With the tagline “Conquering Covid One Show at a Time,” Tibbits is forging ahead with a new professional summer theatre season, keeping the safety of all in mind while becoming one of the few theatres to produce a live summer theatre season.
Theatre staff has had to reevaluate everything about the season in light of the executive order and current environment. Tibbits will now offer seven shows starting in July, presented as fully-staged reader’s theatre and concert-style performances with small casts. While the new season still includes “Man of La Mancha” and “Love Letters” from the original plan, it now also offers a variety of plays and music that will change almost weekly. A very small company featuring many Tibbits favorites will demonstrate their professional versatility and put the season emphasis on the performances rather than sets and costumes.
The season will open on July 9 with “Sing Happy,” the best Broadway hits from the past 50 years. In this opening show, the core group of professional actors will showcase their favorite songs from Broadway—melodies that are guaranteed to lift spirits! This cabaret-style performance will bring selections from favorite musicals that the audience has loved for years as well as some new ones from recent shows that are still in New York or on tour. “Sing Happy” will run July 9-11 at 7pm.
Next, the family-friendly “A Popped Potpourri” will roll what everyone loves from the traditional Tibbits Popcorn Theatre productions into one feature show. This big cornucopia of fun—a grand mix of family-friendly fare— will delight both young and old. The show comes to life on stage with musical favorites from popular kids’ movies along with such Aesop’s Fables as “The Lion and the Mouse,” “The Tortoise and the Hare” and “The Ant and the Grasshopper.” A true salute to Popcorn Theatre, it will even have a few classic cartoon shorts shown on the big screen. The show offers an earlier start time and will run July 16-18 at 6pm and July 18 at 2pm.
The professional company will recreate the Golden Age of Radio with “When Radio was King,” which plays July 23-25 at 7pm. Enjoy the thrilling crime-stopping adventures of the Shadow, sing along with the Andrews Sisters, chuckle with Fibber McGee and Molly and laugh out loud with “Who’s On First?” It’s all here in this fully-staged reader’s theater production—snippets of the news, singing commercials, moments of soap opera–all accompanied with live sound effects.
Letters exchanged over a lifetime create a unique and imaginative piece of theatre with “Love Letters.” As a special treat, each performance will feature different Tibbits Summer Theatre alumni. The lifelong correspondence of Andrew and Melissa begins with childhood thank you notes and postcards, then moves into letters through boarding school, college and their adult lives navigating their marriages, children and daily struggles. Along with 7pm performances July 30, 31, and Aug. 1 there will also be a 2pm matinee on Aug. 1.
The only show that will run two weekends is “Man of La Mancha,” one of the longest-running Broadway musicals of its time. This concert version of the show still conveys the poignant story set in the context of the Spanish Inquisition. An imprisoned Miguel de Cervantes gets his fellow inmates to enact the story of his novel, “Don Quixote,” about an aged nobleman who declares himself a “knight errant” out to do battle for good and the love of a fair maiden. Through the story, all the prisoners – at least for a moment – are transformed. Featuring such stirring songs as “Dulcinea” and “The Impossible Dream,” performances will be Aug 6, 7, 14, and 15 at 7pm and Aug 8 and 13 at 2pm.
“What Mad Pursuit,” Aug. 20-22 at 7pm, spins Noel Coward’s comic short story into an entertaining performances with some 45 roles all played by one small intrepid cast. In the story, Evan Lorrimer, a famous English writer, is on a successful book tour in America. A wealthy patron invites him to spend a quiet weekend at her summer house. Against his better judgment, he goes—and gets anything but what was promised. He meets a colorful group of show folk and socialites. Songs by Coward add to the fun in this fully-staged reader’s theater production.
The season will close with “It Started with Eve” Aug 27-29 at 7pm, a reflection on relationships through the decades. Four short one-act plays by Mark Twain (adapted by Ron Fitzgerald), Dorothy Parker, Ferenc Molnar and David Ives all look at love—how it changes (or not!)— whether you are in the Garden of Eden, a Pullman car on your honeymoon, backstage at the theatre or at a high-end coffee shop. These short plays, presented as a fully-staged reader’s theater production, prove good things come in small packages.
Summer theatre would not be possible without the generous support of the season sponsors. Main sponsors include Coldwater Board of Public Utilities; Parrish Excavating, Inc.; and Frederick Family Dental. Additional sponsors include Coldwater Orthodontics; Dr. Jon & Seibra Herbener; Stan and Judy Bushouse; Great Lakes Chiropractic; Honor Credit Union; Coldwater Exchange Club; Matthew C. Christopher, DDS; and Vested Risk Strategies.
Tibbits staff is in the process of reaching out to all who have tickets for the season or individual shows. Once those ticket changes have been accommodated, tickets will go on sale at Tibbits.org for all shows. Seating will reflect social distancing recommendations. Prices range from $10-$25 with discounts for students, groups, and Tibbits members. For more information, visit Tibbits.org or call 517-278-6029.