Niagara Gazette

September 5, 2013

'Damn Yankees' among NRTG's 2013-14 season lineup

Staff reports
Night & Day

Night & Day — “Damn Yankees,” a musical about a rabid baseball fan who sells his soul to the devil so his favorite team can win the pennant, is among the five plays being produced for the 91st season of community theater by the Niagara Regional Theatre Guild.

The guild, formerly known as the Niagara Falls Little Theater, is also producing  “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Little Women (The Musical),” “The Lion in Winter,” and “You Can’t Take it With You.” 

The season opens with “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” a slapstick comedy about a Roman slave whose master agrees to free him if he can arrange for the master to marry the girl next door. Unfortunately, the girl is already pledged to a pompous Roman general. The music is by Steven Sondheim and based on the book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart. It will be director by Dawn Marcolini Newton of Grand Island and run from Sept. 27 through Oct. 13.

The second show is “Little Women (The Musical),” one of the most requested shows by the theater guild’s patrons. The musical is based on the book of the same name, a beloved chronicle of stories by author Louisa May Alcott about sisters, Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy who deal with timeless issues of love and loss during the American Civil War.The play, which will open Nov. 8 and run through Nov. 24, will be directed by Dan Zerpa of Buffalo.

The third show of the season, “The Lion in Winter,” is the most requested show by patrons, an historical drama about Henry II, King of England, his wife Eleanor of Aquataine, his mistress Alias, who is betrothed to one of his son’s, and his three sons Richard the Lionheart, Geoffrey and John, all of whom have a burning ambition to take Henry II’s throne. The play, adapted from a 1968 Academy Award winning film, is known for some surprisingly humorous dialog and clever plotting, with intrigue will keep audience members guessing the outcome. The play, written by James Goldman, will be directed by Les Bailey of Cheektowaga, and run from Feb. 21 through March 9.

“Damn Yankees,” the season’s fourth production, is a classic musical written by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross and based on the book by George Abbott and Douglass Wallop. It will be directed by Fran Newton of Grand Island in April. The story, about an overzealous fan of the Washington Senators baseball team, sells his soul to the devil so his team can win. The conflict between the fan and the devil includes such favorite Broadway tunes such as “Whatever Lola wants, Lola Gets”. The show will open March 28th and run through April 13.

The last show of the season, “You Can’t Take it With You,” is written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. The 1937 Pulitzer Prize for Drama was given to this classic comedy, about a quirky family whose patriarch’s motto is “do what makes you happy,” until a respectable son of a Wall Street big shot falls for one of the female members of the family. The play, directed by Gary Gaffney of Amherst, will run May 2 through May 18.

Season Tickets as $70 for general admission and $65 for seniors and students. They are available now through the last performance of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” allowing patrons to save over 25 percent off the box office rate. 

Since the Theatre Guild moved to the new theater, record attendance has been recorded, including sell-out-performances, so patrons are encouraged to purchase their season tickets as early as possible.

All shows will be presented at NRTG’s Ellicott Creek Playhouse on the St. Edmund Campus, 530 Ellicott Creek Road, Tonawanda. Call 284-6358 or go to NRTG’s website: for directions, tickets, shows, and theater information.