by DICK KEREKES & LEISLA SANSOM
The months of June and July 2013 will be alive and filled with music as the Peach State Summer Theatre(PSST!) presents its always fabulous summer musical theatre program in Valdosta, Georgia at Valdosta State University. The three musicals on this summer’s agenda will be performed in repertory beginning June 1, until July 14.
PSST! is known for excellence and lavish productions, and has put together an interesting mix of entertainment. The Sound of Music, based on the true-life story of the Austrian Von Trapp family will be familiar to almost everyone. The sophisticated romantic comedy A Little Night Music, by Stephen Sondheim, is less familiar; the story, with ‘Send in the Clowns’ as its signature song, is set in Sweden in 1900 and was inspired by a film by Ingmar Bergman. The Marvelous Wonderettes is a musical trip down memory lane that begins with four girls at their 1958 high school prom.
If you are a real musical theatre fan and want to see all three, then mark the dates of June 22 and 23 on your calendar, because you can see all THREE on these two days, with a matinee and evening performance on Saturday followed by a matinee on Sunday.
Are the Peach State summer musicals new to you? Here’s a little background: the program started in 1990 when Valdosta State staged three outdoor musicals at the Jekyll Island Amphitheatre. The productions were very popular and continued until 2004. Although the actors and audiences loved performances at that beautiful offshore site, there were drawbacks. The weather was always an issue; it rains a lot in summer, not a good thing for outdoor theatre. And the productions were expensive, since the sets had to be build in Valdosta and moved, and the production staff and the fifty plus cast members all required transportation and housing.
In 2005 the summer program was moved to the Valdosta State campus, and now uses the Sawyer auditorium in the Fine Arts Building. The auditorium is an exceptional theatre venue, with stadium seating, so every seat has a clear view of the spacious stage. In recognition of excellence, PSST! was designated as the Official Musical Theatre of the State of Georgia in 2006.
Visitors to the musicals since 2005 have discovered that Valdosta is an excellent vacation location. In 2011 Valdosta was named by Rand McNally and USA Today as one of America’s Friendliest Cities. Valdosta has also been certified as an Azalea City by the Azalea Society of America.
Actually one can say Valdosta is well known for four things: southern hospitality, The Peach State Summer Theatre, Valdosta Wildcats, a record breaking high school football team, and Wild Adventures. Yes, one of the nation’s best theme parks (and one of the most reasonably priced as well) makes this city a vacation destination for the entire family.
From Jacksonville, it’s an easy drive, out I-10, to Lake City, then right up I-75, to Valdosta. The theatre is at 204 W. Brookwood Drive, Valdosta Georgia. (not a mailing address but for your GPS settings).
Regular tickets are moderately priced. PSST! also has three pay-what-you can dates for each of three shows; June 9 for the matinee of Sound of Music, June 26 for the evening performance of Night Music, and June 29 for the matinee of Wonderettes . For more information on show dates and pricing, call (229) 259-7770 or visit their website at ww2.valdosta.edu/psst .
The facility members of Valdosta State College held auditions for all three shows, and have selected 62 very talented actors, some from this region and others from all over the county. The productions are truly professional in every way, from sets to costumes and production values. Don’t miss this opportunity to see exceptional theatre.
SUMMER MUSICALS AT PEACH STATE SUMMER THEATRE
by DICK KEREKES & LEISLA SANSOM