And now for something completely different. For its 2014 season, Theatre at the Center of Munster, Indiana will present five shows never before mounted on a Chicagoland stage. And yes folks, that means, among other things, the world premiere of “The Beverly Hillbillies, The Musical,” based on the hit television series that ran from 1962-1971.
Here’s a complete look at Theatre at the Center’s 2014 lineup:
± “RING OF FIRE: THE MUSIC OF JOHNNY CASH” (Feb. 20 – March 30, 2014): A reworked, more intimate version of the Broadway show created by Richard Maltby Jr. and conceived by William Meade. This adaptation, which features 38 of Johnny Cash’s most famous songs, promises to “place a greater emphasis on the music as a way to illustrate the iconic singer’s journey through life.” Directed by Brian Russell, the show will feature a cast of seven actor/musicians and such classic Cash songs as “I Walk the Line,” “A Boy Named Sue,” “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” and the title song.
± “MIRACLE ON SOUTH DIVISION STREET” (May 1-June 1, 2014): The Chicago area premiere of this comedic play by Tom Dudzick (author of the local favorite, “Over the Tavern”), will be directed by William Pullinsi. It follows the Nowak family as they cope with faith that is being tested, and as they adjust to life’s surprises. The Nowak’s Buffalo, New York neighborhood may be depressed, but Clara, the family matriarch, happily runs her soup kitchen and tends to the family heirloom – a twenty-foot shrine to the Blessed Mother which adjoins the house. Clara is waiting for the Pope to make her father’s vision of the Blessed Mother an official Miracle, but daughter Ruth unveils her plan to write and star in a one-woman show about that family miracle “so the whole world will know!”
± “THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, THE MUSICAL” (July 10 – Aug. 10): With a book by David Rodgers adapted from some classic episodes of the show, and lyrics and music by Chicago composer Gregg Opelka., this show, to be directed by David Perkovich, will feature all the familiar TV characters — from Jed Clampett, the unexpected millionaire, and his daughter Elly Mae, to his lumbering nephew Jethro, the conniving banker Mr. Drysdale, and, of course, the irrepressible Granny Clampett.
± “WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN” (Sept. 11-Oct. 19, 2014): Created by David Yazbek (music and lyrics) and Jeffrey Lane (book) — the team behind “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” — this show is based on the Spanish film by Pedro Almodovar. It features a slew of powerful women characters as they bemoan the unreliable men in their lives and seek a measure of revenge. William Pullinsi will direct.
± “A CHRISTMAS MEMORY” (Nov. 13 – Dec. 14, 2014): A Chicago premiere based on the famous short story by Truman Capote, this evocative musical memoir is set in a small southern town. It follows the comic adventures of two misfit cousins and celebrates the simple pleasures of life and the joys of giving. Created by the veteran Broadway team of Duane Poole (book), Larry Grossman (music), and Carol Hall (lyrics), it will be directed by William Pullinsi.
Season subscriptions ($150 or $160) are now on sale for renewals, and will begin Oct. 15 for new subscribers. Individual tickets ($40-$44) will go on sale Dec. 16. Call (219) 836-3255 or (for single tickets only) (800) 511-1552. For more information visit TheatreAtTheCenter.com.