Munster, Indiana’s Theatre at the Center is announcing its first season under the leadership of new Artistic Director Linda Fortunato.
Theatre at the Center’s 2017 season is comprised of a variety of works ranging from Broadway musicals to a Chicagoland premiere play and a holiday classic. The season opens with My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra, followed by Kander and Ebb’s Tony Award winning Cabaret. Next will be the Chicagoland premiere of The Tin Woman by Sean Grennan, then Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and closing the season is A Wonderful Life: The Musical. Jeff award-winner Fortunato will direct three of the five productions. William Underwood will serve as music director for the season.
“I’m excited to announce Theatre at the Center’s 2017 season,” said Fortunato. “In my first opportunity to choose a season, I wanted to find a variety of engaging pieces for our audience, including different genres, themes, time periods, and musical styles. Each of the shows are distinct, but all have compelling stories and are truly entertaining — a tribute to one of America’s most popular musical icons, two Tony-winning Broadway musicals, a beautiful new play, and a well-loved holiday classic. I look forward to bringing these terrific stories to life on our stage,” she added.
Leading off the season is My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra, which traces the legendary career of Frank Sinatra as four actors share more than 50 of his beloved hits. “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Chicago,” “New York, New York,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” and “That’s Life” are just some of the tunes showcased in this musical tribute to the iconic success story of Ol’ Blue Eyes. Directed and choreographed by Brenda Didier, My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra opens February 9 and continues through March 19, 2017. Sponsored by Pat Binkley.
Next up is the Tony Award winning Broadway musical Cabaret. Set at the Kit Kat Klub in 1930s Berlin, where a mischievous Emcee invites us to join cabaret singer Sally Bowles and an American writer searching for inspiration, in a world on the brink. Winner of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Original Score, this timeless classic features “Maybe This Time,” “The Money Song,” “Willkommen” and “Cabaret.” Fortunato will choreograph and direct Cabaret which opens May 4 and runs through June 4.
This summer audiences will enjoy The Tin Woman, the newest play from Sean Grennan, whose heart-warming comedy Making God Laugh delighted Theatre at the Center audiences in 2012. The Tin Woman is another beautiful blend of family, humor and hope. Inspired by a true story, Joy has had a heart transplant and is questioning her second chance in life. When she connects with the family of her donor, together they learn what it means to truly give one’s heart. Fortunato will direct this Chicagoland premiere. The Tin Woman runs July 13 through August 13, 2017.
Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score. This musical telling of Mark Twain’s treasured tale features songs and music by Roger Miller, who created such hits as “King of the Road” and “Dang Me.” Led by melodies of country, bluegrass and gospel, join the humorous and harrowing river journey of Huck and his friend Jim as they meet up with con-artists, reunite with Tom Sawyer and encounter a collection of characters which could only be dreamed up by one of America’s greatest writers. Fortunato will direct and Chris Carter will choreograph Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn which opens September 14 and continues through October 15, 2017.
And to usher in the holiday season, Theatre at the Center presents A Wonderful Life: The Musical. Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winner Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof) captures the magic of the Frank Capra holiday film. George Bailey’s Christmas Eve is transformed by an angel eager to earn his wings by showing the guiding influence one person has on so many others. Filled with the beauty of the season, Bedford Falls bursts on stage with yuletide spirit (despite Old Man Potter’s miserly plans) for a musical that applauds the true meaning of Christmas. Theatre at the Center’s Artistic Director Emeritus William Pulinsi returns to direct A Wonderful Life: The Musical which runs November 16 through December 23, 2017.
Theatre at the Center’s new Artistic Director Linda Fortunato has been nominated for five Joseph Jefferson Awards for her work as a choreographer and director. She received both the Equity and Non-Equity Jeff Award for Outstanding Choreography in the 2013-2014 season, garnering Theatre at the Center their first award for her Choreography of 42nd Street. In addition to her award-winning work on 42nd Street, Fortunato has been involved with over a dozen shows at Theatre at the Center, including choreographing Spamalot, Big Fish, A Christmas Carol, Guys and Dolls, Crazy for You, Fiddler on the Roof; performing in Lend Me a Tenor, The Diary of Anne Frank, and directing A Christmas Story.
Brenda Winstead is the resident costume designer, Barry G. Funderburg is the resident sound designer, Ann Davis is Theatre at the Center’s production manager/technical director and Richard Friedman is the General Manager.
Major support for Theatre at the Center is provided by the Community Foundation of Northwest Indiana, The Indiana Arts Commission and the Anderson Foundation.
Founded in 1991, the 410-seat Theatre at the Center is a year-round professional theater operating under an agreement with Actor’s Equity Association. The theatre is located in The Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Indiana. Theatre at the Center is the only professional theater company in Northwest Indiana, offering downtown caliber performances in an accessible venue with plenty of free parking. Theatre at the Center is located off I-80/94, just 35 minutes from downtown Chicago.
The 2017 season subscription renewals begin August 21 and new subscriptions will be available beginning October 11. Individual tickets go on sale in December.
Discounts are available for groups of 11 or more and gift certificates can also be purchased. For more information on Theatre at the Center, call the Box Office at 219-836-3255 or visit TheatreAtTheCenter.com.