Online Staff Report
Rockford’s Artists’ Ensemble (AE) Theater is expanding to five plays next season, adding a fifth production in June.
In addition, AE is partnering with Rockford College’s Performing Arts Department for a special joint production of the musical Meet Me in St. Louis.
“We are thrilled to add a fifth show to our season,” said AE Artistic Director Richard Raether. “With a track record of exciting productions, solid infrastructure, and a great partner like Rockford College, it is time to offer our audience more chances to view top-quality professional theater here in Rockford.”
Along with an expanded season comes expanded choice for subscribers, who, for the first time, have the choice of a full five-show subscription or a “pick four” option that lets them select their four shows.
An additional perk for subscribers is the opportunity to purchase advance discount tickets to AE’s joint production of Meet Me in St. Louis (this co-production is not part of AE’s subscription season).
Following is the lineup for AE’s 2012-13 season, beginning Sept. 7:
• Jeeves Takes a Bow, by Margaret Raether, based on the characters of P.G. Wodehouse: Sept. 7-23 — Bertie Wooster and Jeeves visit the Big Apple and, in less than a New York minute, Bertie is tangled with chorus girls, gangsters, fiancés and a musical called Naughty Natalie!
• It’s a Wonderful Life, a live radio play, by Joe Landry: Nov. 30-Dec. 16 — An American classic is staged as a live broadcast straight out of the golden age of radio in this “must-see” holiday delight.
• Brooklyn Boy, by Donald Margulies: March 15-30, 2013 — Eric’s novel is a bestseller, yet just when he should be on top of the world, his life is falling apart. A witty and emotionally rich play from a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright. This play is sponsored by Temple Beth-El in celebration of its 100th anniversary.
• Mrs. Mannerly, by Jeffrey Hatcher: May 10-26, 2013 — A comedy of manners about manners. Jeffrey (Stephen F. Vrtol III) recalls his childhood etiquette class. He then plays himself (at age 9) as he struggled to impress his firece teacher, “Mrs. Mannerly” (Linda Abronski).
• Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, adapted by Patrick Barlow: June 14-30, 2013 — Hitchcock meets hilarity in this thriller served up with a heaping helping of Monty Python. An innocent man on the run for his life! A chase on a moving train! Spies! Murder! It all adds up to a sidesplitting whodunit!
• Meet Me in St. Louis, music and lyrics by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, book by Hugh Wheeler: April 25-28, 2013 — “Clang, Clang, Clang Went the Trolley” in this musical charmer that follows the Smith family as they eagerly anticipate the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. This is a special co-production in partnership with Rockford College and performs for one week only. Advance discount tickets are available to AE subscribers.
Once again, AE will perform its entire season in the intimate Cheek Theatre in the Clark Arts Center on the Rockford College campus, with the exception of Meet Me in St. Louis, which will be performed in Rockford College’s Maddox Theatre.
AE subscription prices are as follow:
• Full Subscription: All five season productions are $112, $106 for seniors and $93 on “Discount Thursdays.”
• Pick Four Subscription: Choose four of the five AE shows at the time of subscription purchase. The fifth show may be added later at the subscriber rate ($23). Pick Four is $90, $85 for seniors and $75 on “Discount Thursdays.”
All subscribers may add Meet Me in St. Louis at a special rate, as follows: $20, $15 for seniors, $15 on “Discount Thursdays,” $7 for students.
AE single ticket prices are unchanged at $28 each, $26 for seniors, $19 for “Discount Thursdays” and $10 for students. At five minutes prior to curtain, unsold tickets go to students for $5 each.
Meet Me in St. Louis single tickets are $25, with senior tickets at $20, Thursday tickets at $15 and student tickets at $7.
Subscribers may also purchase tickets for friends at the special Bring-A-Friend discount.
Season tickets may be purchased at www.artistsensemble.org, or call the box office at (815) 904-2277 or (815) 394-5004.
Posted Sept. 5, 2012