Life Sunday, July 15, 2007

The 2008 Season of the Pentacle Theatre

July 15, 2007

A world premier and at least one Oregon premiere are among the highlights of the 2008 season of Pentacle Theatre.

Although the season will include such familiar names as Neil Simon and the musical "Guys and Dolls," there will be a dose of the unfamiliar, including "Dorian -- The Remarkable Mr. Gray," a new musical version by Randy Bowser of the Oscar Wilde classic, "The Picture of Dorian Gray."

This is the first time in 40 years Pentacle, which is in West Salem, has done an original musical.

Also notable is the Oregon premiere of John Patrick Shanley's "Doubt, A Parable," which won the Pulitzer Prize for drama and the Tony Award for best play in 2005.

A thriller, "Corpse!," and an environmentally themed comedy, "Betty the Yeti," are on the schedule as well.

The unconventional season will even feature an irreverent Christmas show, "Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge," a black comedy by Christopher Durang, in which the Cratchit mom gets drunk and gets wild.

"I'm really excited about it," Pentacle president Cec Koontz said of the season.

"I think it's going to be a great season as far as I'm concerned.

Her husband, longtime Pentacle actor Ken Hermens, headed the play selection committee.

"Doubt, A Parable," a drama dealing with the abuse scandal in the Catholic church, recently has been announced as a movie project starring Meryl Streep, although Koontz said Pentacle has acquired the rights for a production.

Season ticket brochures will go out in August.

Pentacle's 2008 season

"The Sunshine Boys" by Neil Simon, Jan. 25-Feb. 16.

Simon's play is the story of Al Lewis and Willie Clark, who played vaudeville as a team for 43 years until their mutual aggravation led to a separation. Now it's 11 years later, and CBS wants them to reunite for a comedy special; their contentious reunion inspires some of Simon's sharpest dialogue.

"The Diviners" by Jim Leonard Jr., March 7-29.

This is the story of the visit by a disenchanted preacher to a Depression-era Midwest town in search of renewing its faith.

A disturbed teenage boy has never recovered from nearly drowning when he was a small child. His friendship with the visiting preacher promises to help him overcome his paralyzing fear of water, but there are unintended consequences.

"Dorian -- The Remarkable Mr. Gray," book, music and lyrics by Randy Bowser, based on the Oscar Wilde story, April 18-May 10.

A faithful adaptation of Oscar Wilde's famous Gothic horror novel about a mysterious man who never appears to age, although his hidden portrait captures all of his sins.

"Betty the Yeti" by Jon Klein, May 30-June 21.

A satire wrapped in an eco-fable set in the Pacific Northwest. Deep in the forests of northern Oregon, environmentalists clash with loggers to determine the future of the land.

A logger who has recently lost his job and has split with his wife sits in the treetops in mourning. Suddenly, a female Sasquatch, or yeti, emerges from the forest. Their meeting and subsequent interactions lead to a moral dilemma: Should he go against his politics and protect the trusting animal or cash in on a deal that will destroy the creature's habitat?

"Doubt, A Parable," John Patrick Shanley, July 11-Aug. 2.

Suspicion is cast on a priest's behavior as Sister Aloysius, a school principal, takes matters into her own hands when she feels her students and her territory are being threatened.

"Guys and Dolls," music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, based on story and characters of Damon Runyon, Aug. 22-Sept. 13.

Set in Runyon's mythical New York City, this show features a cast of vivid characters, from Sarah Brown, the upright "mission doll," to Sky Masterson, the slick, high-rolling gambler who woos her on a bet; Adelaide, the chronically ill and chronically engaged nightclub performer; and Nathan Detroit, her devoted fiance, desperate as always to find a spot for his infamous crap game.

"Corpse!," by Gerald Moon, Oct. 3-25.

Set in London in 1936, this is a mystery teeming with family betrayal and fraternal deception. Evelyn, an out-of-work actor, engages the genial Irishman Powell, who hides a shady past, to do away with his suave, sophisticated, moneyed twin.

As with most foolproof plans, things do not go as they should and people are not what they seem.

"Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge," by Christopher Durang, Nov. 14-Dec. 6.

An irreverent, rollicking parody of the Charles Dickens' classic, "A Christmas Carol."

The Ghost of Christmas Past's incompetence brings Mrs. Bob Cratchit, a minor character in the Dickens' tale, to center stage. As the ghost loses more control, the plot morphs into parodies of "Oliver Twist," "The Gift of the Magi" and "It's a Wonderful Life," among others. By play's end, the traditional tale of Scrooge's redemption and gentle grace is placed squarely on its head.

rcowan@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6728

2008 season

Where: Pentacle Theatre, 324 52nd Ave. NW

When: Performances at 7:30 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees the first two Sundays

Call: (503) 485-4300


SEASON TICKETS

Cost: $120 Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday matinees, and $113 for the Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday evening performances. (Unchanged from this season, season tickets are a savings of more than 20 percent over the individual ticket price.)

On sale: Aug. 17

INDIVIDUAL TICKETS

Cost: Musicals $23 Fridays, Saturday and Sunday matinees; $22 other nights; straight plays, $18 and $17 (reflecting a 50 cent increase in service charge and a $1 in the ticket)

On sale: Jan. 1, 2008

"The Sunshine Boys" by Neil Simon, Jan. 25-Feb. 16

"The Diviners" by Jim Leonard Jr., March 7-29.

"Dorian -- The Remarkable Mr. Gray," book, music and lyrics by Randy Bowser, based on the Oscar Wilde story, April 18-May 10.

"Betty the Yeti" by Jon Klein, May 30-June 21.

"Doubt, A Parable," John Patrick Shanley, July 11-Aug. 2.

"Guys and Dolls," music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, based on story and characters of Damon Runyon, Aug. 22-Sept. 13

"Corpse!," by Gerald Moon, Oct. 3-25

"Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge," by Christopher Durang, Nov. 14-Dec. 6