Our 2024 season has a couple of important themes that we'd like to highlight. For one, even the titles alone can show that the future is bright at the Lofte with how much light will be in the upcoming season. See Sunshine Express, Escanaba in da Moonlight, Moon over Buffalo, and Radium Girls - all of these directly involve light right in the title. Beauty and the Beast does as well, in different ways, as does Dickens' Christmas Carol, just not in the title. Let's take a closer look at these shows, what the casts might look like, and what they are all about. And, as a quick reminder, season tickets are on sale at least until mid-March, but don't wait, get yours today at lofte.org/tickets!
Sunshine Express by Sarah Quick.
Auditions are January 29 and 30 at 7:00 pm. Performances are March 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30, & 31
Cast: at least 2 women and 2 men
The first few shows of 2024 have fairly flexible cast sizes, and Sunshine Express kicks off the fun! This play contains 30 different characters that can either be played by one of the 4 actors, or additional actors can be added in to create a larger cast size.
This show is appropriate for theatergoers of all ages as there is comedy but also heartfelt moments as well.
Sunshine Express follows a middle-aged couple, Alan and Brenda who live in Canada with several kids who all have their various activities that they are busy with - paired with the struggles and stressors of life and marriage, they find themselves in a less than favorable place in their relationship. It is then that they are gifted 2 tickets to ride on the Sunshine Express! This is a travel agency bus trip that, in the wintertime, makes regular trips from Canada all the way down to Florida and is mostly populated by spirited seniors and "snowbirds." The couple is skeptical at best but ultimately decides to get on the bus and take the tour. The travel agency has activities planned from karaoke to shopping trips to keep their patrons entertained and active! But, as the couple spends time around folks who are closer in age to their parents than themselves, they find that their expectations for this trip are being challenged as they begin to learn lessons about love, life, empathy, and care.
Radium Girls by D.W. Gregory.
Auditions are February 1 and 2 at 7:00 pm. Performances are May 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, & 12
Cast: at least 5 women and 4 men
Radium Girls continues this trend of having a flexible cast size. This play contains dozens of different characters that can either be played by one of the 9 required actors, or additional actors can be added in to create a larger cast size.
While this show is appropriate for theatergoers of all ages please keep in mind the subject matter is heavier as this production deals with historically accurate portrayals of child labor, and radiation poisoning that in most cases results in death.
Radium Girls tells the story of young girls living in New Jersey sometime around 1917 who worked in a watch factory where their job was to paint numbers on the faces of watches with glow-in-the-dark paint which, at the time was made from powdered radium. The girls who painted the watch faces were instructed to "point" the brushes with their lips or tongues to keep the tip of the brush sharp so the lines would be clean when they painted the clock faces - they expected it was safe. However, because the girls were ingesting radium this resulted in harmful effects due to gamma radiation. When it became apparent that they were sick plant worker Grace Fryer filed a lawsuit, which later included 4 other girls, Edna Hussman, Katherine Schaub, Quinta McDonald, and Albina Larice. This play shows their challenges and tells their story.
Disney's Beauty and the Beast - Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, Book by Linda Wolverton
Auditions are May 20 and 21 at 7:00 pm. Performances are July 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, and August 1, 2, 3, & 4
Cast: at least 7 women and 7 men ages 20 to 70 as well as 1 child age 7 to 10 as well as a chorus.
This play is full of classic Disney characters including Belle, the Beast, Gaston, and more! These fantastic characters are supported by a fabulous chorus of townsfolk, wolves, and living household items!
This show is appropriate for anyone who believes in the magic of love and theatergoers of all ages.
Disney's Beauty and the Beast is a classic tale. Whether you are looking to experience this story for the first time or the hundredth time, this musical rendition will be a delight. The show will contain all of the classic songs from the 1991 Academy Award-winning Disney animated feature film including "Be Our Guest," and "Belle,", while also including additional numbers from the stage production, originally produced on Broadway in 1994, such as "If I Can't Love Her," and "Home." Follow the story of Belle who lives in a small town. One day on a trip through the forest in search of her father she encounters a castle where she agrees to trade her freedom for her father's. See how Belle's expectations are challenged as she makes friends with all of the castle inhabitants - this will be a great show for both the young and the young at heart!
Escanaba in da Moonlight by Jeff Daniels
Auditions are May 27 and 28 at 7:00 pm. Performances are September 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, & 15
Cast:1 woman. The character is of Native American descent or indigenous, mid 20's to mid 30's. 5 men ages 33 to 60's
This show might be given a PG-13 rating as it does contain some mild language and adult themes and guns.
You may recognize the name of the author of this show, Jeff Daniels. Jeff Daniels has appeared on Broadway, in movies, and on television as he has won Emmys for his performance in 2013's "The Newsroom" as Will McAvoy and 2018's "Godless" as Frank Griffin. He has also been in popular films such as "Dumb and Dumber", "My Favorite Martian," and the film version of this show "Escanaba in da Moonlight."
The show tells the story of the Soady family who go out on a hunting trip on the opening day of the season every year, led by the patriarch of the family, Albert Soady. Except this time, if Albert's eldest son Reuben, doesn't bring home a deer, he will be the oldest member of the family to never "bag a buck," which is, a huge disgrace to him and his family traditions! To avoid this awful fate, Reuben does everything he can think of to increase his chances, good luck charms, rituals, and new traditions challenging his family's expectations of what a "normal hunting trip" looks like. Full of hilarious characters, ridiculous circumstances, and outrageous humor, this is a hunting story for the ages, and one you surely won't want to miss!
Ken Ludwig's Moon Over Buffalo
Auditions are July 29 and 30 at 7:00 pm. Performances are October 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27
Cast: 4 women. 4 men ages 20 to 70.
This show might be given a PG-13 rating as it does contain some adult themes, may have some strong language, and includes discussions of infidelity in marriage.
Ken Ludwig was once asked why he titled the show Moon over Buffalo. At the time he was working on and publishing Moon over Buffalo, a film called Moon over Miami was popular - it was a big romantic film set in Miami Florida starring Betty Grable. He called his show Moon Over Buffalo because, in his mind, what could be less romantic than Buffalo, New York?!
The show features a married couple, George and Charlotte who were set to be famous movie stars but after a couple of big flops found themselves performing "Repertory Theatre," (aka older classic shows like Cyrano de Bergerac) on tour around the country. One afternoon they receive a phone call from a big movie director that he wants them in his next film - and he's coming to the matinee! Oh, if only it could be that simple as things immediately start to go wrong! Can they pull the show together in time to get George and Charlotte back in the spotlight? Or will the family fall apart? Will anything go as expected or will the whole event challenge everyone's ability to keep their cool? This is a truly fantastic farce that is full of physical comedy and lots of doors to result in character confusion, come ready to laugh!
Dickens' Christmas Carol by Mark Landon Smith
Auditions are October 14 and 15 at 7:00 pm. Performances are December 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, 22
Cast: 4 women. 3 men ages 20 to 70
This show is suitable for theatre lovers of all ages! While it's appropriate for children, it is not your usual Christmas Carol so get ready to experience a story you know and love in a whole new way!
This show features a fictional theatre troupe known as "The Styckes-Upon-Thump Repertory Theatre Company." They are on their fifteenth annual farewell tour of A Christmas Carol. They are down a few actors, as usually a Christmas Carol boasts dozens of performers, children, dancers, and theatre magic! However, they are a company of only 7, so they need to find a way to tell the classic tale with a smaller cast and keep as much of the magic as they can! Of course, a fictional theatre troupe has to be filled with fictional performers. Some performers are pretentious. Some performers have large egos. Some performers are understudies and don't know any of their lines! And all of them together attempting to do an understaffed version of A Christmas Carol results in a hilarious holiday production. They expect it will go just fine, but if you've been paying attention, you'll know that expectations are about to be challenged by reality. If you are a fan of this show and know the classic well, we encourage you to come and see this version and appreciate not only how much work goes into making A Christmas Carol but how easily and quickly it all can (and does) fall apart!
The 2024 season is full of light, but also full of things happening in unexpected ways, or, to put it another way, in each and every show this year our characters will have their expectations challenged. Things may not go the way that they wanted, thought, or expected. Sometimes there is humor in the unexpected, sometimes the reality of the situation is far more grim. We hope you'll join us for a year of light and learning as 2024 will not only challenge the expectations of the characters, but we hope it challenges your expectations of theatre. Pick something outside of your usual selections, grab your tickets at lofte.org/tickets, mark your calendars, get ready to have your expectations challenged, and join us at the Lofte Community Theatre in 2024!
by Samantha Colvarro