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Community theatre wish-list: in search of the obscure | Stage Door recap

Kyle and Ron talked with local theater practitioners Rhiannon and Amber about which shows should start making appearances in the area.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Rhiannon Barlos and Amber Wilkes joined Kyle and Ron for last week's episode of Stage Door, a WTOL 11 podcast made for theatre-lovers in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. 

During the episode, the four talked about what shows they'd like to see in the area, highlighting several lesser-known musicals that local companies seem to rarely--if at all--perform. 

To kick it off, Kyle and Ron suggested the stage version of "Tuck Everlasting," a show based on a story which was first a 1975 children's novel, followed by a 2002 Disney film. The show isn't licensed by Disney, meaning it wouldn't put local companies out-of-pocket to purchase the right. It also features a large cast with a wide age-range, meaning plenty of people could audition and snag a role. 

But Rhiannon and Amber said it's just too obscure. Local theatres are businesses, and to put on shows in the future, a production company needs to make a profit--or at least break even. "Tuck Everlasting" is cute, they said, but it might not bring in the crowds like "Grease" or "Beauty and the Beast," both of which, Kyle and Ron lamented, are performed too frequently. 

Next on the list was "Zombie Prom" a bizarre but charming 1993 musical in which a freak accident involving a nuclear reactor transforms a high school student into a zombie just in time for prom. 

Like "Tuck," "Zombie Prom" is quite obscure. Kyle and Ron touted it as a tamer Halloween alternative to the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Its small cast makes it a lower-maintenance show at the cost of potentially fewer audience members. 

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Familiarity isn't the only feature some of the local theatre groups look out for when picking a show. Sometimes a production can find success by advertising a show as a local premier if it hasn't been done in the region before. Additionally, "high concept" shows can breathe new life into more familiar works (i.e. "Godspell" reimagined as a rock concert) to both draw audiences in and simultaneously disrupt their expectations. 

You can check out the three other shows Ron and Kyle proposed, as well as Rhiannon and Amber's reactions, by listening to the latest episode of Stage Door anywhere podcasts are available. You can also listen to it by clicking here

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