posted June 16, 2009

The Rocking 60’s Soap Opera, Suds, to Open at the Knickerbocker

The Hope Summer Repertory Theatre will open the second show of its 38th season, Suds - The Rocking 60's Soap Opera Musical, created by Melinda Gilb, Steve Gunderson, and Bryan Scott, on June 26th at 8:00 p.m. at Holland's downtown Knickerbocker Theatre.

This marks the third year that HSRT has extended its venues into the Knickerbocker Theatre, whose name means "best in life."  The theatre, which recently had its ceiling refurbished, was built in 1911, and ever since has been the home to various Hope College groups such as the Jack Ridl Visiting Writer's Series, the Great Performance Series, and dance concerts, as well as a venue for outside arts projects and musicians. 

Suds is a feel good musical about Cindy, the attendant at the Wash-O-Rama, who meets three guardian angels that want to teach her lessons about life and love.  Follow the advice of the angels through classic hits such as "I Will Follow Him," "It's My Party," "Please Mr. Postman," "Respect," "Wishin' and Hopin,'" and "Secret Agent Man."  Find out what Cindy will do as she faces a birthday party without a boyfriend in sight and what happens if Cindy actually does meet Mr. Right!

Gail Rastorfer, playing Marge, one of the guardian angels, and member of the Actor's Equity Association and Screen Actor's Guild, is based out of Chicago and returns to HSRT after fourteen years.  She first appeared on HSRT's stage as Gwendolyn in The Importance of Being Earnest and then as Lily in The Secret Garden.  Since then, Gail has had success on stage and on camera.  Recent theatre credits include Comedy of Errors with Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Lend Me A Tenor at Theatre At The Center, and Shear Madness at The Chicago Theatre.  Gail also acts with The Shakespeare Project of Chicago performing staged readings of classical works free to the public at the Newberry Library.

Kelly Sina, playing Deedee, the youngest guardian angel, is a 2008 HopeCollege graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in musical theatre.  This marks her third season with HSRT and can be also seen as Meg in Little Women.  Previous HSRT credits include in Godspell, The Til Midnight Cabaret, She Loves Me, Oliver!, A Midsummer Night's Dream and several CPT performances.  She was also recently seen in The Producers at The Skylight Opera Theatre in Milwaukee, WI.

The Man is played by another returning HSRT company member, Michael Haller.  Michael is currently pursuing his BFA in musical theatre at Ithaca College and just returned from a semester abroad studying theatre in London.  Last summer he played Frankie in Forever Plaid, Gremio in Kiss Me, Kate, and the Frog in Petite Rouge, and this summer Michael will also appear as Laurie in Little Women.

Anne Sheehan is making her HSRT debut as Cindy, the Wash-O-Rama attendant, and can also been seen later this season as Daisy in DogPark: the Musical.  She is a recent graduate of BradleyUniversity where she appeared in Urinetown (Hope Cladwell), Pirates of Penzance (Ruth), Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Philia), 42nd Street (Phyllis) and Tommy (Mrs. Simpson/Ensemble).

Returning for his sixteenth season, Fred Tessler, Resident Music Director, rejoins the HSRT family to serve as Director, Music Director, and Pianist/Conductor for Suds.  Fred has worked on over 40 productions for HSRT including directing productions of Honk!, Dames At Sea , and 10 Cabaret shows (8 of which were original creations) and music directing Kiss Me Kate, Babes In Arms and Two Gents.  He is on the faculty of WagnerCollege where this past year he directed productions of tick, tick...BOOM! and Master Class and has been an Artist in Residence at The Stratford Festival of Canada, where he will return in the fall. 

Performances continue throughout the summer on June 27, July 1, 8, 27, 30, August 5, 8, 10, and 13. 

Tickets are on sale through the DeVos Fieldhouse ticket office.  The DeWitt Theatre Ticket Office opens May 27.  Prices range from $8-$26 for musicals, and $8-$18 for plays. Season tickets, ranging from $45-$85, are also available.

The ticket office is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Beginning June 14 the ticket office is open on Saturday's at noon. On performance dates, the DeWitt Ticket Office will be open through intermission.  The ticket office is located in DeWitt Cultural Center at 12th Street and Columbia Avenue. For tickets call the ticket office at 616-395-7890. For more information visit the HSRT website at www.hope.edu/hsrt. 

The DeWitt Theatre is located at 141 East 12th Street. The Knickerbocker Theatre is located in Holland's downtown on 8th St. and Baker Lofts is located at 171 East 24th Street.

And while at the ticket office, make sure to check out HSRT's other productions such as Room Service, The Complt Wrks of Wm Shkspr...Abrdgd opening July 10, Little Women (the musical) opening July 17, and Dogpark: the Musical opening July 23 at Baker Lofts (formerly known as Til Midnight).  The Children's Performance Troupe will also be presenting Click, Clack, Moo opening June 24 and Charlotte's Web opening July 15.