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Sussex Countian
  • Curtain closing on Clear Space Theatre's summer schedule

  • Clear Space Theatre Company will wrap up its summer schedule with "Broadway at the Beach," a complilation of modern musical numbers from some of Broadway's biggest shows.


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  • The show must go on. That seems to be the prevailing theme for the Clear Space Theatre Company as it wraps up a hectic summer season and immediately jumps into a packed fall schedule of theater classes.
    The summer will officially conclude for CSTC when the curtain closes on the final performance of "Broadway at the Beach" Saturday, Sept. 3 at the Clear Space Theatre in Rehoboth Beach. A musical revue, the show combines contemporary pop-rock musical numbers with popular Broadway crossover hits.
    Musical director and pianist Doug Yetter said the show imagines what it would be like if Broadway dominated the radio today like it did in the first half of the 20th century.
    "With movies being made into musicals and pop songs being used to score shows, the soundscape of Broadway has really changed in the last decade and we wanted to reflect that shift with this show," Yetter said.
    Think Billy Joel, Journey, U2 or Green Day: Music from these artists have been used in the recent surge of "jukebox musicals," where pop songs are compiled to tell a new story or the story of the artist.
    For "Broadway at the Beach," the new crop of pop and rock influence gets combined with songs from classics like "Hair" and "Godspell" and the contemporary classics like "Rent" and "Spring Awakening."
    Production Director David Button said they were even able to squeeze in a song from this year's Tony award-winning show "Once."
    "The song 'Falling Slowly,' which won the Oscar for Original Song in 2007, is a beautiful piece of music that truly epitomizes the crossover appeal we are going for with this production," Button said.
    Getting to the conclusion of the summer repertory season has not been an easy road, though. Since Thursday, June 28, the theater company has had a grueling schedule that included a  six-day work week, totaling of 56 performances seen by nearly 10,000 audience members.
    In addition to the hectic calendar, the season and the closing show began with a few glitches. While opening their show on Friday, June 22 at The Freeman Stage in Selbyville, a powerful storm rolled through the area, crippling the lighting and air conditioning systems for the theater forcing the casts and crew of all three summer shows- "Annie," "Broadway at the Beach" and "Cabaret" to rehearse the remaining days before the official season opening without lights, without the stuffy costumes and with makeshift circulation using a couple of large fans.
    Cast member Michael Matthias said that the perseverance of the cast and crew is typical of theater communities.
    "In the true fashion of the theatre community, every single person involved in putting these shows on came together as a team and persevered," Matthias said. "The opening night for each show was also the first time the cast and crew had run the show with all the technical elements—costumes, lights, sound—intact. If that isn't the epitome of the cliché 'the show must go on,' I don't know what is." 
    Page 2 of 2 - However, as the actors take their final bows on Sunday, Sept. 2, it will be time to introduce a new crop of young actors to the dedication it takes for a life in the theater with new classes beginning the week of Sunday, Sept. 9.
    New this year is a division of their hallmark program, Broadway Bound, into two levels. For students in grades one through five, the program will introduce aspiring actors to the rigors of acting, dancing and singing in solo and group performances. Older students will be presented with a more rigorous study of the same subjects.
    Another new offering will be Contemporary Acting for Teens, offering high school students the opportunity to study acting in-depth, gaining the skills necessary to prepare for a collegiate and professional future in the theater.
    Adult acting classes will also be offered again this year through two five-week sessions as well as Broadway Legends, a class for the 50-years-and-older crowd.
    For more information about classes, including full descriptions, schedules, tuition rates and registration forms, visit www.clearspacetheatre.org.

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