The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

March 8, 2013

Head on down, head on down to SUMMER THEATER

‘Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’ starts season

Star Beacon

ASHTABULA —  Ignore the snow.

Before you know, Straw Hat Theatre will be back in operation.

Plans for summer theater at the Ashtabula Arts Center are under way at the outdoor stage with a line-up of family-friendly musical productions. Since its early days on the beaches of Lake Shore Park and Walnut Beach, Straw Hat Theatre has been bringing summer fun to northeast Ohio.

This year’s season opens on June 7 with Broadway's greatest farce. A light, fast-paced, witty, irreverent and one of the funniest musicals ever written. ”A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, takes comedy back to its roots, combining situations from time-tested, 2,000-year-old comedies of Roman playwright Plautus with the infectious energy of classic vaudeville. The plot twists and turns with cases of mistaken identity, slamming doors, and a showgirl or two. Performances will be held June 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22.

“Disney’s The Little Mermaid JR.” is based on the Hans Christian Andersen story and adapted from Disney’s 2008 Broadway production the Disney film that features the hit songs “Part of Your World,” “She’s in Love,” and the Oscar-winning “Under the Sea.” This familiar story takes place in a magical kingdom fathoms below the sea. The beautiful young mermaid Ariel longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. But first, she'll have to defy her father King Triton, make a deal with the evil sea witch Ursula and convince Prince Eric that she’s the girl with the enchanting voice. Performances will be held June 28, 29, 30, July 4, 5, 6.

Harvard's beloved blonde takes the stage by pink storm in “Legally Blonde the Musical,” a fun, upbeat story about self-discovery. Elle Woods appears to have it all. Her life is turned upside-down, however, when her boyfriend dumps her so he can start getting serious about his life and attend Harvard Law. Determined to get him back, Elle uses her charm to get into Harvard Law. At school, she struggles with peers, professors and Warner Huntington. With the help of Paulette and Emmett, though, Elle quickly realizes her potential and sets out to prove herself to the world. Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture, performances will be held July 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27.

Move on down the Road! Winner of 7 Tony awards including Best Musical, “The Wiz” is the beloved new Broadway musical version of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum. Dorothy's adventures in the Land of Oz are set to a dazzling, lively mixture of rock, gospel, and soul! This final production of the Straw Hat Theatre season will send you dancing into fall with a song in your heart! Performances will be held August 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17.

All Straw Hat Theatre performances begin at 8 p.m.

For tickets or season subscriptions call the box office at 964-3396. Individual show tickets are $14 adults, $12 seniors and students and $11 children age 12 and under. Or save $2 per ticket when you purchase tickets in advance. Advance sale tickets must be purchased by 4 p.m. on the day of the show or by noon on Saturday for Saturday and Sunday performances. A season subscription will give you four discount price admissions to the show or shows of your choice.Subscriptions are $43.20 adults, $36 seniors and students and $32.40 for children age 12 and under.