posted July 14, 2009

HSRT Continues with Original Musical: Dog Park

The final opening for the Hope Summer Repertory Theatre will be at Baker Lofts on July 23rd at 8:30 p.m. called Dog Park: the Musical by Jahnna Beecham, Malcom Hillgartner, and Michael J. Hume.  Songs are also by Malcom Hillgartner. 

Take a brand new look at our cabaret stage through the eyes of man's best friend.  Meet the quartet of dogs, Daisy, Champ, Bogie, and Itchy, at the hippest, hottest place in town, the dog park, in this new musical from the creators of Chaps! 

When Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner were invited by the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre to create a new piece for their 2008/09 season, they sat down with their neighbor and writing partner Michael Hume, and came up with the idea for Dog Park: the Musical through their love of their own four-legged friends, their close proximity to the neighborhood dog park and a recent article in their local newspaper talking about a new trend of singles groups meeting up at dog parks with their best friends.   Beecham wrote a lot of the show while she was in Holland acting as Betty Meeks in The Foreigner in the 2008 HSRT summer season and Dog Park: the Musical opened in Milwaukee in January to great success.

Jahnna Beecham is returning for her 8th season, the first five were as a director and playwright, directing The Nerd, Educating Rita, The Reluctant Dragon and two productions of Chaps! which she co-wrote with her husband, Malcolm Hillgartner.  In 2006, she appeared as Maggie in Memory House.  Jahnna has directed at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Cleveland Playhouse, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, and International Theatre of Vienna.

Music Director, Malcolm Hillgartner, returns for his fourth summer at HSRT.  In 1992 he played the title role in Macbeth and Dickinson in 1776, and returned in 1995 and 1996 as musical director and performer in Chaps! A professional actor since 1978, Malcolm has performed with theatres across the US and Europe, including six seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, three seasons with the Intiman Theatre in Seattle, the Seattle Rep, Milwaukee Rep, A Contemporary Theatre, and the Hartman, to name a few.  He has narrated over 30 audiobooks, recently receiving an AudioFile Earphones award for his narration of Cheever: A Life.

Under the pen name Jahnna N. Malcolm, he and Jahnna have written and sold 8.5 million books for children and young adults. They turned one of those books, The Ruby Princess Runs Away, into a movie, which won Best Feature at the 2001 Burbank International Children's Film Festival. They have also written scripts for CD-ROM games, and the content for the Parents and Teachers Choice Award winning programs Hooked on Phonics - Master Reader and Hooked on School Success.  They were featured humor columnists for Sesame Street Parents Magazine and their collected columns on the lighter side of parenting became the award-winning book I'm Counting to 10...

The small cast features two returning company members as well as two new ones.  Michael Hanson, who can also been seen in this season's Room Service as Harry Binion and The Cmplt Wrks of Wm Shkspr....Abrdgd, is returning for his third summer.  Previous HSRT credits include The Foreigner, Forever Plaid, and Kiss Me Kate.  Teddy Yudain is also returning for his third summer and this season he can be seen as Leo Davis in Room Service and in The Cmplt Wrks of Wm Shkspr....Abrdgd.  He was previously seen in The Foreigner, Kiss Me Kate, The Hypochondriac, She Loves Me, and as Judas in Godspell.

New company member, Anne Sheehan, can also been seen as Cindy, the Wash-O-Rama attendant, in Suds.  She is a recent graduate of BradleyUniversity where she appeared in Urinetown (Hope Cladwell), Pirates of Penzance (Ruth), Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Philia), 42nd Street (Phyllis) and Tommy (Mrs. Simpson/Ensemble).  Also joining for his first summer is Jordan Nuckels also playing Hogarth in Room Service.  Jordan recently earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance from the University of Evansville where favorite performances include: Into the Woods (Jack), Company (Paul), Grand Hotel (Bolero), and A Little Night Music (Mr. Erlanson). He studied ballet with Hugh Nini from the age of four, and performed fourteen years with the Festival Ballet Company of North Texas.

Performances continue throughout the summer on July 24, 28, 31, August 4, 6, and 12.

Tickets are on sale through the DeVos Fieldhouse ticket office.   Prices range from $8-$26 for musicals, and $8-$18 for plays. Season tickets, ranging from $45-$85, are also available.

The ticket office is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and is open on Saturday's at noon. On performance dates, the DeWitt Ticket Office will be open through intermission.  The ticket office is located in DeWitt Cultural Center at 12th Street and Columbia Avenue. For tickets call the ticket office at 616-395-7890. For more information visit the HSRT website at www.hope.edu/hsrt. 

The DeWitt Theatre is located at 141 East 12th Street. The Knickerbocker Theatre is located in Holland's downtown on 8th St. and Baker Lofts is located at 171 East 24th Street.

And while at the ticket office, make sure to check out HSRT's other productions such as Room Service,  Suds: The Rocking 60's Soap Opera Musical, in the Knickerbocker Theatre, The Cmplt Wrks of Wm Shkspr...Abrdgd, and Little Women (the musical).  The Children's Performance Troupe is also presenting Click, Clack, Moo and Charlotte's Web