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Meadow Brook Theatre season announced

Amy Swanson, Staff Reporter

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Meadow Brook Theatre has announced its 2017-18 season, which features a Broadway preview, three musicals and four Michigan premieres.

Things kick off Sept. 6, 2017, with a preview of the new musical “Johnny Manhattan” before it opens on Broadway. With book and lyrics by Tony award-winner Robert Lorick and music by Dan Goggin, it’s set at the New York City nightclub Johnny Manhattan’s in the early 1960s. After its owner invites his friends over for an announcement, surprises unfold as relationships clash and secrets are revealed.

Next is the interactive comedy-whodunit “Shear Madness” by Paul Pörtner, which begins Oct. 4. When someone is murdered in a hair salon, the audience gets to spot clues, question suspects and solve this hilarious mystery. As the outcome is always different, guests will always have an entirely new experience.

“This way, the show is different every night,” said Artistic Director Travis Walter. “It is an extremely fun show, and this aspect heightens the audience’s experience at the theatre.”

Although not part of the season, MBT will maintain tradition with its 36th annual holiday production of “A Christmas Carol.” Written by Charles Dickens, with adaption and original staging by Charles Nolte, it will run Nov. 10 through Dec. 24.

“Audiences come from across the country to visit family and watch the show every year,” said Walter. “It’s amazing that a show can continue to bring joy to audiences 36 years after it was first produced on our stage. I like to think that the show gets a little better every year.”

Moving into 2018, the theatre’s third production is “Nana’s Naughty Knickers,” by Katherine DiSavino. Running Jan. 10 through Feb. 4, this show follows Bridget as she stays with her nana in New York for the summer. However, things take a turn when she discovers her grandma is running an illegal boutique from her apartment.

Playing Feb. 14 through March 11 is the Michigan premiere of “Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical” by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman. Featuring her signature songs, it chronicles Rosemary’s journey to stardom, depicting her many successes on film, radio and TV, as well as her battles with addiction and depression.

Another Michigan premiere is “The Snow Geese” by Sharr White, running March 21 through April 15. Set in rural upstate New York during World War I, the play follows newly widowed Elizabeth Gaesling as she gathers her family for their annual hunting-season shooting party. As her eldest son deals with his impending deployment overseas and her youngest son learns their father left them in debt, the family must come to terms with their newfound reality.

Guests should prepare for a contagiously energetic performance of “THE ALL NIGHT STRUT!,” conceived, originally directed and choreographed by Fran Charnas. This musical celebration highlights the work of legendary songwriters like Hoagy Carmichel, Frank Loesser and the Gershwins, running April 25 through May 20.

The season will wrap up with the romantic musical comedy “Burt & Me,” based on the book by Larry McKenna, with lyrics by Hal David and music by Burt Bacharach. Running May 30 through June 24, the show depicts Joe’s clever plan to win back his high school sweetheart after the two drifted apart.

Shows for Meadow Brook’s 10th annual children’s series were also announced, including productions of “The Cat in the Hat” and “Chicken Little: The Sky is Falling.”

In selecting a season’s productions, the play reading committee aims for a variety of shows to give something for everyone.

“We just try to show insights to the human condition through each show we produce,” said Walter.

Season tickets for the seven plays are available. A Flex-Tix package is also on sale, which includes six tickets that can be used at any matinee or Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday evening performances throughout the season. The tickets in this package can also be upgraded to a Friday or Saturday evening for a fee. To purchase, call the Meadow Brook Theatre box office at (248) 377-3300.

Single tickets go on sale starting Aug. 2. Prices range between $28 and $43, with student discounts available.

For more information, visit www.mbtheatre.com.

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