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Summer show funds Theatre 7's season
THEATER ARTS

Summer show funds Theatre 7's season

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Theatre 7's Tanya Haubner 

DECATUR — Theatre 7 directors and actors are getting ready for the upcoming season, starting with the summer dinner theater “Mugsy Sent Me.”

The Speakeasy Dinner Theater will be July 12 and 13 at The Decatur Club. The deadline to buy tickets was Tuesday, July 9.

The play will usher in Theatre 7’s season, which begins Oct. 11 at Decatur Civic Center. Tickets will be available in August.

“This is an interactive dinner theater,” Theatre 7 director Tanya Haubner said about “Mugsy.” “We want the audience to come dressed up as if they are going to a speakeasy.”

Haubner suggests the ladies were the traditional flapper dress or a long dark dress with feathers and long string of pearls as accessories. For the gentlemen, fedora hats will fit the style and a classic black suit. “Or a loud plaid jackets and pants,” she said.

Theatre 7 plays and musicals often incorporate the audience allowing them to feel like they are part of the play. During “Mugsy,” actors will walk among the diners. “And each table will have an actor sitting with them,” Haubner said. “They can talk about the murder and other parts of the play.”

Haubner said proceeds from the summer fundraiser will pay for the rights and royalties for the upcoming theater season.

“The more we raise the better off we are,” she said. “The shows are a little more expensive this year.”

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The first show of the season is the fall musical “Lucky Stiff.” As the story goes, to get his inheritance, a nephew has to take his already-dead uncle on an excursion, but he has to follow the rules. “If not, the money goes to a dog hotel,” Haubner said.

Theatre 7 veteran Jerry Johnson directs the second show, the international spy play “The 39 Steps.” The show has only four cast members, “but they play 20 characters in the show,” Haubner said. “There is constant costume changes.”

The Theatre 7 cast previously performed the play in 2012. The show was such a success that directors from Springfield’s Hoogland Center for the Arts invited the cast to perform the Alfred Hitchcock spoof on their stage three months later.

Theatre 7’s season’s closer is “Noises Off,” a show within a show. The cast is on stage as actors getting ready to put on a play. What goes on behind the scenes is part of the show. Although the comedy is interesting as well as humorous, one of the more impressive feats is the rotating set featuring the backstage area during the first act, then the main stage in the second act.

“It shows the crazy people you encounter in the theater and backstage,” Haubner said.

“Mugsy” as the fundraiser is a teaser for the upcoming season, giving the audience a glimpse of the wide range of cast members. The family friendly show will feature new and veteran actors showing off the versatility and talent of the cast. The script for “Mugsy Sent Me” is only 13 pages, relatively short for Theatre 7 productions.

“So there is a lot of improv,” Haubner said. “The end result is the same, but how we get there, well, we have to be ready for anything.”

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Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR

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