I am a theatre lover. There is just something about going to a theatre that excites me. From visiting iconic theatres like Springer Opera House to watching the magic unfold on stage, theatres evoke emotions.
Paul Pierce and Larry Dooley run the two busiest theatre companies in Columbus - the Springer Opera House and CSU Department of Theatre. Together, they mount 35 productions and nearly 500 performances every year. This summer, the two theatre men will team up to launch a new venture aimed at attracting visitors to the city for stage entertainment, food, fun and adventure. The Georgia Repertory Theatre Summer Theatre Festival will present five theatrical events over a ten week period in May, June and July.
In partnership with the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau, the GRT Summer Theatre Festival will entice leisure travelers to sample the explosive downtown summer scene. Using the drawing power of theatre entertainment for all ages, GRT anticipates attracting a lively mix of foodies, white water paddlers, zip line enthusiasts, cyclists and music fans who will spend several days sampling the unique mix of urban vitality and river adventure that Columbus has to offer.
Local audiences began seeing the Georgia Repertory Theatre logo on programs, posters and advertising for CSU Theatre and Springer productions this season.
GRT is a partnership between the two theatres with the common goal of using theatre to propel economic development, audience building, educational opportunities for underserved communities and workforce development in Columbus.
“We merged our missions,” explains Springer producing artistic director Paul Pierce. “Larry and I are committed to flexing our artistic muscle to stimulate commerce and create jobs in Columbus. With the GRT Summer Theatre Festival, Columbus now has a summertime tourism attraction that will bring multi-generational travelers to town to spend several days here for stage shows, food, music, zip-lining and whitewater rafting.”
“I’m excited to create this partnership with Paul and the Springer,” said CSU Theatre chairman Larry Dooley. “Together, we are going to put on fifty-two performances on four stages downtown over a ten-week period. Hotels, restaurants, bike shops, outfitters, Market Days and riverfront attractions will all see an impact.”
The GRT Summer Theatre Festival will present five events:
WHAT THE BUTLER SAW An audacious comic romp by the master of farce, Joe Orton. This bawdy classic comedy features a psychiatrist, his insatiable wife, a blackmailing bellhop, an innocent secretary and a befuddled cop. Clothes off, clothes on, rapid exits, mistaken identities. Rated PG16 May 18-20, 25-27, June 1-3,8,15,22 at 7:30 pm - CSU Riverside Theatre - Studio - “Bring Your Own Dinner” Theatre
FRECKLEFACE STRAWBERRY: The Musical Seven year-old Strawberry has lots of friends but she hates her freckles! She goes to incredible lengths to cover those dreaded spots, including covering her head with an itchy ski mask. Will she ever believe her mother who tells her she is PERFECT? Rated G June 8-10,13-17,20-24 at 10:00 am and June 11,18 and 25 at 2:00 pm. CSU Riverside Theatre - Mainstage
HAIRSPRAY Broadway’s Tony Award-winning mega-hit musical comedy. It’s 1962 and Tracy Turnblad has only one desire - to dance on the “Corny Collins Show.” When her dream comes true, Tracy is transformed from social outcast to sudden star. Rated PG June 9-10,16-17,23-24 at 7:30 pm - CSU Riverside Theatre - Mainstage
THE STINKY CHEESE MAN A hilarious children’s musical theatre showcase of fractured fairy tales. Chicken Little, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Princess and the Pea, Goldilocks and The Gingerbread Man all get a complete comic makeover. Rated G July 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, and 22 at 7 PM and July 9, 16, and 23 at 2 PM. McClure Theatre at Springer Opera House.
NO SHAME THEATER An unedited, uncensored late-night showcase of original works. Comedy, poetry, music, scenes, dance, rants, improv - no-holds-barred. 18-and-up. Beer and wine. Five-minute slots. Every Friday Night, May 19 - July 21, Sign-up at 10:00 pm, Show starts at 10:30 pm. Springer Opera House 1st Avenue entrance. Look for the Lady.
For tickets and information, go to georgiarep.org or call 706-327-3688.