Whitefish Theatre Company Announces Upcoming Season Lineup

In October, the company will put on its first mainstage production of the season with Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”

By Mike Kordenbrock
The Whitefish Theatre Company's cast of "Mamma Mia!" performs during a dress rehearsal in 2019. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Whitefish Theatre Company has announced its 2022 to 2023 season lineup, which will include a mixture of staged readings, full-on theatrical performances, and range of different musical acts.

In all, there are 15 shows spanning a period beginning Sept. 10 and ending on July 10. Ticket sales have opened up, including for individual shows, as well as bundle packages. People can qualify for a Build-Your-Own Pass that includes a 10% discount if they purchase tickets for six shows of their choosing. A season pass comes at a 15% discount, for a total price of $260.

The first production of the season is “Making God Laugh,” a comedic drama that uses holidays spanning 30 years to chart the lives of a family of five, including a trio of adult children made up of a priest, a former football star and an aspiring actress. “Making God Laugh” is a Black Curtain theater show, meaning it’s a staged reading. Kim Krueger, the artistic director for the theater company, said Black Curtain shows can often be a testing ground for something that could be a main stage production down the road. They’ve been growing in popularity in recent years.

“They have really interesting material. They have something to be said that’s a little more risky,” Krueger said. “People just want to listen to the story and use their own imagination.”

 From there the theater company will host a Sept. 24 performance by Shayna Steele, a singer who has experience on Broadway, and as a backup vocalist for Bette Midler, Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, Moby and Steely Dan. The show will include a five-piece band, and a set list including originals, R&B classics, jazz and blues. Musical performers lined up for later in the season include the melodic arrangements of Belgian musical group WÖR (Nov. 10), the music of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-influenced Seffarine (Feb. 3), international a capella group Accent (March 9) and the pop-vocal jazz band The Black Market Trust (April 22).

The first main stage production of the season will be composer Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” The musical will run from Oct. 20 through Oct. 23, and then from Oct. 27 through Oct. 30. With elements of horror, comedy, romance and revenge, the show is one that Krueger is particularly passionate about, in part because Sondheim died in November 2021. Auditions for the show will be opening up soon.

 “It tells a really great story about love and revenge, and what people will do to extract revenge, and who decides who the good people are and who the not good people are. Who are the villains and who are the heroes in this? It’s thought provoking in that way,” Krueger said.

Jen Asebrook, the theater company’s executive director, said “Sweeney Todd” promises to be “a big show” with large musical numbers and “incredible costumes.”

 “It’s Stephen Sondheim music, it’s complicated, it’s really great music. There are just people who are in the musical theatre world in our community that just really love to tackle a Sondheim musical,” she said. 

This year’s Christmas show will be a Kate Hamill stage adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel “Little Women.” The theater performed a Hamill adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” last season.

“She’s just finding this way to take classic stories, and take kind of a new, spunky, modern outlook with the language and the staging,” Asebrook said. “We really enjoyed how she did “‘Sense and Sensibility.’” The Whitefish Theatre Company’s production of “Little Women” will include shows from Dec. 8 through Dec. 11 and Dec. 16 through Dec. 18.

Also on the schedule this season is a double-feature performance of “The Velveteen Rabbit” and “Bedtime Stories (As Told By Our Dad) (Who Messed Them Up).”

 “It goes from this sweet, classic play, to a really funny, goofy story that I think kids are going to really enjoy,” Asebrook said. The double-feature will have a mixture of kid and adult actors, and performances are scheduled for Feb. 23 through Feb. 26 and March 3 through March 5. Audiences may be familiar with “The Velveteen Rabbit,” which is adapted from a 1922 children’s book by Margery Williams about a stuffed bunny waiting to be discovered and become real by being loved by others. “Bedtime Stories” is a playful take on classic fairytales as told by a father who isn’t quite sure on all the details. Fairytales he improvises include a version of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” in which the boy cries “dinosaur,” and a variation on “Rumpelstiltskin” where the gold is spun into straw.

For more information go to https://www.whitefishtheatreco.org/