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Season Info
Colony Curtain Call!
The Newsletter of the Colony Theatre Company: Spring 2003

HIGHLIGHTS

Mixed emotions. Classic drama, jazzy musical and star-powered comedy highlight 2003 - 2004, 28th Anniversary Season

The Nerd
by Larry Shue
June 7 - July 6, 2003

Toys in the Attic
by Lillian Hellman
August 16 - September 14, 2003

Gunmetal Blues
book by Scott Wentworth
Music and Lyrics by Craig Bohmler and Marion Adler
October 18 - November 16, 2003

Clutter
by Mark Saltzman
February 7 - March 7, 2004

Play: 5: To Be Annouced
April 10 - May 9, 2004

The shows included in our upcoming subscription season will stimulate every emotion, as they range from a side-splitting comedy to a serious family drama to a film noir-inspired musical to a moving world premiere based on a true story.

Opening the season will be the classic American comedy The Nerd by Larry Shue. Set in Terre Haute, Indiana, The Nerd looks in on the life of a successful architect who is paid a surprise visit by the man who saved his life in Vietnam. At first thrilled by the chance to repay a debt, the architect's joy fades fast as it becomes apparent that his visitor is a hopeless nerd, a bumbling oaf with no social sense, little intelligence, and less tact. As his life is turned upside-down, the otherwise mild-mannered host is forced to find a way to get his new friend out of his life in a hilariously chaotic chain of events that will leave you breathless with laughter. 

About The Nerd, The Milwaukee Journal raves, "Shue delivers a neatly crafted package that uses some classic comic forms to bring the audience to its knees, laughing." Variety adds, "the audience almost never stops laughing---handkerchiefs wiping away tears of merriment."

Playing the title character of The Nerd will be acclaimed actor French Stewart, perhaps best-known for his starring role in the Emmy Award-winning television series 3rd Rock From the Sun. A longtime member of the Cast Theatre in Hollywood, Stewart is a veteran of stage, film and television, and can currently be seen as Inspector Gadget in Disney's Inspector Gadget 2. We are thrilled to feature this comic genius on our stage in this zany comedy classic. 

The Nerd will be directed by David Rose, whose stellar Colony credits include Fuddy Meers, The Man Who Came To Dinner, You Can’t Take It With You, Peccadillo, and The Front Page. The Nerd will begin previewing on June 4 and will play through July 6. 

The Nerd will be followed by Lillian Hellman's Toys in the Attic, a classic American drama that reveals the intrigues and dysfunctions within a quiet Southern family. Two sisters are visited by their ne'er-do-well brother, who has suddenly, and inexplicably, become wealthy. Wanting to believe their formerly irresponsible brother has finally gotten on the right track and earned an honest fortune, the sisters are unwittingly carried along a dark journey that forces them to accept some disturbing truths about their brother and themselves in this powerful drama about unspoken issues and familial deceit. 

The New York World Telegram and Sun called Toys in the Attic, "Brilliant. Lillian Hellman's most hellishly hypnotic drama…a shock you can't shed." Not seen in Los Angeles in 20 years, Toys in the Attic is a riveting, haunting drama about the need we all have to be needed and the devastating effects of betrayal and jealousy on an entire family. Directed by award-winning director Jessica Kubzansky, Toys in the Attic will begin previewing on August 13 and will play through September 14. 

The third show of the 2003-2004 season will be Gunmetal Blues, a sleek musical in the style of the classic detective films of the '40s, as a private eye searches an unidentified city for a lost blonde. In the tradition of our hugely popular 1991 production City of Angels, Gunmetal Blues is another sultry musical mystery with an unforgettable score. With book by Scott Wentworth and music and lyrics by Craig Bohmler and Marion Adler, this film noir-inspired show carries on the best traditions of tongue-in-cheek detective stories, complete with a hard-boiled private eye and a piano-playing lounge singer. As our flawed, cynical hero searches the city streets for a missing blonde, he encounters a double-dealing world of smokey bars, rain-slicked streets, and more blondes. With torchy, swiveling melodies, Gunmetal Blues features a simmering, jazzy, bluesy score that echos the mysterious and romantic themes of the show, as our hero is revealed to be on a desperate quest for lost love in a world littered with broken hearts. Featuring fast-paced action sequences and ingenious plotting, Gunmetal Blues will take you on an adventure through a city of mystery, music and demolished dreams. Gunmetal Blues will be directed by acclaimed director (and Artistic Director of The Laguna Playhouse) Andrew Barnicle, and will begin previewing on October 15, playing through November 16.

Following the musical will be Clutter, a World Premiere by up-and-coming local playwright Mark Saltzman. Clutter tells the true story of the infamous Collyer brothers, the world’s most famous packrats. Two shut-ins in New York in the '40s who became the ultimate urban legends of their time, the Collyers were rich brothers who suffered from a fear of the outside world. They shut themselves into their Fifth Avenue mansion and surrounded themselves with junk. When they died, the authorities moved in and unearthed both the mess and the real story of the Collyer brothers; a story of family, fear, and obsession. Through the use of flashbacks, Saltzman weaves a beautiful story and goes beyond the tabloid legend to reveal the men whose very existence continues to mystify historians. Clutter is the funny, touching, tender, and often heart-wrenching story of two souls who came to symbolize the very society that they feared. Clutter will begin previewing on February 4 and will play through March 7, 2004.

A fifth show is still to be announced. The dates of the final show of the season will be April 7 through May 9, 2004. Stay tuned for this special surprise! If you renewed for next season, we thank you for your patience and you will be receiving your tickets in the mail soon!

To subscribe to our 2003-2004 Season, please call the Colony at (818) 558-7000 or visit our website subscription page.
 

Donna McKechnie Wins Over Colony Audiences

Legendary singer/dancer Donna McKechnie wowed audiences during the Los Angeles premiere of her one-woman show, Inside the Music, which was the final production of our 2002-2003 subscription season. Critics and audiences agreed: this Broadway legend hasn’t lost a step. The LA Weekly praised Inside the Music as “a delightful cornucopia of show tunes and show talk.” The Los Angeles Times aptly noted that “McKechnie is the very picture of grace, class and determination. And her smooth, dusky voice is wonderfully expansive.”

In this autobiographical show, with text by Christopher Durang, McKechnie traced her illustrious career, taking the audience along on a journey from her Midwestern roots to Broadway stardom. 

Chronicling her rise from chorus girl to Tony Award winner for her star-making role in A Chorus Line, McKechnie blended stories with song and dance, illustrating her passion for musical theatre and her resolve to never give up on her dreams, even when a career-threatening bout of arthritis nearly crippled her. 

Donna McKechnie proved the adage: some things do get better with age.

Fuddy Meers Divides As It Conquers

We are often reminded that theatre is, in fact, an art form. And some art is designed to confront the viewer, to challenge and to evoke emotion and thought, which is exactly what our recent production of Fuddy Meers did. 

The show, written by David Lindsay-Abaire, looks in on a day in the life of Claire, an amnesiac who, during the course of this one extraordinary day, finds out some amazing but disturbing truths about her life and the people she thought she could trust.  A pot-smoking son, a husband with a mysterious past, an escaped convict, an obsessed prison guard, and a potty-mouthed sock puppet are among the characters Claire runs into while she desperately tries to put together the pieces of her disjointed life.  The Daily News heralded, “scripted by David Lindsay-Abaire and directed by Colony veteran David Rose, this madcap journey through one day in the life of amnesiac housewife Claire combines the elements of absurdism and farce, anchored by a rock bed of reality that elevates the production far above the level of most screwball comedies.”

Admittedly a detour from typical Colony fare, Producing Director Barbara Beckley comments on why she chose Fuddy Meers: “Fuddy had played to great acclaim off-Broadway and at theatres across the country, but had never been produced locally, and I'm always looking for good plays that our audiences haven't seen. While it was offbeat, with stronger language than the plays we usually do, I chose it because I thought it was very, very funny, and because there was a real sweetness to the central character. Most important, the play ended with a strong sense of reconciliation, redemption, and new hope, themes close to my Colony heart. I was totally unprepared for the reactions we got -- I have never seen a play so polarize our audiences. People either loved it or hated it. There was no middle ground, and no common denominator of age, gender, educational background, theatregoing sophistication -- anything. It just hit people in a very personal way. Often there would be a few audience members sitting in the lobby during the second act, not leaving because their husbands or wives were sitting in the theatre roaring with laughter, just loving it. And I'd see them leave at the end, arguing heatedly about whether it was brilliant or terrible. I take it all personally, so it was exhilarating and painful at the same time." 

Painful. Exhilerating. Personal. Just like theatre. Just like life.
 
 
Producing Director
Barbara Beckley

Managing Director
Amanda Diamond

Administrative Director
Catherine Springer

Special Programs Director
Richard Ford

Box Office Manager
Abbie Bundy

Marketing/Public Relations
David Elzer/Demand PR

Advertising & Marketing Associate
Catherine Powell

Artistic Advisory Board
Nick DeGruccio
Todd Nielsen
Robert O'Reilly
David Rose
Scott Segal
Michael David Wadler

Board of Trustees
Leon Alexander
Barbara Beckley
Stephen Blum
Priscilla Davis
Amanda Diamond
J. Kermit Floyd
Jan McElwee
Nonie Lann
Gary S. Maier
David Rose, Chair
Michael David Wadler

The Colony Theatre Company is a member of:
Theatre LA
Burbank Chamber of Commerce
Theatre Communications Group

The Colony Theatre Company
818-558-7000
FAX 818-558-7110
Email: boxoffice@colonytheatre.org

Visit our web site at WWW.COLONYTHEATRE.ORG

Colony Curtain Call!
Catherine Springer, Editor & Writer