The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

September 21, 2012

A new season of theater

‘Willy Wonka’starts Oct. 5 at arts center

By MARK TODD - mtodd@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — The Ashtabula Arts Center’s G.B. Community Theatre will open its annual theater season Oct. 5 with a show by kids and for kids.

The timeless story of the world-famous candy man and his quest to find an heir comes to life in “Willy Wonka Jr!” Based on the book “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl, the play features the songs from the classic family film ”Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”

“Willy Wonka Jr.” will play on Oct.r 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14. Special event pricing will save children under age 12 $1 off the student ticket price.

Following the performance on Oct. 14, both kids and parents can take a backstage tour and participate in “trick or treat with the cast.”  Tickets are $5 each and must be purchased in advance.

The second show of the season has a wildly funny duel erupting when an out-of-work actor moves into the apartment previously owned and now haunted by the ghost of the greatest Hamlet actor of all time in “I Hate Hamlet” by Paul Rudnick. This comical spooky tale takes the stage on Oct. 26, 27, 28 and Nov. 2, 3, 4, 9, 10.

Folloing Ballet Theatre Ashtabula’s annual production of “The Nutcracker” in December, G. B. Community Theatre will return to the stage with “All Shook Up” on Ja.n 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25 and 26. Inspired by and featuring the songs of Elvis Presley, you’ll be jumpin' out of your blue suede shoes with such classics as “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Don't Be Cruel.”

Livening up the mid-winter doldrums will be “Crimes of the Heart” by Beth Henley,

perfomed on Feb. 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23 Teeming with humanity and humor, “Crimes of the Heart” examines the plight of three Mississippi sisters betrayed by their passions.

The final show of the season, “Our Town,” a classic by Thornton Wilder, follows the Webb and Gibbs families in the small town of Grover’s Corners as their children fall in love, marry, and eventually — in one of the most famous scenes in American theatre — die. Edward Albee called “Our Town” “…the finest play ever written by an American.” This production will wrap up the season on April 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14.

G.B. Community Theatre shows are performed on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are: Adults $14, Seniors/Students $12 or save $2 per ticket when you purchase tickets in advance.  Advance sales must be purchased prior to 4 p.m. on the day of the show or by 4 p.m. Saturday for Sunday performances. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Ashtabula Arts Center box office or by phone at 964-3396.

Season subscriptions are also now on sale. Several different packages are available.  Price for an “adult grand” subscription that gives one ticket to each of the five season shows is $51.  Price for an “adult flex” package which gives five tickets that can be used for any one or more G.B. Community Theatre productions is $56.  Other price categories for seniors and students are also available.  A “master plan” package for any age offers one ticket to each of the five G. B. Community Theatre main stage shows, one ticket to “The Nutcracker,” one ticket to the Spring Dance Concert, one ticket to the Children’s Youth production, and one ticket to each of next summer’s Straw Hat Theatre productions. Cost of the Master Plan is $108 each.  Ashtabula Arts Center members receive an additional 10 percent off of subscription packages.

G. B. Community Theatre will also be once again be offering the popular “dinner before the show” prior to select performances.  Seating for the set menu dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $16 plus the price of your theater ticket. Dinner tickets must be purchased by noon on the Wednesday prior to the event.  However seating is limited and dinner tickets often sell out before the deadline.  Dinner tickets should be ordered well in advance.  Dates for this season’s “dinner before the show” events are Oct 6 prior to “Willy Wonka Jr.,” Nov. 3 prior to “I Hate Hamlet,” Jan. 19 prior to “All Shook Up,” Feb. 16 prior to “Crimes of the Heart,” and April 6 prior to “Our Town.”