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Cardinal Stage Company’s community presence grows with each passing season, and it’s push to expand its target audience and professionalize theatre in Bloomington — in part by hiring a full staff, paying competitive wages, and finding a permanent venue — promises even more spectacular shows. Its 2017-2018 Cardinal for Kids and Mainstage Season is no exception.
“This season will continue to push the envelope for Cardinal in terms of size and scope,” says Managing Director Gabe Gloden.
The 2017-2018 Mainstage and Cardinal for Kids season includes:
Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude
Sex with Strangers
The Complete History of Comedy (abridged)
9 to 5: The Musical
(The second Cardinal for Kids show, which will run May 4-20, will be announced later this summer.)
Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude, the first of two Cardinal for Kids shows, will set the tone for a season that will entertain more children than ever before. Neglected by Jon and Odie and irritated by Nermal (the world’s cutest kitten) on his birthday, of all days, the sardonic feline will tepidly grace the John Waldron Auditorium stage September 8-24.
Following Garfield, the lineup quite literally comes to life with Frankenstein, which will spook audiences at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater October 26-November 5. In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel, Cardinal Stage will produce the adaptation performed by the National Theatre in the United Kingdom, which starred Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller. The play will be produced in partnership with Indiana University’s Themester on Diversity, Difference, and Otherness.
Cardinal Stage’s holiday productions are always among their best, but this season’s show, Peter Pan, will step up the company’s special-effects game by introducing a series of cables, pulleys, and harnesses to send Wendy, John, and Michael (alas, not poor Nana) off to Neverland. Families will have the opportunity to escape to the “second star to the right, and straight on till morning” during its December 15-30 run at Buskirk-Chumley Theater.
“Peter Pan will undoubtedly be the grandest Cardinal holiday show yet,” Gloden says.
After the holidays, with the kids back in school and still buzzing about their trip to Peter Pan, Cardinal Stage’s next two productions will allow parents to sneak away for a date night and enjoy a couple of grown-up, contemporary plays: Sex with Strangers and The Complete History of Comedy (abridged).
Sex with Strangers is a two-person show that follows a sex blogger who runs into trouble after becoming romantically involved with his idol, a novelist nearly twice his age. Both have to reinvent themselves despite their pasts having been so openly published. Audiences can explore the nature of relationships in the digital age, February 9-25, at the John Waldron Auditorium.
The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) will, you guessed it, take audiences through a tour of comedy, from cavemen throwing rocks to stand-up legends like Chris Rock, speedily recapping centuries of high- and lowbrow humor along the way. The Waldron Auditorium will be booming with laughs March 30-April 15.
Finally, the season punches the time clock with 9 to 5: The Musical. Adapted from the 1980 comedy film that has stood the test of time, three female co-workers will stir up a plan to get back at their sexist boss, with music and lyrics written by the inimitable Dolly Parton. The score will be settled from June 15-24 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.
“We wanted to program a season that features a broad range of theatrical experiences with a nice mix of classics and contemporary work,” says Gloden. “You can expect to see a comedy, a drama, and a musical, but you will probably also find a show that blends these elements,” he adds.
Coinciding with the 2017-2018 season announcement is the introduction of Cardinal Stage’s new Nest Generation Initiative, which aims to introduce 200 aspiring theatre-goers to the world of professional drama — through a program that allows existing season ticket holders to sponsor a five-play subscription package for someone under the age of 35 for only $35. Sponsors can either identify a person to whom they would like to give the package or allow Cardinal to select from a first-come, first-served list of applicants. The only requirement is that recipients cannot be current or previous season-ticket holders.
“Young theatre-goers will continue to assume positions of influence across our community, and we need them to know why theatre is important to our quality of life in Bloomington — and to advocate on its behalf,” Gloden says.
Increasing youth and young adult involvement in theatre is one of a few steps Cardinal Stage is taking to grow its presence in the community, along with working to secure a permanent location to host and rehearse productions and recruit and maintain local creative and administrative talent.
Looking ahead to its 11th season, Cardinal Stage is hitting its stride as one of Bloomington’s most enticing attractions. The 2017-2018 season will exemplify a decade’s worth of hard work and experience, showing the community a glimpse of what’s to come in Cardinal Stage’s bright future.
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