Mason Street Warehouse, Saugatuck
June 27-29, July 1-2, 4-6, 8-13; show times at 2, 7 & 8 p.m.
sc4a.org, (269) 857-2399
Summer is on its way, which means it’s only a matter of time before your steering wheel is scorching your fingers and your patio is barbequing your toes. The interior of your SUV won’t be the only thing too hot to handle this summer, however, with the sizzling premiere of Mason Street Warehouse’s Steam Heat. A tribute to legendary Broadway director and choreographer Bob Fosse, the production features hits from favorites like Chicago, Cabaret, Sweet Charity and more.
An ambitious project for a small theatre, Steam Heat blazes under the expert watch of its creator, director and choreographer Kurt Stamm. After serving as the artistic director of the Tony Award-winning Fosse, Stamm was eager to bring something similar to the regional theatre scene.
“The Broadway version [of Fosse] showcased [Fosse’s] work as a choreographer," Stamm said. "But you know, as I was going back and looking at the shows that he actually did work on, the musicals themselves were really quite spectacular. Not just his contributions to them, but a lot of musicals were really groundbreaking at the time. … So I thought, gosh, wouldn’t it be great to share a body of work from a musical standpoint as well and really showcase the shows and some of the songs from the shows..."
While Steam Heat may not be able to feature Fosse’s work on as grand a scale as Fosse did, it does nevertheless showcase the Broadway legend’s distinct choreographic style.
Ironically, Fosse created his ultra-sexy moves by drawing from his self-perceived physical shortcomings. The choreographer’s hair loss, short stature and lack of classic ballet training inspired a signature style typified by the presence of hats, hunched shoulders and jerky motions. Stamm believes this unusual and distinct movement will be a show highlight for audiences.
“From a style standpoint, Fosse’s style is incredibly unique and identifiable," Stamm said. "It’s also extremely difficult to execute. He sort of went against most of the laws of choreographic nature when it came to creating things—really destroying the body, making things extremely angular. … He invented a style that became so uniquely recognizable, and that’s what I think is gonna be cool and special."
Combine Fosse’s edgy dance moves with his musicals’ provocative themes, and the result is a scintillating, provocative experience for theatregoers.
“[Steam Heat] is going to feel so contemporary and so incredibly sexy," Stamm said. "I think the situations that [Fosse] dealt with and the themes that he dealt with are very, very timeless. They apply to what’s going on in the world today, they apply to what’s happening in our relationships and our lives, to situations that we are dealing with, and also so much of it is just amazing entertainment, too."
Other Performing Arts Events
What the Time Traveler Will Tell Us
Holland Civic Theatre
June 12-14, 7 p.m.
hollandcivictheatre.org, (616) 396-2021
For avant-garde lovers, What the Time Traveler Will Tell Us offers a refreshing break from traditional theatre. Structured as both an explanation and a working demonstration of time travel, the play focuses on a man who travels between universes on a doomed mission to defeat death. Other characters include a woman who suddenly realizes an event did not occur and an old man about whom the audience themselves might be mistaken.
Don’t Dress for Dinner
Circle Theatre, Grand Rapids
June 5-7, 11-15, 18-21; show times at 5 & 7:30 p.m.
circletheatre.org, (616), 456-6656
From the playwright who brought us Boeing-Boeing comes Don’t Dress for Dinner, a farcical adventure jam-packed with delightful mischief and misunderstandings. When Bernard plans a romantic weekend with his mistress, he believes the presence of guy pal Robert will be the perfect alibi to keep his wife in the dark. Little does Bernard know that Robert and wifey are actually having an affair of their own and have every intention of staying in town. Lies tangle together and chaos abounds as the couples attempt to cover their tracks and keep their secrets safe.
The Book of Mormon
Wharton Center, East Lansing
June 10-15, show times at 1, 2, 6:30, 7:30 & 8 p.m.
whartoncenter.com, (517) 353-1982
Written and composed by the minds behind "South Park" and Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon boasts nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The satirical show features two naïve Mormons who travel to a remote Ugandan village to spread their faith. Unable to relate to a people devastated by war, famine, poverty and AIDS, the missionaries soon discover that sharing The Book of Mormon will be more difficult than they had anticipated.