The Virgin Valley Theatre Group is gearing up for its 14th Season…
A Victorian “thriller”, a psychological drama, a romp through the “girl group” music of the 50’s and 60’s, and an “offbeat” comedy are all on the docket for the Virgin Valley Theatre Group’s 2015-2016 Season. From its beginnings in founder Ed Mackenzie’s garage in the spring of 2002, the Virgin Valley Theatre Group, Mesquite’s local non-profit community theatre, has focused on its mission of providing high quality theatre experiences and educational opportunities to the residents of Mesquite and the surrounding communities. Run entirely by volunteers, and funded through ticket sales, donations, and arts grants, the VVTG has tackled some challenging productions over the years, such as 2013’s Pulitzer prize winning drama The Subject Was Roses, and 2014’s Broadway musical, Cole Porter’s Anything Goes. This season is stacking up to be no less challenging.
The season opens with Patrick Hamilton’s Angel Street. Better known under its movie title of Gaslight, it’s the story of the Manninghams, a couple living in the Pimlico district of London in the 1880’s. From the moment the curtain rises the audience becomes aware that though things seem calm at the surface, they are anything but… What is it that’s lurking just behind the scenes? Directed by the team of Matt McDonald and Jenna Grubb, long-time participants in Mesquite theatre, Angel Street is sure to be an intriguing and intense mystery that will keep audience members on the edge of the their seats right through to the thrilling end. Auditions for the 3 female and 2 male roles are scheduled for August 24th and 25th, from 6-8 pm in the Mesquite Community Theater, and the production opens on October 16th.
In January the VVTG will present Agnes of God by John Pielmeier. “Summoned to a convent, Dr. Martha Livingstone, a court-appointed psychiatrist, is charged with assessing the sanity of a young novitiate accused of murdering her newborn. Miriam Ruth, the Mother Superior, determinedly keeps young Agnes from the doctor, arousing Livingstone’s suspicions further. Who killed the infant and who fathered the young victim? Livingstone’s questions force all three women to re-examine the meaning of faith and the power of love leading to a dramatic, compelling climax.” (Samuel French) Also made into a 1985 feature film starring Jane Fonda, Anne Bancroft and Meg Tilly, Agnes of God, directed by VVTG Artistic Director – Glen Bjornson, will open January 15th. “John (Pielmeier) and I were both at the Guthrie Theatre back in ‘75-‘76. He was a member of the acting company and I was an intern in professional directing. Little did I know that forty years later I’d be taking on a show that he’d written!” Bjornson also indicated that casting this production might be very difficult. “It’s a tour de force for three female actors, one of whom needs to be reasonably young and be able to sing like an angel. If I can’t cast it right, then we won’t do it.” He went on to say that they already had other possible shows in the wings should he be unable to cast Agnes, “…but, I’m not going to say anything further about that now because I really want to do it. It’s a great show!” Auditions for the three very challenging female roles will be held in late October.
The spring musical will be the smash off-Broadway hit The Marvelous Wonderettes, created by Roger Bean. Audiences will be transported back to the year 1958 where, as attendees of the Springfield High School prom, they’ll meet the Wonderettes, four girls with hopes and dreams as big as their crinoline skirts! They’ll learn about the girls’ lives and loves, and be treated to the girls performing classic ‘50s and ‘60s songs such as Lollipop, Dream Lover, Stupid Cupid, Lipstick on Your Collar, Hold Me-Thrill Me-Kiss Me, It’s My Party, and over 20 other classic hits! You’ve never had this much fun at a prom and you will never forget The Marvelous Wonderettes—a must-take musical trip down memory lane! (Stage Rights) Directed by Diana McKinney, who audiences may remember as “Nana” and “Zombina”in last season’s Nana’s Naughty Knickers and Zombies from the Beyond, The Marvelous Wonderettes will open March 11th. Auditions will be scheduled early, probably in late October, to give the Wonderettes a chance to develop into the “marvelous” singing group they are.
Closing out the VVTG’s 2015-2016 season will be the dramatic comedy, Dead Man’s Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl. A man’s cell phone rings incessantly, but he doesn’t answer it. Finally, a woman sitting at an adjoining table in the café comes over and answers it. While on the phone she realizes that the man is dead…”Can I take a message?!” Directed by long-time VVTG member and frequent performer – Teri Nehrenz, Dead Man’s Cell Phone is about how we memorialize the dead – and how that remembering changes us. It is the odyssey of a woman forced to confront her own assumptions about morality, redemption, and the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world. (Samuel French) Dead Man’s Cell Phone opens May 6, 2015. Roles are available for 2 men and 4 women, and auditions will be scheduled for late February or early March.
Performances of The Marvelous Wonderettes are licensed by Steele Spring Stage Rights. Angel Street, Agnes of God, and Dead Man’s Cell Phone will all be produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.
All VVTG performances are on Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m. and run for 3 weekends. In addition, there is a 2 p.m. matinee on the middle Sunday of each run. Season tickets are available for $50 (adult admission to all 4 shows at a savings of $13 versus the cost of individual tickets). Individual tickets are $15($18 for the musical) for adults and $5 for students. Tickets will be available shortly through the Mesquite Community Theater box office and all its satellite partners. Tickets will also be available online. For more information please visit the Virgin Valley Theatre Group’s website at www.vvtgnv.com.