A mix of one-night concerts, new Broadway musicals and classic favorites will be on the menu when the Croswell Opera House reopens in May after several months of being closed for renovations.
“This season is going to showcase everything people love about the Croswell,” said artistic director Jere Righter. “We’ll be showcasing our beautiful new spaces, and we’ll also be pushing ourselves to present not just bigger and better theater, but shows that will amaze and create a real sense of wonder.”
The 2017 season will begin with a grand reopening series consisting of three concerts in the newly renovated Julianne Argyros Auditorium, each on a different weekend.
Adrian native Shonn Wiley will return to the Croswell on Saturday, May 6, with Under the Streetlamp, a band formed by four cast members of the musical “Jersey Boys.” The band, which tours the country and has been featured on numerous PBS specials, has become known for its tightly woven harmonies as it covers the doo-wop hits of the ’50s and ’60s, including the Drifters, the Beach Boys, and the Four Seasons.
Tunes from some of Broadway’s best musicals will be featured in the second concert, “Best of Broadway.” Taking place on Mother’s Day, the concert will feature longtime Croswell favorites Michael Lackey, Nolan Hines and Erica Wyman.
The third concert, “Jukebox Legends,” will take place May 20. It will star Tatiana Owens and Eric Parker rocking their way through the greatest hits of Motown and beyond, including Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
June will kick off the live theater season with a three-weekend run of the musical “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” Based on the novel by Ian Fleming and the 1968 film, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” is a family-friendly story with songs by the Sherman brothers, the composers who wrote the music for “Mary Poppins.”
“It’s a celebration of clever thinking, kindness, and a car with a larger-than-life personality,” Righter said.
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” will open June 10 and run for three weekends.
The July musical will be “In the Heights,” the first musical written by “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Set in the largely Dominican-American neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York, the show uses salsa-inspired music to tell a story about community and family. It received four Tony Awards, including Best Musical, in 2008. “In the Heights” will run from July 14-23.
July will bring an old favorite back to the Croswell stage. “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, is a fast-paced farce set in ancient Rome. It was last performed at the Croswell in 1999. “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” will run from Aug. 11-20.
In September, the Croswell will present the stage version of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” The musical, which is packed with rousing dance numbers and spectacular scenic effects, ran for more than 13 years on Broadway. “Beauty and the Beast” will open Sept. 22 and run through Oct. 1.
In October, the Croswell will inaugurate the new Sage Studio black-box theater with a production of a new play by Adrian playwright Terry Hissong, “Family Digs.” Two two-act comedy tells the story of an archaeologist father, his freeloading New Age-aficionado son and his exasperated daughter as they deal with what could be the world’s greatest archaeological discovery. “Family Digs” will be presented in collaboration with Westfall-Hissong Productions and will run from Oct. 13-22.
“Developing new work is an important part of the Croswell’s mission,” Righter said, noting that the theater has premiered several new shows in the past, most recently Michael and Betsy Lackey’s musical “Obsession” in 2011. “That’s part of what this renovation is about — expanding the types of opportunities we are bringing to the community. We want to be known not just for doing the classic plays and musicals, but also for being a place where new work can flourish. This play is just the beginning.”
The Croswell’s 2017 Christmas show will be “Meet Me in St. Louis.” Based on the classic MGM film of the same name, “Meet Me in St. Louis” is the story of a family at the turn of the 20th century as they anticipate the wonders of the 1904 World’s Fair. It includes memorable numbers like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” The Boy Next Door,” “The Trolley Song,” and of course the title number. It will open Thanksgiving weekend and run through Dec. 3.
Subscriptions to the 2017 season are now on sale and may be ordered by calling the Croswell office at 517-264-7469. Individual ticket sales will begin Feb. 1.
The Croswell was first opened in 1866 as the Adrian Union Hall. It was converted into a movie theater in 1919, a role it filled for nearly 50 years. The 2017 season will be the Croswell’s 50th season since it was revived as a home for live theater in 1968.
The Croswell’s 2017 Broadway Season
- May 6: Under the Streetlamp presents “Rockin’ Around the Clock”
- May 14: “The Best of Broadway” with Michael Lackey, Nolan Hines and Erica Wyman
- May 20: “Jukebox Legends” with Tatiana Owens and Eric Parker
- June 10-25: “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”
- July 14-23: “In the Heights”
- 11-20: “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”
- 22 to Oct. 1: “Beauty and the Beast”
- 13-22: “Family Digs”
- 25 to Dec. 3: “Meet Me in St. Louis”