CEDAR FALLS — Planning a community theater season is a little like planning a great party. The buffet should have a variety choice bites, something sparkling to serve and lots of opportunities to engage and entertain guests.
The Cedar Falls Community Theatre has plenty to serve for its upcoming season at the Oster Regent Theatre, including musicals, comedies, dramas and a holiday classic. The musical comedy romp “The Drowsy Chaperone” opens the season June 14, in keeping with the season’s theme, “Laugh, Sing, Play.”
“We didn’t want to limit ourselves. We wanted to offer a variety of plays and directors to appeal to a wide range of audiences,” said CFCT Artistic Coordinator Liane Nichols, who is a veteran director and actress.
There are several new directors this season who haven’t previously directed for CFCT, said General Manager John Luzaich. “Of the seven shows we’re presenting, we have six different directors. That’s exciting for us. We also have some good talent in the area we expect to audition.”
A good director can give an actor a shove with love, coaxing an actor into giving their best performance and building a strong ensemble cast, he said. “Our planning committee, lead by Liane, has picked shows that engage the audience and provide great opportunities for actors of all ages.”
Five-time Tony award-winning “The Drowsy Chaperone” will have Gary “Bum” Baumgartner in the director’s chair June 14-16 and 21-23. Alan Malone will direct the spellbinding story of jealousy and rivalry between composers Mozart and Antonio Salieri in “Amadeus,” Oct. 4-6 and 10-13.
Irving Berlins’ beloved show “Holiday Inn” will be on the boards Dec. 6-8 and 13-15 with Nichols at the helm. The play is based on the movie, and Nichols points out that people often confuse the movies “Holiday Inn” and “White Christmas.”
“Holiday Inn” was released in 1942, while the movie “White Christmas,” a loose remake of “Holiday Inn,” was released in 1954. Both movies starred Bing Crosby, and the movies featured Irving Berlin songs, including the evergreen “White Christmas.”
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“What’s interesting is that they were movies first before being turned into stage musicals. Audiences will see a lot of differences in the stage version of ‘Holiday Inn,’” Nichols noted.
Michelle Rathe will direct “The Glitter Girls” Feb. 14-16 and Feb. 21-23. The quirky comedy has been described as “Steel Magnolias” meets “Survivor,” as a member of the “Sister of the Gleam and Sparkle” club is deciding who will inherit her money.
The CFCT Studio Sampler series will feature Bob Filippone and a youthful cast in the energetic musical “School of Rock” Aug. 3, 4, 9 and 10. The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is about a rock star wannabe and substitute teacher who turns his students into a rock band.
J’Kalein Madison will direct two staged readings. First is the Neil Simon comedy “The Prisoner of 2nd Avenue” Sept 13-15, about a middle-aged man who is out of a job, stuck with noisy neighbors, a robbery and a dying psychiatrist. Madison also will helm “Souvenir” March 27-29, based on a true story told in a 2016 Meryl Streep film about the career of Florence Foster Jenkins, a wealthy socialite who thinks she can sing (but does it so terribly she becomes a hit).
Popular veteran performers Rosemary and Daniel Gast have been cast in the show, which is told from the pianist’s viewpoint. “Daniel plays the piano and sings, and Rosemary is an incredible singer and actress, so it’s going to be a fantastic show,” Luzaich said.
CFCT’s “On Goes the Show” capital and endowment campaign is expected to wrap up in the coming months, Nichols says. Funds will be used to rework the Main Street entrance, update flooring, lighting and sound, and improve mechanical systems in the historic Oster Regent Theatre.
For ticket information, including season tickets, call 277-5283, visit the box office at 103 Main St., Cedar Falls, or visit www.MyCFCT.org