Springfield Civic Theatre to introduce new season with Sampler event

Credit: Suzanne Grote

Credit: Suzanne Grote

The group that has entertained local audiences for more than 90 years will offer a special glimpse into its new season when Springfield Civic Theatre invites everyone to listen to songs and watch vignettes from its six upcoming shows in one program at its Sampler event at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Bushnell Building in the Cellar, 14 E. Main St. Admission is free.

The 2023-24 season will be the group’s largest since before the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is the first time they’ve had a Sampler event since then. Besides producing more shows, another goal was to create a diverse season in several ways, said Suzanne Grote, president of Springfield Civic Theatre.

“We certainly are excited. There’s quite a variety of live entertainment – comedy, musicals, dance and with a variety of directors,” she said. “Each director will present five or so minutes from each show at our Sampler.”

The presentations will include:

-“Acts,” an original musical based on the New Testament book of Acts by Rich Carey and directed by Dan Carey, and will include a song at the Sampler. It will be presented live Nov. 16-18.

-”The Littlest Angel,” based on the book, will be performed by a dancer from the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, which will present the show Dec. 14-16 for the holidays.

-”The Big Foot Letters” is directed by Ed Knapp and will have a short Sampler scene. The show is a comedy about a woman who hits the legendary Bigfoot with her truck and decides to raise its orphaned baby. The show will be Feb. 22-24.

-”The Odd Couple” will be done in a female version of the classic Neil Simon play about two mismatched roommates, a slob and a neatnik. Rob Hull will direct the show, March 14-16, with a scene at the Sampler.

-”Ain’t Misbehavin’” is a musical revue paying tribute to the legendary Fats Waller and directed by Debbie Blunden-Diggs, who first directed for Springfield Civic for its production of “Crowns” last season, April 11-13. The Sampler segment will have a song.

-”Annie, Jr.” will finish the season with a children’s show directed by Monica Logan, May 16-18. Expect a song during Thursday’s event.

Each of Springfield Civic’s shows will be at the John Legend Theater.

The Sampler will offer hors d’ oeuvres and a social time at 5:30 p.m. with the performances starting at 6. Grote said people can come and go as they like, and can make it something of an opening act for those planning on attending the Sawyer Brown show at the Clark State Performing Arts Center later in the evening.

Access to the Bushnell Building will only be accessible from the back parking lot; the Main Street doors and elevators will be locked. You can reach the parking lot by turning into the alley between Fountain and Limestone off of Columbia Street. More parking is available in the city garage. From the garage, walk across Fountain and through the courtyard between Firefly Boutique and Bushnell Event Center.

Grote said the group is trying to get new directors and veterans involved in its season, as well as emerging artists, such as Rich Carey, along with diversity, inclusivity, a variety of performers and age groups. Springfield Civic will also announce additional activities aimed at enriching the community at a later date.

“We’re already trying to focus on that in our next season also,” Grote said. “Debbie Blunden-Diggs also said she wanted to come back to work with us, which really says something. It says community theater is working and we’re making it happen.”

For more information on Springfield Civic Theatre and its shows, go to www.springfieldcivictheatre.org/.

About the Author