Educating Rita opens New Court Theatre’s season

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Josh Burton’s dream of recreating New Court Theatre at Beloit College began five years ago, and the current season becomes a successful step in the process. In his notes, he says, “As a society, we’re going through some difficult times. So we have decided to keep it light.”

Educating Rita, Willy Russell’s story of a disillusioned poet-professor and a working-class hairdresser searching for self-identity by exploring literature, first played in London in 1980. Its relevance is timeless. Two souls searching for meaning connect, and education becomes a two-way street.

Burton as Frank and Georgina Stiles as Rita give riveting performances. Constantly on stage in 15 scenes, the sheer energy leaves us breathless. Their interaction takes the audience through Rita’s growth and Frank’s realization that genuine knowledge only comes through our life experiences. An absolutely charming play, comedic in character, but serious in its message, provides an evening of excellent theater.

The season continues with A Rose for Remmie, opening July 8 and running through the 17th. Written by lifelong resident of Beloit, Richard Mason, it tells of two young women’s venture into Old Town Chicago in the 1960s. On July 21, we have the opportunity to see Guys on Ice, a musical about two ice fishing buddies from Northern Wisconsin, improbable but intriguing. Running through Aug. 7, it may be extended.

Educating Rita runs through June 26 with performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. New Court Theatre is partnering with Café Belwah to offer ticket holders special menus on the night of the show for $15. The entrees sound delicious, and the restaurant is only a few blocks away at the bottom of the hill. It is definitely on my list for the next show.

Congratulations to Josh Burton for his determination and for the support he engendered throughout the community. In closing, he says, “It is gratifying and humbling to know that we are creating something that you feel is worth your support.”

Ticket info: (608) 363-2755.

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