Tri-State Theater

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Musical "Baby" Takes the Stage This Weekend

In today's Herald-Dispatch, my pal Dave Lavender gives us a look at the musical Baby which takes the stage this weekend:
ARTS is expecting, and it has got just the team of musical doctors to deliver the Baby.

Back for their 17th show together, director Eddie Harbert and choreographer Coni Anthony are part of the Arts Resources for the Tri-State team delivering the musical laughs as they open the musical, Baby, Friday, Aug. 21, at the Huntington High Renaissance Center, 900 8th St., Huntington.

Dinner is at 6:30 p.m., and show time is at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Aug. 20-21, as well as Friday and Saturday, Aug. 27-28. The show only is 3 p.m. Aug. 22 and 29.

Tickets are $25 for the show and dinner or $15 for the show only. Seating is limited and the dinner shows tend to sell out, so call as early as you can at 304-733-ARTS.

Harbert, the veteran musical director who's been pinballing back and forth between intimate ARTS dinner theater productions and larger productions for Fifth Avenue Theatre Company, said it's been a joy revisiting Baby with Anthony since it was the first show they did together in 1994.

Since then, they've notched up 17 shows together, and this is the fifth show with Harbert, Anthony and Mike Campbell, the music director, all working together.

"It's kind of a nice coming home again," Harbert said. "I love working with her because of her professionalism and she is like me. We appreciate our volunteers and the people who come and work with us. A lot of directors are a little bit harsh, but we believe in a gentle way, and we appreciate that people want to work with us. We feel lucky to have the talent pool that we have, and we feel we are lucky to work with them."

Baby, which follows three couples all expecting a child, stars Angela Wolfe Hunt and Mark Radford as Liz and Danny, university juniors who have just moved in together.

Jane Modlin and George Snider III play the athletic Pam and her husband, Nick, a sports instructor, who have had some trouble conceiving.

Mary Olson and Ron Short (Arlene and Alan) play the couple that gets the "surprise."

Arlene, already the mother of three grown daughters, contemplates abortion while her husband Alan is thrilled with the thought of a new baby that is a total surprise and shock.

Harbert said they also added a four-person chorus to punch up the show musically. That chorus features Jaclyn Boylan, Susan Rawn, Justin Adkins and Michael Warden. And veteran props manager Helga Thorn also makes a special appearance.

Written by Sybille Pearson, based on a story developed with Susan Yankowitz, music by David Shire, and lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr., Baby was originally on Broadway from 1983 to 1984.

Harbert said Campbell has updated the '80s pop music and without changing the script has put a bit of a surprise into the end of the show.

"We really like the storylines because it is something that audiences can identify with," Harbert said. "The show was originally created in the '80s but it is kind of timeless. People are always going to have babies, and the show is very touching. Most of the songs in the show really tell a story. Some of this show makes you laugh and makes you cry and it is very touching. You will leave feeling really good."

If you go

WHAT: ARTS Production of the musical, Baby

WHERE: ARTS Renaissance Ballroom, 900 8th St., Huntington

WHEN: Dinner is at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 20-21. Show time is at 8 p.m. The show only is 3 p.m. Aug. 22 and 29.

HOW MUCH: Dinner and the show is $25, and show only is $15.

GET TIX: Call ARTS at 304-733-ARTS.

ON THE WEB: Go online at www.733arts.org for more info.

ABOUT THE SHOW: First on Broadway in the early 1980s, Baby is a comedic modern-day musical that tells the story of three couples on a university campus as they deal with the painful, rewarding and agonizingly funny consequences of this experience.

OTHER ARTS SHOWS: Will Rogers Follies opens Oct. 15, and Drowsy Chaperone opens April 1, 2011.

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