TBT gearing up for summer season

Thunder Bay Theatre has announced its summer season, which starts off in mid-June with the musical, “Lucky Stiff.”

The show has been characterized as a zany murder-mystery farce, complete with slamming doors, mistaken identities, six million bucks in diamonds and a corpse in a wheelchair. Show dates are June 19-July 7 with performances slated for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sundays. There is no show on July 4.

“This is a high-energy, fast-paced show that is a sure crowd-pleaser,” said TBT Artistic Director Heather Nordenbrock.

Written by the team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, it is based on the 1983 novel, “The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo” by Mark Butterworth. English shoe salesman Harry Witherspoon, spending his Friday night taking inventory in a shoe shop and dreaming of a better life, receives a telegram summoning him to a solicitor’s office. Harry soon learns via a pre-recorded cassette tape that Anthony Hendon, an uncle he never met, has left him six million dollars.

However, in order to receive the estate, Harry must take the corpse of his Uncle Anthony, who is sitting in a wheelchair and has been dressed to appear alive, on an all-expenses paid “vacation” to Monte Carlo. While there, he must fulfill the tasks specified by his uncle’s will.

If Harry is unwilling to do this, the money will go to his uncle’s favorite charity, the Universal Dog Home of Brooklyn. Harry, who hates dogs, reluctantly accepts the terms of the will and travels to Monte Carlo with the cassette tape, a mysterious heart-shaped box and his uncle’s corpse. Many other complications soon ensue.

Nordenbrock said the cast and crew for “Lucky Stiff” have been working diligently and cohesively to ensure that everyone has an exceptional theatre experience.

“The music, under the direction of Bunny Lyon, is fantastic,” Nordenbrock said. “The set, under the supervision of Technical Director Nickie Hilton, is quirky and dynamic. The performers are excited to share this production. The only thing we’re missing is an audience.”

Previously announced core company members Zach Clements, Paul Docter, Mac Fountain, Amy Groen and Lisa Lull are joined by Michael Idalski and Suni Travis. Idalski is originally from Rogers City and is a senior studying musical theatre at Central Michigan University. Travis has been added to the core company as a performer in this production and as costumer for the summer.

Augmenting the cast for the first show are community actors Molly Stricker, Nick Hartman and Travis Atkinson.

“Lucky Stiff” will provide theatre goers with their first opportunity to see and hear a show produced with TBT’s new sound system. The theatre worked for many months to secure grant funding and donations to make the sound system a reality. The new equipment includes an inductive loop for hearing impaired assistance.

TBT is hosting a “behind the scenes” outing June 15 from 1-2:30 p.m. during which the summer core company will be introduced and interact with those in attendance. The new sound system also will be demonstrated. The Association of Lifelong Learners is sponsoring this outing which is open to the public.

The summer season will continue with “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” July 17-28, and “The Rat Pack Lounge,” Aug. 7-18.

“We hope everyone takes the opportunity to enjoy these performances and see some great talent, said TBT Managing Director Dick Bremer.

Reservations can be made by calling the box office at 354-2267 or tickets may be purchased online at www.thunderbaytheatre.com.