Thursday, 26 November 2015 10:50

2016 Rosebud season is offering ‘Something more ...’

Written by  Rose Sanchez
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The 2016 season at Rosebud Theatre promises patrons “Something more.” Just what that “something” will be will depend on the person and the play.


Season tickets are now on sale for 2016. The four plays on the Opera House stage will be Outside Mullingar, Tent Meeting, An Inspector Calls, and Miracle on 34th Street.  On the BMO Studio Stage will be Valley Song and The Sunset Limited.
“As we sifted through and came to a place where the plays settled in, every single play things were not what they seemed,” says Morris Ertman, artistic director. “There is going to be a surprise for you in this season, in every single play.”
When Rosebud officials started to talk about how to market the 2016 season, they recalled how audiences often leave after a play and comment that they didn’t expect what happened.
“Now we have that notion that there is something more than you expect,” adds Ertman. “There’s something richer about it.”
The first play to kick off the season will be Outside Mullingar, written by John Patrick Shanley, known for numerous plays turned into movies including Moonstruck and Doubt, which was on the Rosebud Stage more recently.
“It’s the story of two people who belong together and live next to each other on adjacent farms,” explains Ertman. “We think it’s a land feud, but it’s actually a love story. Two people, late in life who are meant for each other, finally, finally figure that out.”
Outside Mullingar plays on the Rosebud Opera House Stage April 1 to June 11.
Patrons familiar with Rosebud will be pleased to see the return of Tent Meeting to the Rosebud Stage June 24 to Aug. 28.
This play was written by Ertman and Ron Reed more than 30 years ago. It was nominated for four Dora Mavor Moore Awards including for best musical and best production. The show has travelled all over North America and there is quite an audience following for it.
“It will have a similar staging with different actors of course, but it has become a bit of a classic for people,” says Ertman.
The fall show running Sept. 9 to Oct. 29 will be An Inspector Calls.
“It’s an old chestnut of a mystery,” says Ertman.
The play tells the story of a mysterious inspector who interrupts the celebrations of a prosperous family to find out the reasons for the death of a working-class woman the family members all seem to know.
The holiday favourite Miracle on 34th Street will bring Christmas to Rosebud with shows on the Opera House stage from Nov. 11 to Dec. 23. The play version has never been performed before on the Rosebud stage.
The Studio Stage features Valley Song May 19 to June 25. Written by much-lauded South African playwright Athol Fugard, it tells the story of a young woman who wants to be a singer, but her grandfather doesn’t want her to leave her small village. Ertman says it’s a beautiful story set in post-apartheid times.
“It was making a statement stepping into what would be a whole new generation of people in post-apartheid Africa,” he adds.
The Sunset Limited will be on the BMO Studio Stage July 8 to Aug. 27. Written by Cormac McCarthy, who also wrote The Road, it portrays a professor tied to a chair in an apartment. Suicidal and having tried to take his own life, he is kidnapped by an ex-con who is a Christian trying to save him.
Overall, Ertman is pleased with the offerings on the table for 2016. He keeps a close ear to the ground to hear what audience members are saying about the shows and pays attention when some say they hope their favourites return. Tent Meeting is just one of those plays he’s happy to see on the Rosebud stage again.
When it comes to building a season of shows, Ertman also gives careful consideration to the actors who may be great for certain roles and a part that would fit a student who is coming into his or her own.
“We also have a desire to please our audiences and give them a wonderful time at the theatre,” he adds.
A lot of time was spent this past year having discussions with theatre goers about why they enjoy the Rosebud experience.
“Our audiences are looking for meaning. That’s really where the ‘something more’ (theme) came from ... This (coming) year we will walk into meaning, mystery and some deeper discussions.”
Attendance for the summer this year was lower than previous years, partly because of the economy, although that is a complete guess, says Ertman.
He hopes season ticket sales for 2016 will remain steady.
“Hopefully what we offer is ‘more enough’ to make people choose us than maybe choosing to do something else ... We’re grateful for anyone who comes...”
The 2015 season is finishing off with the Christmas show A Wind in the Willows Christmas in Rosebud which opened Nov. 6 and runs until Dec. 19. Ertman was busy helping prepare the show and working with the cast. Reactions from a small audience for a dress rehearsal Nov. 4 were positive.
“The audience was gasping and oohing and aahing,” he says, adding one woman told him the play was just what she needed to see.
“It is so beautiful and so silly at times. The response has been wonderful and the music is exquisite ... You’ll laugh and cry a little — it feels like Christmas has arrived.”
Anyone interested in 2016 season tickets or tickets to individual shows can find more information online at rosebudtheatre.com or phone 1-800-267-7553.

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