It appears that the INDEPENDENT PLAYERS’ 2015-2016 Season is shaking out to be all about women! Truth be told, it is a season in which IP is doing shows which have been on its “to do” list for a number of years and just didn’t get done because other shows precluded them and found their way into past IP seasons. The interesting thing about the season is that the shows are very different from each other, but they represent what IP has been doing since it was founded in the summer of 1978.
This fall, similar to the summer of 1978, IP presented its first original musical review—Love4 —since 1994 when it presented From London With Love conceived and directed by Gareth Sitz and Virginia Zymonas. Love4 starred six exquisite singer-actresses who delighted audiences night after night with their wonderful renditions of songs, for the most part, from musicals with which many in our audiences were not familiar. Doug Orlyk (director and pianist) and his amazing cast—Kim Borland, Kelley Buesse, Meg McGarry, Christine Pfenninger, Barb Rieger and Lori Skubich— brought many of these songs to our audiences for the first time, and they loved them. We’d wanted to produce a musical revue again, because it is part of what we often did in the past, but hadn’t done in 18 years. Love4 was a great way to get back into producing musical reviews once again. The plan is to present something musical each season, alternating annually between musical revues and full-blown musicals. So, if all goes as planned, IP will produce a musical which it has never done before in 2016-2017.
As noted elsewhere, IP is producing The Octette Bridge Club which opens on Friday, March 4th and runs Fridays and Saturdays through March 19th. Except for the first ten minutes, when the photographer from the local newspaper is interviewing and photographing the eight sisters who belong to the “Club,” we are treated to their lively banter, the acting out of their Halloween characters’ personas and their sharing of their lives with each other. In other words, the audience really get to know them very well. In some ways, this show bears a strong resemblance to Noel Coward’s Waiting in the Wings, which was produced in March 2011 and featured great roles for women (thirteen!). Needless to say, IP has produced numerous shows with strong roles for women throughout its history. The list goes on and on. Just check out “38 Years on Stage” above and scroll through the list of shows IP has presented and you’ll see how much it cherishes the many women who have graced its stage over the years.