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MSP 2014 Box Office Now Open!

May 09, 2014

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The box office is now open for the McLeod Summer Playhouse 2014 Season. Depending on how you count it, this is the 59th, 42th, or 19th anniversary of the Playhouse and the 10th birthday since re-opening in 2005. Either way it’s a lot of years, a lot of shows, and a great reason to celebrate.

The 2014 season includes a subscription series of three fantabulous productions and a special theater for young audience production. The subscription series includes “Oklahoma!,” “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” and the CCA All Southern High School Theatre Project production of “Anything Goes.”  The special theater for young audience production is the children’s classic “Charlotte’s Web,” adapted to the stage by SIU alumnus Joseph Robinette.

MSP, as it is called in “short-speak,” is southern Illinois’ professional summer theater, and has been a part of the cultural community since the 1950s. The Department of Theater began producing summer shows in 1955 during the University’s trimester days. Wallace Taylor, of the School of Music, followed suit in 1956 by originating the Summer Musical Theater. The entities operated separately, but jointly produced one production from 1958-1966. A disagreement stalled that relationship until 1972 when music and theater rejoined forces to create the Summer Playhouse. The name was changed to McLeod Theater Summer Playhouse in 1991 shortly after the retirement of the Department of Theater founding chair, Archibald McLeod. It has since been condensed to McLeod Summer Playhouse.

The Playhouse, a summer staple for the southern Illinois region, was closed after the summer of 2000 due to funding constraints and to allow for much needed renovation of the McLeod Theater. An outcry from the community led to its re-opening in 2005 with support from the University, members of the community who formed the Friends of McLeod Summer Playhouse, and a partnership between the SIU Department of Theater, the SIU School of Music, and Carbondale Community Arts’ All Southern High School Theatre Project. 

“The Playhouse is a wonderful asset to the region,” says Trish Welch, president of the Board of the Friends of McLeod Summer Playhouse. “It creates opportunity that otherwise would not exist for young artists, the faculty and staff, and the community. That’s a win-win-win.”

“I’ve been coming for almost 35 years,” said Laura Lipe, whose family runs the well-known Lipe Orchards. “We look forward to it every summer. The shows are great.”

“What’s exciting are the families,” said Vincent Rhomberg, director of marketing for the Playhouse. “It’s wonderful to see young people, all dressed up for the occasion, coming to the shows and enjoying themselves. It’s an affordable gift parents and grandparents are giving to new generations.”

The Playhouse subscription series opens June 20 with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s great American musical “Oklahoma!,” playing June 20-22 and June 27-29, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.  “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” the hysterical stage adaptation of the 1975 movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” plays July 11-13 and July 18-20 with the same performance schedule.  The series concludes with CCA’s All Southern High School Theatre Project production of “Anything Goes,” Cole Porter’s tuneful, toe-tapping, high seas, madcap adventure which is presented Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. July 30–August 3.

The three-show season subscription is $55 for adults and $20 for students (ages 17 and under), and is a savings over individual ticket prices.  Individual tickets to “Oklahoma!” and “Spamalot,” are $25 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets to “Anything Goes,” are $16 for adults and $8 for students.

In addition to the summer subscription series, the Playhouse will present something new this year, a professional theater for young audience production of “Charlotte’s Web,” the story of the friendship of an irresistible pig and an extraordinary spider. This 50-minute, one-act version of the production is geared toward young audiences, ages 3–10, and is presented in the C.H. Moe Theater on selected Wednesdays and Saturdays, June 7–July 12.  Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students/children, and seating is general admission.  The play runs Saturday at 2 p.m. on June 7, 21, and July 12, and Wednesday at 10 a.m. on June 11, 25, July 2, and 16.

Tickets can be obtained in person Monday-Friday, Noon-5 p.m. at the McLeod Theater or Arena Box Office, online at playhouse.siu.edu, by phone at 618-453/6000, or at the McLeod Theater box office one hour before each performance.  Performances tend to sell out, so purchasing your season subscription early is suggested.