew are ecstatic to have a classic in our hands and we are very excited to show the community how much passion and hard work we’ve put into this production. Even if you’ve never read the book or seen any of the movies, the compelling material will draw you in and keep you locked until the final curtain.” Showtimes are Sept. 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 20 at 2 p.m. 399 McCallie Ave. chattanoogaonstage.com
Meanwhile, over at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre, a musical version of “Sister Act,” the 1992 movie made famous by Whoopi Goldberg’s performance, opens Sept. 18, playing through Oct. 4.
According to the CTC, “Kimberly Johnson makes her CTC debut in the role of Deloris Van Cartier. Beth Gumnick plays the Mother Superior. Rudy Foster is detective and love interest Lt. Eddie Souther. The sisters of The Holy Order of the Little Sisters of Our Mother of Perpetual Faith, the Monsignor, and the gang of toughs and street denizens include actors Chris Barr, Grace Partin, Jeff Hill, Byron Francis, Garrett Henson, Fernando Guadarrama, Dawn Hendrix, Beth McClary, Tiffany Adams, Jordan Bennett, Tiffany Bulloch, Dana Cole, Hayley Graham, Kendra Gross, David Howard, Alonzo Julian, Joanna Lewis, Deborah Meeks, Jamie Newberg, Alexis Newson, Lindsay Pruitt, Lauren Rayhab and Thaddeus Taylor. 400 River St. (423) 267-8534, theatrecentre.com
Musical lovers are likely to make a habit of this one (ba-da-bum).
* * * *
Non-theatre note: If you were not Gallery Hopping, or you skipped “From the Box: 20 Years of Press Photography by Mike Wann,” you have until Oct. 31 to see his incredible black & white photography work.
Only a few plastic containers of negatives and prints were salvaged from the ravages of Katrina, but what remains is a tribute to true photographic skill. Studio Space Junk, 436 Frazier Ave.