As the 2011-12 season wraps up at the Ritz Theatre, a new season of shows is lined up and ready to start in September. Recently, executive director Michael Strong sat down to unveil the schedule.
"I think there's something for everybody in here, as we try to do every year. This year, we added Christian music. We've got country, theater, gospel music, tribute bands, music, comedy and a couple other surprises sprinkled into the season here and there."
Some features are to return for the coming year, such as the Read It - See It Series, in conjunction with Tiffin-Seneca Public Library.
Strong said the family films have been especially popular because children's stories are a short read and the entire family can get involved with a small amount of money. As in the past, all seats are $3.
Films scheduled so far include: "Where the Wild Things Are," Oct. 28; "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," Nov. 18; "Murder on the Orient Express," Dec. 16; "Charlotte's Web," Jan. 20; "Moneyball," Feb. 17; "The Indian in the Cupboard," March 17; "Hugo," April 28; and "How to Train your Dragon," May 26.
The Arts in Education Discovery Series for school classes is back with theatrical productions that reflect topics and concepts taught in school classrooms (see box). Tiffin Metal Products Foundation again is the sponsor for the Discovery Series.
Discovery Series rundown
"Diary of Anne Frank," 10 a.m. Oct. 12. Based on the true account of a Holocaust victim, this one-hour version of Anne Frank's story brings to life the extraordinary measures taken to survive in a time of prejudice, violence and social upheaval. Grades 8-12.
ArcATTACK!, 10 a.m. Oct. 25. Founded in 2005, ArcATTACK! is a multimedia performance art troupe that created the original singing Tesla Coils. The show was among the 2010 Top 10 finalists on "America's Got Talent." This presentation explores scientific facts and theories through audience participation and focuses on key historical figures. Grades: 4-8.
"Velveteen Rabbit," 1 p.m. Jan. 8. Margery Williams' literary classic is brought to life by Enchantment Theatre Co. With large-scale puppets, masks, magic and an original musical score, the company presents a charming tale of love and devotion. Grades K-4.
"Ugly Duckling" and "Tortoise and the Hare," 1 p.m. March 19. Knowing only rejection, The Ugly Duckling is treated as an outsider, so he goes out into the wild alone on a search for others who will love him for who he is. Hans Christian Anderson's tale teaches students the lesson of accepting others. The second offering is Aesop's famous story of the race between the tortoise and the hare, best known for the moral that "slow and steady wins the race." Grades K-3.
All tickets in the series are $4.
Also continuing is the Friday Night Live Series, which begins in October and runs through May. These concerts in The National Theatre at The Ritz are to feature "an eclectic selection of artists in an unplugged performance environment."
The dates are Oct. 5, Nov. 2, Dec. 7, Jan. 4, Feb. 1, March 1, April 5, May 3. All seats remain at $10.
"I just love that series. There are people that just buy tickets for that. They just love it. It's been called 'the best show for the price in northwest Ohio,'" Strong said.
As usual, The Ritz season is to include four productions by The Ritz Players and one by the Ritz Teen Thespian Guild. Ticket prices and sponsors have not been finalized, but they will be set by the time the brochures are printed and subscriptions go on sale July 16.
Flex subscriptions begin July 30 and single-event tickets are to go on sale Aug. 6. New brochures are to be mailed July 9.
Curtain time is 7:30 p.m for all evening productions and 2 p.m. for matinees, unless otherwise noted.
During December, The Ritz is to host concerts by Tiffin University, Heidelberg University and Tuba Christmas, but these are not part of the main season.
June's summer theater camp also will be back with registration set for Jan. 28. A few programs may be added to the schedule when open dates and financial resources are available. Shows on the main stage for 2012-13 begin in September.
"It will be a busy September for us," Strong said. "The season opens with the Nobodies of Comedy, which is unusual, because they usually appear in January, but they've been so successful we've decided to add another show."
The Nobodies of Comedy are to appear Sept. 8 and Jan. 26. These shows are intended for mature audiences and feature comedians most people are not aware of yet.
Clint Black appeared at The Ritz as an add-on in 2004, but he is to return as part of the season this year at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28.
With nearly two dozen No. 1 hit singles and many Top 5 and Top 10 hits, Black has established a reputation as a songwriter and performer. Favorites from his collection include "A Better Man," "Killin' Time" and "Desperado."
Michael W. Smith, "possibly the man who defines Christian music," is to follow Clint Black at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29.
Dozens of his inspirational songs, such as "Place in This World" have generated interest in the genre and attracted a worldwide audience.
The Ritz Players are to stage "The Diary of Anne Frank" at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12, 13 and 20 and 2 p.m. Oct. 21.
Adapted from the classic book by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, the drama portrays the courage and spirit of a young Jewish girl trying to understand the cruelty of war. The Frank family and a few other characters share a secret hiding place for nearly two years. Anne's diary comes to life with the optimism and faith of a girl who continues to believe "people are really good at heart."
Tickets are $11 for adults, $7 for students.
Beatlemania Now is to invade the stage at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27. Return to the 1960s as these performers pay tribute to The Beatles and the start of the "British Invasion" of rock music.
"They've played on Broadway. The New York Daily News called them 'extraordinary,' so that's good enough for me," Strong said. "It's a must-see, must-hear."
The Ritz Teen Thespian Guild is to present "Auntie Mame" at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9-10 and 2 p.m. Nov. 11. Youthful actors from area high schools are to present this semi-autobiographical comedy based on a 1955 novel by Patrick Dennis.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students.
"It's a nice big cast. It's a comedy to get the kids to lighten up a little bit after doing such heavy work as the last couple times," Strong said, referring to past productions of "Our Town" and "The Crucible."
Chicago is to appear for a Thursday performance at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15.
Formed in 1967 in Chicago, this self-described "rock and roll band with horns" had a steady stream of hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s, compiled on albums with no titles. Second only to The Beach Boys in Billboard's singles and albums chart success among American bands, Chicago is one of the longest-running and most successful rock groups in history.
Their hits include "Saturday in the Park," and "Hard to Say I'm Sorry."
"It's one of those bands that has a core group in the rhythm section and the horn players swap in and out. ... I don't know how many Grammys they've won," Strong said.
The Osmonds' Christmas Show is to brighten the holiday season at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13.
Brothers Merrill, Jay and Jimmy are to present classic songs in their own smooth style. The veteran performers have appeared worldwide during their lengthy careers.
"It'll be a fun night. ... I've heard great things about it," Strong said.
Toledo Symphony Orchestra is to return at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22. In its 68th season, the Toledo Symphony continues to grow in artistic quality and relevance, performing medleys of familiar tunes, unfamiliar but expressive selections, stand alone works of unsurpassed beauty and sing-along holiday classics.
Nelson Illusions, coming 7:30 p.m. Jan. 12, is a one-of-a-kind theatrical spectacle that combines unusual, original illusions with award winning, magic.
All seats are $10.
"It's a family. ... It's not one of those cirqu du something, but they are amazing," Strong said.
Seen in 32 countries and more than 40 television shows and films, the show carries more than 15,000
pounds of equipment, effects and illusions, including an elegant floating woman.
Warm up with laughter as Nobodies of Comedy make a winter appearance at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26.
Fans who like the September show can get another dose of adult humor with more up-and-coming stand-up performers.
"Man of La Mancha" is The Ritz Players' winter musical. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15, 16 and 23 and 2 p.m. Feb. 24.
This play-within-a-play is based on Cervantes' classic tale, "Don Quixote." The main character is a dying old man whose impossible dream takes over his mind. His dream is everyman's dream, and his search for fulfillment is everyman's great adventure.
Somehow, the footlights disappear and time is telescoped as the "Man of La Match" speaks for humankind.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students.
Direct from the Big Apple, Neil Berg's 100 Years of Broadway at 7:30 p.m. March 22 is to include a cast of five notable Broadway stars, accompanied by an all-star New York band.
A renowned composer and lyricist, Berg presents arrangements of Broadway classics with selections from Broadway's newest hit shows. This musical revue features the actual stars of musicals such as "The Phantom of the Opera," "Les Miserables," "Cats," "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Jekyll & Hyde."
The resident contemporary dance company at The Ritz, trideaDANCE, is to return at 7:30 p.m. April 20 for its seventh annual spring performance.
The all-new program is to feature an assortment of performers from throughout Ohio, including young dancers from Tiffin and the area.
The Ritz Players are to present "Five Women Wearing the Same Dress" at 7:30 p.m. May 10, 11 and 18 and 2 p.m. May 19.
The setting for this comedy by Alan Ball is an ostentatious wedding reception at a Tennessee estate. Five reluctant, identically-clad bridesmaids hide out in an upstairs bedroom, each with her own reason to avoid the proceedings below.
As the afternoon wears on, these five women joyously discover a common bond.
Tickets are $11 for adults, $7 for students.
Closing out the season is "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" at 7:30 p.m. July 12, 13 and 20, and 2 p.m. July 21.
The Ritz Players are to stage this unlikely musical with unlikely heroes. It is a tale of overachievers' angst through the experience of six adolescent outsiders vying for the spelling championship of a lifetime.
Overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves, the students learn winning isn't everything and losing doesn't necessarily make you a loser.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students.