Every year, Cottage Theatre plays a game with the community in an effort to keep a secret. Last year, it was a guessing game of hats. A prior year saw a game of scrabble. It happens in August, just a few months prior to when decisions about casting and costumes have to be made. Just before volunteer organizers get down to organizing and weeks before show scheduling takes place. All of these activities involve volunteers, cast, crew and people in general. People, who may or may not be able to keep a secret and so, the theatre invites sponsors and donors to the theatre after hours for a cocktail hour and a game so they can be the first in the community to find out what shows are on tap for the following season.
"We work on a calender year, not a school year," said Susan Goes, executive director of the Cottage Theatre who said season ticket renewals begin on October 1 and it's helpful if theater-goers know what shows they're buying tickets for, hence the early announcement last Wednesday.
The 2018 season will kick-off on February 2 with "Noises Off." "It's a farce within a farce," Goes said. The plot has a troupe of actors backstage handling one crisis of stage after another. It's set to run until February 18.
From April 6 through April 29, contemporary theatre lovers will be happy to know, Elle is coming to town. Cottage Theatre will put on "Legally Blonde: the Musical."
For the more traditional theatre lovers, the season's third show, Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" delivers. "It's a still relevant drama I wish wasn't still relevant," Goes said. A traditional assignment in high school, "The Crucible" focuses on the Salem witch trials and the accusations and betrayals that came along with it. It will run June 8 through June 24.
August will see the world premiere of "Treehouse," the winner of the American Association of Community Theatre's contest. It was chosen from 300 entries that were eventually whittled down to six winning plays. The play, written by Joe Musso of Alabama, focuses on 17-year-old Johnny between his junior and senior year of high school when he suddenly exclaims he has the mind of a 53 year old, turns around his grades and develops a love of the Bard. "It's one of those plays where the plot unfolding is part of the fun," Goes said.
Following "Treehouse," musical lovers will get another shot to see a production in Cottage Grove when the theatre puts on "Shrek: the musical." A family friendly show, Goes describes the Pixar adaptation as full of bright colors and fun. It begins October 5 through the 28.
Lastly, Cottage Theatre will put on "The Fantasticks" a 1960 musical classic beginning November 30 and running through December 16.
The formula for this year follows that of years passed: three musicals, three straight plays.
For more information, or to purchase tickets for the season, please contact the Cottage Theatre at (541) 942-8801 or visit them at cottagetheatre.org.