Spinning Tree Theatre this week wraps up a memorable production of “Fiddler on the Roof,” which closes the company’s 2014-15 season.
“Fiddler,” in its original Broadway incarnation, was directed and choreographed by the legendary Jerome Robbins. And to kick off its 2015-16 season, Spinning Tree founders Andrew Parkhurst and Michael Grayman will turn to another Robbins classic — “West Side Story,” which the master choreographer conceived as “Romeo and Juliet” transposed to the world of New York gangs in the 1950s.
Grayman and Parkhurst, former dancers, each have a long association with the show, which features one of Leonard Bernstein’s finest scores and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Grayman and Parkhurst met as performers in the 40th anniversary European tour, and Grayman had previously danced in the 40th anniversary Broadway tour. Parkhurst also performed the show in Augsburg, Germany, with an international cast and an orchestra of 60 and in 2000 appeared in a production at Starlight Theatre.
“West Side Story” will run Aug. 20-Sept. 5 at a venue to be announced. The cast will include Megan Herrera (Chava in “Fiddler”) as Maria; Jacob Aaron Cullum (appearing in the Unicorn’s current production of “Cock”) as Tony; Vanessa Severo (seen in Spinning Tree’s production of “Black Pearl Sings”); and veteran performer Kip Niven as Doc. Parkhurst and Grayman have been authorized to re-create Robbins’ original choreography.
The rest of the season:
▪ “The Turn of the Screw,” Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of the Henry James classic ghost story, Oct. 15-Nov. 1. The cast features Nicole Marie Green as the Governess and Charles Fugate in all other roles.
▪ “13” a musical with a score and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown and a book by Dan Elish and Robert Horn, Feb. 11-28, 2016. The show has not been cast but will feature a cast of 13 actor/singer/dancers.
▪ “Amadeus” by Peter Shaffer, April/May 2016 (exact dates to be announced). The cast will include Robert Gibby Brand and Walter Coppage.
“Fiddler on the Roof” runs through Sunday at Just Off Broadway Theatre, 3051 Penn Valley Drive. For information on the show or the 2015-16 season, call 816-569-5277 or go to www.spinningtreetheatre.com.
At the Coterie
The Coterie, the respected young-audiences theater company at Crown Center, has announced its 2015-16 season, which gets underway Sept. 22 with “The Miracle Worker,” William Gibson’s classic about teacher Annie Sullivan’s efforts to teach the young Helen Keller, deaf and blind since birth, to speak and understand language.
The show will be directed by Jeff Church and include American Sign Language interpretations. The cast includes Vanessa Severo, Walter Coppage and Jennifer Mays. Performances continue through Oct. 30.
The rest of the season:
▪ “A Charlie Brown Christmas” by Charles Schulz, Nov. 17-Jan. 3, 2016. Based on the 1965 TV special with its memorable light jazz score by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, the show will feature a live trio onstage. Jeff Church is the director.
▪ “And Justice for Some: The Freedom Trial of Anthony Burns (1858)” by Wendy Lement and Bethany Dunakin, Jan. 26 to Feb. 21, 2016. The play recounts the true tale of Anthony Burns, a fugitive slave arrested in Boston and, after a trial, returned to his “owner” in Virginia. Jeff Church directs.
▪ “Tomas and the Library Lady” by Jose Cruz Gonzalez, Feb. 25 to March 18, 2016. Based on a book by Pat Mora, the story depicts young Tomas Rivera, a migrant worker who never stays in one place long as his family follows work picking crops. One summer Tomas visits a library and discovers other worlds through books. Vanessa Severo will direct.
▪ “Where the Wild Things Are,” March 21-May 7, 2016. The Coterie hosts Presentation House Theatre in Vancouver, British Columbia, the only theater company licensed to perform this stage adaptation of writer/illustrator Maurice Sendak’s popular tale about a boy named Max who journeys in his dreams to an island populated by strange beasts called the Wild Things. Kim Selody will direct the show.
▪ “Madagascar — A Musical Adventure,” based on the DreamWorks movie, June 14-Aug. 7, 2016. With a book by Kevin Del Aguila and music and lyrics by George Noriega and Joel Someillan, the show features a gallery of vivid characters: Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the Hippo. Jerry Jay Cranford will stage the show, with musical direction by Anthony T. Edwards.