published Friday, April 6th, 2012

Chattanooga Theatre Centre updates play series for new season

2012-13 CTC SEASON

• Spotlight Series: "Cabaret," MainStage, Sept. 7-23; "God of Carnage," CircleStage, Oct. 12-28; "The Children's Hour," CircleStage, April 12-28; "A Doll's House," CircleStage, Feb. 8-24; "Legally Blonde," MainStage, July 12-28.

• Stage Door Series: "The 39 Steps," CircleStage, Sept. 14-29; "The Santaland Diaries/Season's Greetings," CircleStage, Nov. 23-Dec. 8; "The Divine Sister," CircleStage, May 10-25; "Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson," CircleStage, June 14-July 13.

• Youth Theatre Series: "Bunnicula," MainStage, Sept. 28-Oct. 7; "Annie," MainStage, Dec. 7-23; "The Red Badge of Courage," MainStage, Feb. 1-10; "How I Became a Pirate," MainStage, March 29-April 7; "Sideways Stories From Wayside School," MainStage, May 10-19.

• Family Series: "The 39 Steps," CircleStage, Sept. 14-29; "Bunnicula," MainStage, Sept. 28-Oct. 7; "Annie," MainStage, Dec. 7-23; "The Red Badge of Courage," MainStage, Feb. 1-10; "How I Became a Pirate," MainStage, March 29-April 7; "Sideways Stories," MainStage, May 10-19; "Legally Blonde," MainStage, July 12-28.

• Musical Series: "Cabaret," MainStage, Sept. 7-23; "Annie," MainStage, Dec. 7-23; "How I Became a Pirate," MainStage, March 29-April 7; "Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson," CircleStage, June 14-July 13; "Legally Blonde," MainStage, July 12-28.

The Chattanooga Theatre Centre has shuffled its offerings for the 2012-13 season in an attempt to both enhance its product and tailor a schedule of plays for various audiences.

Where previously the theater offered a MainStage Series (musicals and nonmusicals), a CircleStage Series (edgier productions) and a Youth Theatre Series, it will now provide a Spotlight Series, a Stage Door Series, a Youth Theatre Series, a Family Series and a Musical Series.

"We're all very excited," said CTC managing producer George Quick. "There's a lot of great opportunity for some real creativity here."

The shift moves nonmusical plays traditionally done on the MainStage to the Circle Theatre and allows Youth Theatre shows to come to the MainStage.

"We feel that moving these plays that would have been a part of the [MainStage] series allows for a full experience for the audience and the actors alike," Quick said.

With the Circle Theatre's flexibility in arrangement, the shows should be "far more impactful than in a traditional proscenium setting," he said.

Quick said the changes will raise the stock of the Youth Theatre.

"People can expect a little more out of the Youth Theatre," he said. "We want to bring in the kind of MainStage production values people are used to seeing."

The larger setting will allow school groups the experience of a traditional theater setting and permit the actors to do fewer school shows but to larger audiences, Quick said.

"Because we use young people and have so many school shows," he said, "we don't have to take [them out of school] as many days."

The shifting, according to Quick, also permits the theater to add another musical -- traditionally the CTC's best-selling shows -- to the overall lineup.

As such, he said, it will allow a musical to be staged at the beginning of the season in September ("Cabaret") as well as in December ("Annie") and to end the season with a musical on both the MainStage ("Legally Blonde") and the CircleStage ("Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson").

Among the dramas that will welcome a more intimate setting, according to Quick, are "God of Carnage," Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House" and Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour," which will be offered in conjunction with HATCH and the Conference on Southern Literature next April.

Four of the five series will have five shows, while the Family Series will have seven.

In addition to the series offerings, the theater will continue to sell flex passes, which may be used for shows in any series.

Before the start of the 2012-13 season, current and prospective subscribers will be offered the chance to purchase series at a reduced cost. Renewals will begin at the end of May.

"It's a real strong season," Quick said. "We're excited at what we're able to do."

Contact Clint Cooper at ccooper@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6497.

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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