LCT season mixes old favorites with new scripts

Lawrence Community Theatre's 2002-2003 season is book-ended by a couple of crowd pleasers.

The season opens with "Always � Patsy Cline," a biographical revue featuring the singer's hits, and "Kiss Me Kate," a show of Cole Porter music. In between are comedies, drama and a family Christmas show.

"(Selecting the plays for the season is) like fitting the pieces of a puzzle together," said Mary Doveton, the theater's managing/artistic director.

Doveton said the selection committee tries to create a season that will provide a variety of theatrical styles and a range of roles for a range of ages. They also must pick works that can be performed within the theater's limited space.

Here is the new season:

� "Always � Patsy Cline," by Ted Swindley, September-October.

"Patsy Cline's music never goes out of popularity," Doveton said. "� But you can't do a show like this without knowing you have some castable Patsys in the community."

Annette Cook, who has appeared as Dolly in "Hello, Dolly!" and Golda in "Fiddler on the Roof" at LCT, will play Cline. The score includes "I Fall to Pieces," "Crazy" and "Your Cheatin' Heart."

� "The Christmas Schooner," by John Reeger and Julie Shannon, November-December.

The musical is based on the true story of a turn-of-the-century Michigan shipping company captain who braves deadly winter weather to bring Christmas trees to homesick German immigrants.

"There's humor, tragedy," Doveton said. "It's a warm family-type Christmas show with beautiful music, from sea chanteys to ballads to holiday music."

� "Funny Money," a farce by Ray Cooney, January.

"We've found that for our January slot, after the holidays, people just want to sit back and laugh," she said. "There's mistaken identities, chases, dead bodies � it's just fun."

� "Miracles," by Kansas City playwright Frank Higgins, February-March.

LCT is the first nonprofessional theater to get the rights to perform Higgins' drama.

"The show was just given a tryout in New York City around Easter and now (the playwright's) doing revisions," Doveton said.

The play revolves around three characters: an autistic teen-age girl, her teacher and her father. The girl has written a book of poetry and her father needs to give his permission before it can published. However, because the girl communicates through facilitation techniques administered by her teacher, the book's authorship is questioned.

� "Over the River and Through the Woods," by Joe DiPietro, April.

The comedy is about two sets of grandparents whose children have moved away but whose grandson still lives in the same town. When the grandson announces he is going to move, too, the grandparents scheme to keep him nearby.

� "Kiss Me Kate," by Cole Porter and Samuel Spewack, June.

The play mixes onstage Shakespeare with off-stage lovers, gangsters and actors. The score features "Another Openin', Another Show," "Wonderbar" and "Brush Up on Your Shakespeare."

"It mixes the best of Shakespeare and Cole Porter," Doveton said. "It has a large cast with lots of acting opportunities."


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