COLDWATER – From nuns to mermaids, greasers to opera singers, the 60th consecutive season of Tibbits Summer Theatre will be sure to please audiences with a mainstage season featuring three energetic musicals and a play, along with the popular Popcorn Theatre.
Tibbits 2023 Summer Theatre Season begins with three musicals: The hilarious singing nuns are back with “Nunsense II,” then a musical adventure under the sea with Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” and finally, the 50s rock ‘n’ roll hit musical “Grease.” The main shows close with Ken Ludwig’s “Lend Me a Tenor,” a hilarious farce of backstage mischief and mistaken identities! The summer theatre lineup offers eight performances of each show, featuring a variety of matinee and evening performances Wednesdays through Saturdays. Tibbits Popcorn Theatre returns with four kid-friendly shows most Friday and Saturday mornings beginning June 9.
“Nunsense II” opens the mainstage season and runs June 15-24. Featuring book, music and lyrics by Dan Goggin, the Little Sisters of Hoboken return…funnier, zanier and more lovable than ever! Having been “bitten by the theater bug,” the nuns present a “Thank You Program” dancing and singing for all who supported them in last year’s benefit. Amidst their high-spirited performance they deal with rumors of talent scouts in the audience and Franciscans who want to claim Sister Mary Amnesia as one of their own. With zany antics and catchy songs like “Winning Is Just the Beginning,” “The Padre Polka” and “What Would Elvis Do?” audiences will be rolling in the aisles!
Next, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, and book by Doug Wright, the beloved Disney version of “The Little Mermaid” swims across stage with messages of kindness, tolerance and love at performances on June 29 – July 8. In a magical kingdom beneath the sea, the beautiful young mermaid, Ariel, longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. Based on a beloved Hans Christian Andersen story, Ariel, King Triton’s youngest daughter, pursues the human Prince Eric. Bargaining with the evil sea witch, Ursula, she trades her tail for legs with unexpected consequences. It takes Flounder the fish, Scuttle the seagull and Sebastian the crab to help Arial restore order under the sea. This fishy fable will capture audience’s hearts with irresistible songs like “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl” and “Part of Your World.” No Popcorn Theatre performances will take place during the run of “The Little Mermaid.” There will instead be several 11am performances of this mainstage production.
The final musical of the season, “Grease,” will continue the fun on stage July 13-22. This show, rated PG-13, features a rollicking, rock ‘n’ roll score with book, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. With many recognizable hits like “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightnin'” and “We Go Together,” “Grease” celebrates Rydell High’s class of 1959 in all its duck-tailed, bobby-soxed, gum-snapping glory. Full of sheer energy, charm and fun, this musical follows the romance between “greaser” Danny and the sweet new girl in town, Sandy. Audiences will definitely want to “shooby do wap” along with this iconic soundtrack of a generation.
The main season closes with farce and Ken Ludwig’s “Lend Me a Tenor,” which has performances July 27-August 5. This madcap, screwball comedy is guaranteed to leave audiences teary-eyed with laughter. Set in 1934, Henry Saunders, the General Manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company, is ready to welcome world-famous singer Tito Merelli for his starring role. Alas, Tito arrives late, his tempestuous wife Maria has a fit of jealousy, and it remains to be seen whether Saunders’ mousy but determined assistant Max can save the day.
Season tickets for the mainstage shows range from $126-$135 (including fees) and will be on sale mid-December. Evening summer performances begin at 7:30pm with matinees at 2pm with some special 11am performances for “The Little Mermaid.” Gift certificates are currently available at Tibbits.org for season tickets, individual shows, or in any denomination by calling 517.278.6029, visiting the administrative offices at 93 W. Chicago St., or going online to Tibbits.org. The historic Tibbits Opera House is located at 14 S. Hanchett St. in Coldwater, MI.