Musical Theater Heritage appears to be in expansion mode.
The nonprofit theater company that produces shows at Crown Center and organizes Broadway theater tours in New York has acquired a higher profile since taking over management of what used to be Off Center Theatre on the third level of Crown Center Shops.
Chad Gerlt, executive producer, said the company has absorbed the two remaining movie theaters adjacent to the main performance area and is converting them into small venues that could be used for rehearsals and classrooms. Gerlt added that MTH is in talks with a local theater company about moving into one of those spaces later this year.
Gerlt said MTH has gone from 50 performances last year to 96 scheduled performances this year, including concert productions of Broadway classics and the popular monthly Musical Monday cabaret shows, which have been expanded to include Tuesday performances to meet demand. Next year, the company expects to produce 154 performances.
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The current show is “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” a tribute to legendary Broadway composers Alan J. Lerner and Frederick Loewe, whose musicals include “My Fair Lady,” “Camelot,” “Brigadoon,” “Gigi” and “Paint Your Wagon.” The revue was written by MTH founder George Harter and staged by artistic director Sarah Crawford.
The cast includes Sara Sommerer, Patrick Beasley, Justin McCoy and Ashley Wheat. Harter narrates. Jeremy Watson is the musical director. In the chorus are Elizabeth Birger, Andrew Schmidt, Donna Dandino and Linnaia McKenzie.
New Theatre update
William Christopher, best known as Father Mulcahy on “M*A*S*H,” has dropped out of the New Theatre Restaurant’s coming production of “You Can’t Take It With You.” Replacing him will be Jim O’Heir, one of the stars of NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation.” O’Heir hails from Chicago, where he was an improv actor and part of the theater troupe “White Noise.” Subsequently, he has performed extensively in film and television, appearing as guest star on such shows as “Friends,” “ER,” “Malcolm in the Middle” and “3rd Rock From the Sun.”
“You Can’t Take It With You” runs Sept. 24-Nov. 29. The cast includes New Theatre favorites Cathy Barnett, Craig Benton, Debra Bluford, Dodie Brown and Jim Korinke. Call 913-649-7469 or go to NewTheatre.com.