MICHIANA SHORES— Plays and musicals centering around World War I, World War II and Vietnam will be some of the offerings brought to you by Dunes Summer Theatre this year.

Dunes Summer Theatre has announced its 2019 Spring and Summer Season, which includes award-winning titles and award-winning directors. The Season runs from the end of April through September.

Producing Artistic Director Jeffrey Baumgartner said, “We’re thrilled to continue to offer quality productions that extend well beyond the summer season parameters of Memorial Day to Labor Day. We’re especially pleased to again present a high-quality caliber of talent, including a wonderful mix of local and Chicago directors and actors.”

The season kicks off with a production of “Betrayal,” by Harold Pinter, and runs from April 26 through May 5. Directed by Baumgartner, this dramatic play, considered Pinter’s best work, won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play in 1979. While written several decades ago, the story’s timeless theme explores the dynamics of a romantic love triangle, with a slight twist. Set in England, the play is loosely based on this critically acclaimed author’s own life experiences.

“Smoke and Mirrors,” written by Anthony Herrera and Will Osbourne, opens May 31 and runs for three weekends. This captivating comedy takes audiences to an isolated island off the Mississippi gulf coast where a power-hungry film producer/director proves he will stop at nothing to kill off the insufferable star actor of his multimillion-dollar film. All goes as planned until a wily, eccentric sheriff unearths one surprise after another. This riveting mystery comedy will keep audiences guessing to the end. 

Opening next is “Other Desert Cities,” a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, written by Jon Robin Baitz. Set in California’s Coachella Valley, this smart, entertaining play explores family dynamics when prodigal daughter, Brooke, returns home to share her imminent book release which portrays her family’s dark history during the Vietnam War era. Desperate to keep her book and the family’s secrets shelved forever, Brooke’s high-profile, conservative parents (best friends of Ronald and Nancy Reagan), agonize before unfolding what really happened during those tumultuous times. Brooke’s often inebriated aunt and sarcastic younger brother add a healthy dose of family discord to this play. Columbia College’s Susan Padveen directs this show which runs for three weekends, opening June 28.

Award-winning musical director Andrew Holtz returns to the Dunes Summer Theatre to bring Rogers and Hammerstein’s classic “South Pacific” to life, featuring a dynamic blend of tremendous actors/singers from around the region. The issue of racial prejudice is candidly explored throughout the concert, with popular standards including “Some Enchanted Evening”, “Bali Ha’i”, “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair”, “There Is Nothing Like a Dame”, “Happy Talk”, “Younger Than Springtime”, and “I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy”. South Pacific won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1950 and ten Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Libretto. It is the only musical production to win Tony Awards in all four acting categories. South Pacific is presented in-concert and runs for three performances only, July 26, 27 and 28. The July 27 performance features Dunes Summer Theatre’s Annual Gala with special guests.

On Aug. 2, for one night only, Dunes Summer Theatre welcomes Nashville based singer/songwriter and heart throb Andrew Salgado to the stage. Andrew has performed with Carrie Underwood and co-written songs for Toby Keith, Darryl Worley, Clint Black, Brian Wilson, Kacey Musgraves, and others. In 2019, his song “Back Home” was placed in the feature film, Heavens to Betsy 2, which Woman’s Day Magazine named one of the Top 10 Christian Films to See in 2019. Andrew is currently being showcased on the nationally-aired PBS special, “Songs at the Center,” and has been featured extensively on WGN, ABC, and NBC. His music can be on his website, www.AndrewSalgado.net. All tickets are $20.

This summer’s Theatre for Young Audiences production is a musical adaptation of “Hansel and Gretel Go Cajun!” written by Mark A. Pence and directed by Greg Kolack. This wacky, spicy twist on a fairy-tale favorite follows Hansel Jo & Gretel Lou as they journey into the Louisiana Bayou in search of a legendary long-lost pirate treasure. This production runs Friday/Saturday, Aug. 2, 3, 9, and 10 with performances at 11 a.m. Ticket prices are $5 children, $10 adults.

Chicago’s Goodman Theatre award-winning director, Steve Scott, returns to Dunes Summer Theatre for Working 2012, a delightful musical by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso. Based on the book by the late Chicago journalist, Studs Terkel, Working 2012 is a revised version of the Tony Nominated musical Working, which explores a day in the life of several characters in their different careers. This new version includes two songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (of Hamilton fame), as well as songs by James Taylor and others. Working 2012 opens Aug. 23 and runs for three weekends, closing Sept. 10. Andrew Holtz joins Scott as musical director.

Wrapping up the season is “Billy Bishop Goes to War,” a two-man show directed by John Green of Columbia College, and musical director, Jeff Otto. This musical drama with a comedic twist showcases Canadian ace fighter pilot, Billy Bishop, as he recounts his battles during World War I. First assigned to fight in the muddy trenches, Bishop quickly became frustrated. In July of 1915, after watching a Royal Flying Corps (RFC) aircraft return from a mission, Bishop set his sights on being a fighter pilot. Once a member of the RFC, his subsequent no-holds-barred missions earned him the temporary honor of being the highest scoring ace, second only to Germany’s Red Baron. Mike Nichols directed this original two man show in the New York production. Billy Bishop opens Sept. 13 and runs for two weekends only, closing on Sept. 22.

Season tickets and individual show tickets are now on sale. For more information, visit www.dunesartsfoundation.org or call the Box/Admin Office at 219-879-7509.

Dunes Summer Theatre is operated by the Dunes Arts Foundation a 501(c)3 non-profit arts organization. Founded in 1951, it is currently celebrating its 68th season of continuous operation. This “gem in the woods” provides quality professional theatre and education programs in an enchanting setting.

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