HSO, HCT join forces for ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’

Local talent will pay tribute to some of the world’s most popular show tunes when the Hastings Community Theatre and Hastings Symphony Orchestra present “Puttin’ on the Ritz” Saturday.

The program begins 8 p.m. at the Hastings City Auditorium, 400 N. Hastings Ave.
Balcony seating still is available for the dinner-theatre production, but the dinner option has passed. Entertainment will include selections from “Fiddler on the Roof,” performed by longtime HCT member Fred Teller; “Oklahoma,” by Linda Johnson; and “Man of La Mancha,” featuring Hastings College music department chair Robin Koozer singing “The Impossible Dream.”

The supporting cast includes Robin Stroot, James Carson, Melanie Knight, Corey VomWeg, April Christensen, Ross Thomason and Matt Seivert.

Musical numbers will be directed by HSO conductor Byron Jensen, with staging and artistic direction handled by HCT board members Blake R. Thompson and Patrick Crawford.

“It’s going to be a very elegant evening,” said Crawford, who also serves on the HSO board. “It seems any time we do a show at the community theatre or any type of production, it brings out all of the talent that Hastings has to offer. I think people will be surprised at the talent we’ve got.

“It’s called ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz,’ and that’s what we’re going to do. It’s just going to be a wonderful evening.”

What Thompson likes about the production is that it offers something unique and different for the community to enjoy. A musical production backed by an orchestra is a rare treat to be savored, he said.

“It’s timeless music,” he said. “It’s all Broadway new and old, stuff you can’t help but enjoy.”

Additionally, the performance serves to showcase two of the city’s artistic treasures.
“I hope it really helps people become aware of what the community theatre and symphony orchestra do for the community and gets them excited about the seasons we present every year,” Thompson said.

Dialogue written by Crawford and Thompson will help tie together the works by various composers represented in the production. Tunes were chosen from the orchestra’s extensive library of music to keep expenses down for the fundraising performance.

“This isn’t a pre-packaged Broadway show,” Crawford said. “The challenge was to put the music together in some sensible order.”

Having participated in very successful collaborative event between HSO and HCT some 4-6 years earlier, Crawford said he anticipates this show will be every bit as entertaining and professional as its predecessor. A good-sized crowd would certainly make it that much more satisfying for those putting it on, he said.

“It was very, very successful before,” he said. “We’re hoping the same with this one.”
For reserved balcony seating, call 402-469-9396. Balcony seating will also be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the door the night of the event.

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