AURORA| After a season of successes, challenges and its longtime executive producer departing unexpectedly, the Aurora Fox Arts Center is set to enter its 33rd season this fall with a lineup of shows that reflect the artistic goals of the theater’s entire staff.
The lineup for Fox Theater’s upcoming season was announced Monday night, and the five-show lineup is a mix of classic and contemporary musical theater and plays that the theater hopes connects with the diverse community that makes up Aurora.
The five shows for the 2017-2018 season are:
“Company,” the Stephen Sondheim musical comedy that centers around Robert, a 35-year-old bachelor who is confronted by his perpetual singleness through a series of events and the experience of his married and divorced friends. (Sept. 22-Oct. 22)
“Hi-Hat Hattie,” a one-woman musical that retells the life of iconic actress and Denver native Hattie McDaniel. The show follows the life of McDaniel, who was the first African-American to win an Academy Award for her performance of Mammy in “Gone with the Wind,” as she sits backstage of a theater and includes classic songs like Can’t help lovin dat man” and “St. Louis Blues.” (Nov. 24-Dec. 23)
“Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” a punk rock musical that centers around one of the greatest musical characters created, Hedwig. The title character is a transgender woman from East Berlin that fronts a rock band and is tracking down her former lover, a musician that stole all of Hedwig’s songs and has ridden Hedwig’s talent to stardom. (Jan. 19-Feb. 10)
“Real Women Have Curves,” is a comedy drama that follows a young Latina woman named Ana as she works with a group of older women in a sewing factory in East Los Angeles. The story takes place over five days as the women bond over the struggles of living and their desires for a better life. The author Josefina López wrote from her personal experiences as an undocumented immigrant and working for her sister in a sewing shop in Los Angeles. (Feb. 23-March 18)
“Passing Strange,” a more recent musical that follows a young African-American man raised in a strict Baptist home as he travels through Amsterdam and Berlin on a journey to discover “the real.” The 2008 Tony Award winner uses an amazing score to relate the journey of discovery and the cost of rebelling against the life you know. (April 13-May 13)
All five plays were selected by Fox Theater’s staff in the past several weeks after former executive producer Charlie Packard resigned at the end of May, said Gary Margolis, Aurora’s cultural services manager and acting executive producer for the Fox Theater.
“The upcoming season was about 80-percent complete when (Packard) walked out the door,” Margolis said. “When he left, the staff decided they wanted to start from scratch. They were excited about making it their season. We’re so proud of the work they did to pull this together.”
Margolis said the theater got lucky in that all five plays that the staff wanted to put on were still available in the region. Many national productions will be limited to one theater in a region.
“Every one we wanted to do we got a yes on. There are no second strings here,” Margolis said. “I think I’m really excited about ‘Real Women Have Curves.’ We live in a community where there is a large Latino community. All the groups in the artistic district could be doing a better job serving the community as a whole.
“All of these shows have the potential to draw in new audiences from the surrounding community of the theater. That is our mission.”
The Fox theater is making a couple of changes to go along with the new season, said Beau Bisson, the Fox’s patron services manager. Thursday shows will be added for every production, which will include $18 tickets for college students and members of the theater industry in Denver.
And the theater will be adding a five-show cabaret series in its Studio Theater. Each show will run for two nights and feature local performers and Fox favorites, Bisson said.