Make way for music and magicMovie musicals will be big this summer at the Sheldon Theater. Not only will they be featured in the annual summer film series, but a well-known 1980s movie — “9 to 5” — also is this year’s Phoenix Theatre summer musical.
By: Ruth Nerhaugen, The Republican Eagle
Movie musicals will be big this summer at the Sheldon Theater. Not only will they be featured in the annual summer film series, but a well-known 1980s movie — “9 to 5” — also is this year’s Phoenix Theatre summer musical.
Movie fans voted via the Sheldon website and Facebook on the theme for the annual summer movie series. After selecting “movie musicals,” they voted for their favorite nine films.
Thursday is movie night during the summer months, except for the weeks in late June and July when the Phoenix Theatre’s live summer musical is in rehearsal and in production. All seats are $5; fees may apply.
“They’re good musicals,” Sheldon Director Sean Dowse said. With the new projector and sound system, “They’ll look and sound great.” Typically the films draw up to 150 people, Dowse said. When “Gone With the Wind” was screened last January, however, about 300 came to see it on the big screen.
Movie nights begin at 7 p.m. June 7 with “West Side Story,” a 1961 film starring George Chakiris and Natalie Wood that won 10 Academy Awards. Inspired by the classic “Romeo and Juliet,” it is set in 1950s New York City, where rival gangs fight for turf.
The music is by Leonard Bernstein, with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Among memorable songs are “Tonight,” “Maria” and “I Feel Pretty.”
The rest of the series: June 14 — “Jailhouse Rock” (1957) with Elvis Presley and a soundtrack integrated by Leiber and Stoller; June 21 — “My Fair Lady” (1964) with Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison, music by Lerner and Loewe; July 26 — “White Christmas” (1954) with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, songs of Irving Berlin.
Aug. 2 — “Phantom of the Opera” (2004), modern version with music of Andrew Lloyd Weber; Aug. 9 — “Grease” (1978), with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, based on the stage musical by Warren Casey and Jim Jacobs; Aug. 16 — “Oklahoma!” (1955) with Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae, a Rodgers and Hammerstein production; Aug. 23 — “The King and I” (1956), with Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner, another Rodgers and Hammerstein spectacular; Aug. 30 — “The Sound of Music” (1965), with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, also by Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Magic takes over the Sheldon stage at 7 p.m. June 16, when Red Wing’s favorite local magician, Kristoffer Olson, returns with another “Evening of Comedy and Magic.” The show is suitable for all ages.
It’ll be his 10th summer magic show, Dowse said, although Olson missed last year because of a scheduling conflict. The Red Wing native, whose earliest performances were at local venues, is living in St. Paul. He graduated last weekend with a master’s degree in business administration from the University of St. Thomas.
Olson’s performances at corporate and other events around the Midwest typically are heavy on audience participation, which makes his shows an unpredictable mixture of magic and humor.
This year, Joel Ward will be coming from Hollywood, Calif., to join Olson on stage. Ward regularly performs for such celebrities as Cameron Diaz and Johnny Depp, plus he’s been seen on Comedy Central and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Tickets are available now at $15 for adults, $9 for students, plus fees. Videos of both magicians can be found on the Sheldon Website, www.sheldontheatre.org.
The annual Phoenix musical will be staged at 7 p.m. July 12-14 and 20-21, plus there’s a 2 p.m. matinee July 22.
Dolly Parton wrote the music and lyrics for “9 to 5: The Musical,” which was made into a movie in 1980. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin joined Parton in what Sheldon officials describe as “a hilarious story of friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era.”
The three unlikely friends conspire to take control of the company for which they work, and learn that there’s nothing they can’t do — even in a man’s world.
Dowse will be directing the production.
“I like doing musicals. They’re fun,” he explained. And this one has fun music, he noted. “I’ve always been a Dolly Parton music fan.”
The stage version has a half dozen male and female leads plus an ensemble. “I usually like a large ensemble,” Dowse said. Costumes from the 1970s-80s will add to the fun.
Tryouts were held this past week; a cast should be posted on the Sheldon website in a few days, Dowse said.
Rob Schmidtke, a school bus driver who free-lances in the music program, will conduct a full pit. Anyone interested in performing in the pit orchestra should call the Sheldon.
Music director will be Dawn Conroy-Pretto, a newcomer to Red Wing who also is music director at First Covenant Church.
Tickets to the magic show and the Phoenix production are available online or by calling the Sheldon at 651-388-8700 or 800-899-5759. Movie tickets can be purchased at the box office, 443 W. Third St.