The Coterie summer show re-creates children’s classic

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By Bob Evans

The Coterie launches children’s popular book, now a musical, “Goosebumps: Phantom of the Auditorium–The Musical,” as its summer feature to appeal to the younger, out-of-school-for-the-summer crowd–which naturally includes parents and grandparents who look for ways to entertain the younger ones.

Somewhat related to the novel by Gaston Leroux, “The Phantom of the Opera” and similar in appearance to the Phantom’s lair, this show focuses on a middle school production of a ghost story, entitled “The Phantom.” In this case, the drama teacher longs to produce her great-grandmother’s original play that has never been performed before. Once, the show was slated and in rehearsal, but strange instances led to its cancellation before the curtain rose.

Now, wanting to see her ancestor’s work on stage, Mrs. Walker, Sarah LaBarr, conducts auditions, schedules rehearsals, and moves forward with the play. She casts young hopefuls, but as rehearsals begin, strange occurrences start to turn up. The student selected to play The Phantom, seems to be missing at rehearsals, yet The Phantom character performs. Unidentified notes show up in lockers, a mysterious message in red paint stains a doorway–and, the red droplets on the floor lead to a locker where the red paint is located. This also points to the student with the lead role, but also known as the school jokester. Hmmm. So strange. So intriguing. It’s strange, but spooky.

Throw in a night janitor that doesn’t really exist, an elevator shaft that leads far below the basement to a cryptical “apartment,” and a stage manager/understudy who wants the lead role, and you have elements for a good young-readers’ mystery.

“The Coterie Theatre brings one of the best-selling book series of all-time to life on stage in a new cartoonish, musical mystery, “Goosebumps: Phantom of the Auditorium – The Musical,” The Coterie said. “Based on the beloved series by R.L. Stine, which has sold over 350 million books worldwide, “Goosebumps: Phantom of the Auditorium – The Musical” adapts one of Stine’s more popular stories into a wacky fun-filled musical appropriate for all ages. Directed by Jeff Church, with musical direction by Anthony T. Edwards and choreography by Jerry Jay Cranford, “Goosebumps: Phantom of the Auditorium – The Musical” will be performed live on The Coterie’s stage through August 5.

For this show, director Jeff Church called up some local talent to present this musical. Sarah LaBarr took on the role of Ms. Walker, the drama teacher determined to produce her grandmother’s play. Callie Rodina and Jacob Valle played Brooke and Zeke, the two students cast as the leads in the play. Lily Nicholas played Tine, the stage manager, understudy, scenic designer, props manager, sound technician, lighting designer–who really wanted to be the lead. David LeVota plays Brian a new student who comes to the school and immediately becomes involved in the play, while having an instant crush on Brooke. Evan Lovelace, plays Emile, the mysterious night janitor who doesn’t really exist. For this run, Church selected two understudies to step in as needed. Mia McManamy and Cam Burns are the understudies.

The artistic and production company includes Jeff Church (director), Anthony T. Edwards (musical director), Jerry Jay Cranford (Choreographer), Danielle Renee (production stage manager), Scott Hobart (set designer/technical director), Jarrett Bertoncin (lighting designer), David Kiehl (sound designer), Georgianna Londré Buchanan (costume designer), Joyce Merrill (properties/set dressing), and Taylor Smith (production assistant).

“Goosebumps: Phantom of the Auditorium – The Musical” runs approximately 65 minutes with no intermission and is appropriate for families with all ages. The production is funded in part by the Missouri Arts Council, Art Works, The Theater League, and Neighborhood Tourism Development Fund.

Individual Tickets: Tickets are $12.00 for youth under 18, students, and seniors age 60 and older; and $17.00 for adults.
Group Pricing: The Coterie offers groups of 20 or more special rates. Groups pay only $5.50-$6.00 per person on weekdays and $6.50 per person on weekends (Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sundays).

All tickets and Spotlight Club Passes may be purchased by calling The Coterie’s box office at (816) 474-6552, dropping by the box office on level one of the Crown Center Shops, or by visiting The Coterie’s website. www.thecoterie.org

During the run of “Goosebumps: Phantom of the Auditorium – The Musical,” The Coterie invites audiences to take advantage of these special, free performance extras (with paid admission): Fridays, June 29, July 6, 13, 20, 27, and August 3, 7p.m: Friday Family Fun Night. A free post performance autograph session and photo op with cast members. Saturday, July 7, 2p.m: Interpreted performance in American Sign Language.

Tags:  “Goosebumps:  The Phantom of the Auditorium–The Musical”, The Coterie, Kanas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Theater, Kansas City Arts and Entertainment, Crown Center

 

Images courtesy of The Coterie Theatre and Rob Schrader/The Coterie Theatre

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