Ocean State Theatre Company has been busy converting the former industrial building at 1245 Jefferson Boulevard into a 409-seat theater in time for their Dec. 5 opening. Already, the risers and plush seats have been installed, a process that took the construction crew about three days.
The casts of the inaugural shows at the theater are set to arrive this week, and soon rehearsals will be underway.
Amiee Turner, the producing artistic director at the theater, said progress at the theater has been moving along, despite setbacks due to the weather.
"We lost quite a bit of time due to Sandy but are working really hard to make it up,” she said. “It is a very exciting time right now with the seats having been installed, paint going on the walls, and the grid for the theatrical lights about to be hung. It has always been a tight schedule, but thanks to our amazing crew pitching in and our landlord Mutual Properties and their fantastic group of workers, we are poised to welcome our first audience in three weeks."
Earlier this week the theater announced the players who would star in the “SantaLand Diaries” and “The Winter Wonderettes.”
Both shows will include cast members from past Theatre by the Sea Shows, the historic seaside venue at which Ocean State Theatre Company served as the producing entity for five years.
“SantaLand Diaries” is the hilarious, yet sardonic account of a Christmas elf working in SantaLand at Macy’s department store. Having first surfaced as an essay by David Sedaris on NPR's Morning Edition, “SantaLand Diaries” has grown to become a seasonal staple of regional theatres across the country. Some adult content and humor make this the perfect “naughty” companion for the holiday opening.
Theatre By The Sea favorite Lennie Watts, who recently played the Man in Chair in Theatre by the Sea’s production of “The Drowsy Chaperone” in 2011, stars as Crumpet the Elf. Turner will direct the production.
“The Winter Wonderettes” will help you ring in the New Year with the girls at Harper’s Hardware preparing for their 1968 holiday party. The Marvelous Wonderettes bring their signature harmony to songs from “O Tannenbaum” and “Winter Wonderland” to “Mele Kalikimaka” and “Jingle Bell Rock.”
Also directed by Turner, with musical direction by Boston Conservatory grad and Broadway performer Dan Micciche, and choreography by Christopher Kirby, “The Winter Wonderettes” features the talents of Lulu Lloyd, who was praised by critics for her portrayal of Judy in OSTC’s production of “9 to 5: The Musical”; Melissa Robinette, who portrayed Finch’s love interest, Rosemary, this past summer in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”; New York actress Kim Morgan Dean, who is currently taking on the title role in “Always…Patsy Cline” at the Greenbrier Valley Theatre in West Virginia; and Erin McCracken, who won rave reviews for her portrayal of Tracy Turnblad in “Hairspray” in 2011. “The Winter Wonderettes” will be presented from Dec. 5 through Dec. 30.
Tickets for “SantaLand Diaries” are $25 for previews and $25 to $47 for regular performances. Tickets for “The Winter Wonderettes” are $39 for previews and $39 to $54 for regular performances. Discount rates for groups of 20 or more are available by calling 245-1426. Tickets are available at the theater’s box office Tuesday through Friday from 12 noon to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 12 noon to 4 p.m., via telephone by calling 921-6800 during regular box office hours and online 24 hours a day at OceanStateTheatre.org.
Subscriptions and single tickets for the Inaugural Season, which includes “Fools” by Neil Simon, “Rent” by Jonathan Larson, “Race” by David Mamet and “The King and I” by Rodgers and Hammerstein, are also available.