After a couple of weeks off for the holidays, I always find myself getting antsy for some theater, so I look forward to the Towle Theater’s Season Preview the first weekend in January. It’s a lovely event, a small reception with light hors d’oevres and wine, followed by a short sampler from the upcoming season.
For Jeff Casey, Managing Director of the Towle, the Season Preview makes all kind of sense. Over the years, the preview has been an extremely successful marketing tool. Many of the people who have come to the preview in the past became subscribers. Since more than 700 of those early viewers have become subscribers, there were more subscribers than newcomers in the audience. Newcomers were still offered a discount on subscriptions.
I’ve often wondered why other theaters don’t offer a preview. As far as I know, the Towle and Theatre at the Center are the only theaters in northwest Indiana who do. If you think about it, it makes sense. Ask yourself the question, how do people pick the place they’ll spend their entertainment dollars? More than likely they’ll pick plays/musicals they’re familiar with. Since the Towle specializes in new, quirky, sometimes edgy plays/musicals, the preview is the perfect time to introduce their audience to their selections.
The selections are presented by a miscellaneous group of actors. Some have already been cast. The others, Casey said with tongue in cheek, agreed to perform for a glass of wine and a meatball.
The first production of the Towle’s 2017 season is “Nunsense A-Men!” which will run from February 23rd through March 12th. This is the original “Nunsense” – in which Sister Julia Child of God poisoned most of the nuns – but this time, the sisters are played by men. Cast members Sister Mary Hubert (John Buranosky) and Mother Superior (Allen Horner) sang – and danced – a song called “Just a Coupl’a Sisters”.
The second production of the season will be “Vivian Leigh: The Last Press Conference” which will run from May 5th through 21st. Local actress Linda Wilczynski who will star in the solo show, kept the crowd riveted with her performance of the opening scene.
Contemporary musical, “Standby” will run from July 8th through 23rd. In this quirky musical, five strangers who meet in an airport line, soon learn figure out that this is not a coincidence. The Towle’s Director of Administration, Kevin Bellamy, Aaron Davis, Quinn Rigg and Chloe Rodabaugh sang a selection form “Standby”.
The final production, “Hypnosis” runs from September 8th through 23rd. Tom Farley and Andrew Stachurski showed the audience just enough of this thriller with lots of twists to draw us in.
Finally, two of the members of the Towle Youth Theater Ensemble, Aaron Cappello as Humpty Dumpty and Sammy Bredar as Alice, acted out an intriguing scene from the TATC spring production, “Alice @ Wonderland” which will run April 7th through 9th.
Towle Music Director Elizabeth Tuazon on piano, Don Parker on bass and Roye Robley on percussion, provided accompaniment.
The Towle Theater is located at 5205 Hohman Avenue, Hammond. Park for free in the lot accessed from Fayette Street, then access the Towle from the alley door. FYI (219) 937-8780 or www.towletheater.org.