Ignition stages [title of show] at The Matchbox

Production described as a ‘love letter to musical theatre’

Ignition Theatre cast and crew are putting the finishing touches on [title of show], the final production of the season at The Matchbox.

The show runs May 19-21 and 24-27 with curtain at 7:30 p.m. There is also a matinee set for May 22 at 2 p.m.

Based on a true story, [title of show] is a musical about two guys named Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen who decide to write a completely original musical starring themselves and their attractive and talented lady friends Susan Blackwell and Heidi Blickenstaff.

As the idea to document the creation of the show itself (‘a musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical’) became clearer, Bell and Bowen expanded the script.

Their production [title of show], landed in the New York Musical Theatre Festival. It premiered there in the fall of 2004 and wound up being a hit.

Then is went to an off-Broadway production at the Vineyard Theatre in 2006 and won three Obie Awards. Next up, it hit Broadway’s Lyceum Theatre in 2008 with all kinds of rave reviews.

The play, directed by Matt Grue, features Spenser Pasman, Dustin Clark, Chantel Hutchison and Mallory Minerson in the title roles.

“They made a pact that they would write for three weeks, and whatever they had at the end of three weeks would be what they would submit,” explains Grue of the story’s plot. “This show chronicles that entire journey.”

Also, the show evolved and grew as it went from the New York Musical Theatre Festival to off-Broadway to a full-fledged Broadway production.

“It’s really about the genesis of creating art. But it’s also about what happens when you put four people who are incredibly and emotionally investment in the same thing together. At its core it’s about pursuing your dreams, the compromises that are made along the way and that it’s never too late.

“Sometimes you have to remove the self-doubt and insecurities and just trust your gut and go for it. Again, the important thing is the relationships. [title of show] would not have been created without all four of them.

Rounding out the creative team are Patrick Beagan (lighting design), Spenser Pasman and Jane Mueller (musical directors), Chantel Hutchison (choreography), Dustin Clark (sound design) and Stephanie Ridge (costume design and stage management).

On a sad note, it’s also the last production to be held at The Matchbox facility, which faces closure at the end of May due to a lack of funding.

But Grue said [title of show], with its spirit and energy, is a fitting means of wrapping the season. Ignition Theatre will also continue producing shows in Red Deer.

“The great thing about this show and the challenge is that it feels really spontaneous. The challenge from a directing standpoint has been how do you try and eliminate structure so it has that spontaneous feel, but maintain structure so that it still feels like a show.”

[title of show] carries a discretionary warning for coarse language.

Tickets are $22 for adults and $18 for students and seniors. They’re available at The Matchbox box office. Charge by calling 403-341-6500 or visit www.ignitiontheatre.ca.

mweber@reddeerexpress.com

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