There are two exciting events coming to the 1891 Fredonia Opera House this summer, one featuring the oldest actor ever to win an Academy Award, and one featuring a former Seinfeld writer in a special tribute to Baby Boomers.
CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER IN THE TEMPEST
Academy Award Winner Christopher Plummer stars in a special U.S. theatrical release of Shakespeare's The Tempest on Friday, July 27, at 6:30 p.m. The captured-live in high-definition stage play was filmed during two days of live performances with eight cameras at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival during Plummer's 2010 engagement as Prospero. It was directed by Stratford Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Des McAnuff.
Christopher Plummer stars as Prospero in this captured-live stage production of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s The Tempest.
"Christopher Plummer is quite simply one of the greatest actors of our time, both on stage and on screen. The opportunity to see him as Prospero in The Tempest one of the greatest roles ever written and one he has longed to play is nothing short of historic," says McAnuff.
The Tempest pits the desire for revenge against the demands of love and asks if man is capable of creating a brave new world. The story focuses on Prospero, the banished Duke of Milan. Marooned on a distant island with his daughter, Miranda (Trish Lindstrom), Prospero has spent 12 years perfecting his magic arts. Now, with the help of the spirit Ariel (Julyana Soelistyo), he raises a storm at sea, bringing within his grasp the enemies who robbed him of his dukedom.
The presentation includes a 20-minute Q&A with Plummer and McAnuff in a lively and insightful discussion about the challenges of capturing live theater for cinema screens. Audience members ask some diverse questions covering the arc of Plummer's career, and if (following The Sound of Music) he will ever sing on screen again. The Q&A is a delightful addition to the theatrically dazzling presentation of The Tempest.
Tickets to The Tempest are $15 and may be purchased in person at the Opera House Box Office or by phone at 716-679-1891, Tuesday through Friday, 1-5 p.m. They also may be purchased online any time at www.fredopera.org.
This program is made possible by Dr. James M. and Marcia Merrins, who funded the purchase of the satellite transmission and projection equipment used in the screening. Support also comes from the United Arts Appeal of Chautauqua County.
THE WONDER BREAD YEARS FEATURE PAT HAZELL
Former Seinfeld writer Pat Hazell brings his one-man comedy show The Wonder Bread Years to the Opera House on Friday, Aug. 3, at 8 p.m.
A salute to the Baby Boomer Generation, The Wonder Bread Years is a fast-paced, hilarious production that gracefully walks the line between stand-up comedy and theater. The show not only restores a much-needed sense of wonder, but leaves audiences laughing and savoring the past like never before. The Los Angeles Times calls it "pure unpasteurized nostalgia."
Written and performed live at the Opera House by television comedy veteran Hazell, The Wonder Bread Years is a celebration of Baby Boomers that recalls the youth-filled joys of Clackers, Lawn Jarts and riding way in the back of the Country Squire station wagon. Hazell calls the side-splitting show a "common journey into the attic." It doesn't matter where you grew up, he says; we all have common experiences from our childhood. These experiences are explored in The Wonder Bread Years.
Hazell invites the audience to cast their memories back to a time when Kool-Aid was cool, when Toughskin jeans were all the rage and when Wonder Bread was the greatest thing since, well, all those other brands of sliced bread!
One of the original writers for NBC's Seinfeld and a Tonight Show veteran, Hazell's television writing credits also include Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, My Life In 3D, Showtime's Aspen Comedy Special, and Grounded For Life. Showtime declared him "one of the five funniest people in America." His 25 years of experience as a writer, performer and producer have made him the go-to guy for new American theater. A contributing commentator to National Public Radio, Hazell is recognized for his genuinely funny American humor and his salute to pop culture. PBS called him "America's foremost pop culture anthropologist."
Hazell's first playwriting endeavor was Bunk Bed Brothers, which he co-wrote with Matt Goldman. The play was critically acclaimed and later optioned by Columbia Pictures with screenwriting chores going to Hazell and Goldman. Bunk Bed Brothers then gained the attention from the television industry and was filmed as the sit-com American Pie for NBC Studios.
Reserved seating tickets for The Wonder Bread Years are $27 ($25 Opera House members), and can be purchased in person at the Box Office or by phone at 716-679-1891, Tuesday through Friday, 1-5 p.m. They also may be purchased online any time at www.fredopera.org. This performance is made possible, in part, with public funds from the United Arts Appeal of Chautauqua County.
Chautauqua County's only performing arts center presenting its own programming year-round, the 1891 Fredonia Opera House is a member-supported not-for-profit organization located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. A complete schedule of events is available at www.fredopera.org.