New Harmony Theatre will open its season on June 23 with a humorous retelling of a Jules Verne classic adventure story, Around the World in 80 Days by Mark Brown. Employing a formula that New Harmony audiences have loved in recent years, Around the World features five very gifted improvisational actors playing scores of roles as the epic journey of a mysterious British gentleman, Phileas Fogg, sends him circumnavigating the globe to satisfy a wager. Along the way, he discovers strange people, random setbacks, danger and even a bit of romance.
New Harmony’s artistic director, Elliot Wasserman, has chosen the play for its broad, family-friendly appeal, and enlisted the aid of New Harmony veteran actors Jeff Williams, Kenney Green and Lorenzo Scott, as well as newcomers to the stage Michael Tourek and Megan Koumis. The show will run two weekends, June 23-25 and June 30 - July 2.
This year’s musical, Ruthless!, is a zany parody of some of the most well-known movie melodramas of the 1950s. With references to such films as All About Eve and The Bad Seed flying as fast as the jokes, Ruthless! tells the story of an ambitious child who will stop at nothing to star in her third grade play.
Audience favorite Kenny Green stays with New Harmony to anchor this second show, with Broadway veteran Carol Schweid, Jackey Good, Megan McNulty, Ashleigh Dulik and a talented Evansville child actor, Lillybea Ireland, completing the cast. A stage veteran already, this middle-schooler has traveled all over the United States and Asia with a tour of Annie! Ruthless! lampoons the high seriousness of 50's melodrama with a host of perfectly silly characters. While there is a little bit of adult language in the play, it is employed for its comic effect. Wasserman will again serve as director. Ruthless! runs July 14-16 and 21-23.
Souvenir—a Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins
The final play of the season, Souvenir—a Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins by Simon Temperley—tells the strange true story of a woman who believed strongly in her singing gifts despite all of the evidence to the contrary. Ms. Jenkins, with her own wealth to back her, hooted and sharped her way through a selection of great arias in public performances that drew large and amused crowds. While her audiences saw comic spectacle, Jenkins somehow heard only her own phantom artistry. Although a comedy, Souvenir possesses a great heart in its depiction of a woman whose love of music and passion for performance exceeded all else.
Broadway veteran Paula Leggett Chase plays Florence Foster Jenkins. Chase is another local favorite since, before her long and successful career in theatre began, she grew up in Evansville. New Harmony Theatre is honored and excited to have her back in town. New Harmony Theatre’s associate director, Eric Altheide, will helm Souvenir, which runs July 28-30 and August 4-6.
Tickets are on sale now, and season tickets may be purchased through the first production. All evening performances start at 7:30 p.m. and matinees begin at 2 p.m. Individual adult tickets are $30 for Around the World in 80 Days and Souvenir—a Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins and $35 for Ruthless! Discounted tickets are available for seniors. Season tickets are $72 for adults, $66 for seniors (60 and over) and $60 for groups of 20 or more.
In an effort to provide opportunities for young people and students to see live theatre, special pricing ($10-$12) is available for all audience members 25 and younger. All performances take place at the historic Murphy Auditorium, located at 419 Tavern Street in New Harmony, Indiana.
The New Harmony Theatre is a professional Equity theatre produced by the University of Southern Indiana and is the Tri-State's only professional Equity theatre. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to NewHarmonyTheatre.com or call the box office at 812-682-3115 or 877-NHT-SHOW. For updates, visit the New Harmony Theatre Facebook page.
Photo Credit: New Harmony Theatre