Eclectic Theatre Seasons Show Promise

Courtesy of Segestrom Center of the Arts

A look ahead at upcoming plays and musicals at both UCI and the local Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

As a former theatre student and current theatre fanatic, I am excited to begin this year as the New University’s Associate Entertainment Editor, adding a more of a theatrical quality to the most “entertaining” section of the newspaper.
I would take a gander and say that most people are not well versed in the musicals and plays of yesterday and today; therefore, I seek to add an important element to the entertainment section that will widen the scope of what people actual consider to be entertaining.
Thus, since this issue is an introduction to what to expect from entertainment in the Orange County area, I want to share a bit of what we as Anteaters can expect from the UCI Drama Department’s upcoming theatre season, as well as local professional theatre.
The Claire Trevor Season begins November 2-4 with “Orlando,” a Virginia Woolf novel adapted to the stage to examine the true meaning of love, as well as many stereotypes attached to who can receive, as well as give, passion in life. The novel was adapted by Sarah Ruhl, who won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for this dramatic and thought-provoking piece of literature.
Beginning the Christmas season is the new musical “Tinseltown Christmas,” playing from December 1-2 and 6-8. A story filled with the reminder of what the season is truly about, “Tinseltown” explores the dysfunctional relationship between two neighbors who are able to realize their happiness only with the help of old Hollywood ghosts like Natalie Wood, Bing Crosby and Judy Garland.
This fun, lighthearted musical will test the talents of the students who are casted as such iconic characters, as well as give a different perspective into Claire Trevor’s theatre season.
Winter quarter ushers in three eclectic shows into the School of the Arts. The first, “Rose Tattoo,” playing in the Little Theatre January 26 to February 3, is a Tennessee Williams play that depicts several characters in the true, uncomfortable nature of loneliness, which, although obviously segregating by nature, can actually bring humanity close together.
The second, “Radio Plays,” is a fun evening focusing on the evolution of music from old Hollywood to the radio.
Ending the winter quarter March 12-17 is “After Troy,” a curious introspect to the post-civilized era many fallen empires struggled with after tremendous wars.
Finally, Claire Trevor finishes strong with “The Visit” during the first weekend in May, and “Spring Awakening” during the fist weekend in June.
The latter being one of my favorite musicals produced in the last decade, this show will close the season in a full circle search for one’s sexual role and placement in society.
With a truly dynamic season, Claire Trevor has a plethora of emotions and talent in its upcoming line-up.
Contrary to the unique selection of performances from the School of the Arts, the local stand-by of national tour shows, Segerstrom Center of the Arts, has a less than unique, but nonetheless exciting Broadway season ahead of them.
Beginning with “STOMP” in October, “Memphis” in November and “The Addams Family” in December, Segerstrom combines the familiar classic with two brand-new shows that have dazzled audiences across America with their original tunes.
2013 brings promising, as well as new, productions to the Segerstrom theatre history.
Beginning with the Tony Award-winning, visually stunning “War Horse” in January and the comedic, inspirational “Billy Elliot” in late April, the Center clearly clings to a theme of larger than life dreams from unexpected dreamers.
However, Segerstrom does return to its roots with the encore performance of “Wicked,” back once again for a limited time. I’m not sure my feelings on this drawn out show, sure it is a popular moneymaker, but since the most of the originality of the show has seeped away into the mainstream culture, is it really a benefit for Segerstrom to bring back this musical once again? Will there be originality, or just the same old, same old?
The season finishes up with two new productions and one Broadway classic. “Catch Me If You Can” and “Sister Act,” both movie-turned musicals, have been extremely successful on both the New York and the London stage. Finally making their way to Orange County, I believe they will bring a new type of audience to the Costa Mesa theatre scene.
Closing with “Anything Goes” in September, this classic will bring a strong close to the Segerstrom theatre season with its popular Broadway melodies and cute storyline that will surely bring audiences to their feet.
In retrospect, both seasons at Claire Trevor and Segerstrom Center are important to the Orange County theatre scene, as well as an interesting selection of shows. The only question is, will the talent live up to the shows casted in? That’s what you, fellow Anteater, must decide.