"There’s no business like show business....On with the show!"
These lyrics from the musical “Annie Get Your Gun,” represent the excitement swirling around the Sandusky State Theatre and new executive director Thomas T. Kazmierczak III.
The Buffalo, N.Y. area native and Huron resident officially launched the historic theater’s 2008 80th Anniversary Friday.
“You have to agree there’s no business like show business,” Kazmierczak said. “With complete excitement I say now ‘On with the Show!’”
That is the theme of the season which features, in Kazmierczak’s words, “something for everybody.”
The season kicks off with a musical version of the popular television show “Gilligan’s Island,” which will play the State July 19 through 27.
A drama workshop for youngsters 11-17 in July will allow them to rehearse for their own full-scale musical production of Disney’s “High School Musical.” The workshop will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 28-31, Aug. 4-7 and Aug. 11-13, with performances slated for 7:30 p.m. Aug. 13 and 14.
There are 18 slots open for the workshop and the production. The cost to participate is $145 per student.
“High School Musical” is a Disney original movie that has become a phenomenon, and has spawned stage musical versions. It centers on teenagers from different backgrounds, Troy and Gabriella, who team up and try out for their high school’s musical. Along they way, they find love and trouble.
In September, the Sandusky State Theatre will present one of the premier performances of “Hats! The Musical,” a celebration of womanhood.
“Drop everything and join us to celebrate the musical for the rest of your life!” hails a brochure about the show. “If you are 50, over 50, or know someone who is at least 50, this is the musical to see.”
The musical promises “sparkling costumes, fantastic songs and great entertainment.”
Kazmierczak said he expects bus loads of people to descend on Sandusky for the production.
“Hats! The Musical” is set for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27, 2 p.m. Sept. 28, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Oct. 2, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3 and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4.
A performance of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is set for Oct. 9, while Irving Berlin’s “I Love a Piano” has been scheduled for Oct. 17.
Kazmierczak and his staff are even looking ahead to 2009, with productions such as the 10th anniversary tour of the Broadway musical “Footloose,” “Coretta Scott King and the Fight For Freedom” and “Tom Sawyer: An Original Musical.”
Musicals and plays aren’t the only forms of entertainment that will grace Sandusky State Theatre’s spaces this season. The theater will double as a live stage show venue and a movie theater.
The State’s film series kicks off at 2 p.m. today with a showing of “Grease,” while such movies as “Friday the 13th” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” are slated for the fall. Today’s showing of “Grease” is part of a free open house event at the theater, which begins at 1 p.m. You will be able to meet Kazmierczak and tour the theater.
“Guess what? There are no tickets required,” Kazmierczak said, referring to the film series. The theater’s staff, however, will accept donations.
Other events at the State will include New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day parties, Dinner and Conversation with Michael Thomas, one of Saturday Night Live’s writers, “Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker,” a fashion show and “Christmas in the City,” a new downtown retail attraction.
Kazmierczak said one of the major highlights of the theater’s current five year plan is the effort to introduce youngsters to live theater. As part of that goal, The State is offering a free children’s ticket for each adult ticket purchased.
“The future of theater in Sandusky will depend on getting youth introduced to the theater,” the executive director said.
Kazmierczak, 40, has been interested in the theater since his youth. He’s been performing since eighth grade and, at age 16, ran a community theater group near Buffalo.
Kazmierczak has psychology and theater degrees from the University of Buffalo, and a masters in theater education and directing from Emerson College in Boston.
FOR YOUR INFO
For more information about the Sandusky State Theatre’s season, and specific times and dates, call (877) 626-1950 or visit www.sanduskystate.com