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GTA to present five shows in its 40th season

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Gainesville Theatre Alliance will celebrate its 40th season this academic year with productions featuring Two coming-of-age musicals, the reinterpretation of two classic tales and the premiere of a new play.

Two coming-of-age musicals, the reinterpretation of two classic tales and the premiere of a new play are slated for the stage during the 40th season of the Gainesville Theatre Alliance (GTA).

GTA is a nationally acclaimed collaboration between the University of North Georgia (UNG), Brenau University, theater professionals and the northeast Georgia community.

"As always, we try to create a season with a wide variety," said Jim Hammond, chair of UNG's theater department and artistic and managing director of GTA. "And this is no different, except that we are celebrating 40 years."

Launching its 40th season will be the annual WonderQuest show with "The Ugly Duckling." WonderQuest is the young audiences division of GTA. It is the only organization in north Georgia dedicated to offering professionally produced theater shows specifically for children and their families.

WonderQuest director Gay Hammond re-engineered Hans Christian Andersen's classic to last for 55 minutes to cater to a younger audience.

"The Ugly Duckling" performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27-28 and Oct. 4; 4:30 p.m. Sept. 28; and 2:30 p.m. Sept. 29 in the historic Pearce Auditorium at Brenau University, 202 Boulevard in Gainesville, Georgia. Tickets are $12-$15 for adults and seniors and $8-$10 for students and children, depending on seat location.

The first mainstage production will be "Legally Blonde: The Musical," which is based on the 2001 hit movie.

"It is one of the hottest properties from Broadway and a real crowd favorite," Jim Hammond said. "It is very witty and sharp with its humor. And I’m confident our talented cast will create an unforgettable production."

One cast member has already been signed. The dog, Bruiser, from the Broadway show will appear in GTA's version, said Keri McClain, the new marketing manager who replaced the retiring Beth Kendall.

"The pooch has several tricks that he performs, and those will be in our show," Hammond said.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Nov. 5-9 and Nov. 12-16; and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 10 and 16 in the Hosch Theatre in the John S. Burd Center at Brenau University, 429 Academy St., in Gainesville. Tickets are $28-$30 for adults; $26-$28 for seniors; and $18-$20 for students.

Following the female-centered coming-of-age tale will be a similar male-centered story of "Pippin." It is one of two shows in GTA’s February Festival. Hammond said he is looking forward to this musical for two reasons.

"Pippin is one of my favorite musicals and its message will deeply resonate with our audiences."

Performances of "Pippin" will be 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11-15 and Feb. 18-22; and 2:30 p.m. Feb. 16 and 22 in the Hosch Theatre. Tickets are $28-$30 for adults; $26-$28 for seniors; and $18-$20 for students.

The second show in the February Festival is "The Bra and Panty Club." Penned by Gay Hammond a few years ago and finessed over time, this quirky, Southern comedy set in the lingerie department of a department store will make its world premiere.

Shows of "The Bra and Panty Club" are 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14, 16 and 18-22; and 2:30 p.m. Feb. 15 and 22 in the Ed Cabell Theatre at UNG's Gainesville Campus. Tickets are $18-$20 for adults; $16-$18 for seniors; and $12-$14 for students.

Wrapping up the season is "The Arabian Nights" by Mary Zimmerman, who is known in GTA circles for "Metamorphoses" and "The Secret in the Wings." Resident GTA director and theatre professor Zechariah Pierce will direct the show, which is a collection of short stories told by the character Scheherazade.

Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. April 7-11 and April 14-18; and 2:30 p.m. April 12 and 18 in the Ed Cabell Theatre at UNG's Gainesville Campus. Tickets are $18 and $20 for adults; $16-$18 for seniors; and $12-$14 for students.

GTA also will produce two more shows through its Discovery Series, a second season of new plays and classics. The November show will feature "The August Wilson Project."

"August Wilson is one of our country's greatest playwrights," Jim Hammond said, explaining Wilson wrote a play exploring the African-American experience in each decade of the 20th century. "We will perform one scene or one monologue from each play as we celebrate the life and work of this remarkable writer."

The second Discovery Series production has yet to be determined.

Discovery Series tickets are free and available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 6:30 p.m. the night of each performance. Theater doors open at 7:10 p.m.

McClain explained season ticket packages are on sale now with discounts available. For example, if tickets for two shows are purchased, a 10% discount is given. For three to four shows, the discount is 15% and for all five shows, it is 20%.

UNG faculty, staff and students also receive these discounts on top of their 50% off regular-price discount if they purchase a campus package in advance. Faculty, staff, and students are eligible for free tickets to mainstage shows, beginning two weeks before the show's opening, valid for certain performances. For details, call the GTA box office.

McClain and Hammond advised people to buy tickets now, especially since 93% of shows were sold out last year.

"The Arabian Nights" is selling quicker than any other show," McClain said. "It's in the Cabell Theatre on UNG's Gainesville Campus, which is a smaller venue. So people should buy sooner."

For more information or tickets, call 678-717-3624 or visit the GTA website or Box Office in the Continuing Education and Performing Arts building on UNG's Gainesville Campus from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday or 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.

 

Gainesville Theatre Alliance 2019-2020 season

'The Ugly Duckling'

When: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27-28 and Oct. 4; 4:30 p.m. Sept. 28; and 2:30 p.m. Sept. 29.

Where: Historic Pearce Auditorium, 202 Boulevard St., Gainesville

Tickets: $12-$15 adults and seniors, $8-$10 students and children

'Legally Blonde: The Musical'

When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 5-9 and Nov. 12-16; and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 10 and 16.

Where: Hosch Theatre in the John S. Burd Center, 429 Academy St., Gainesville

Cost: $28-$30 adults; $26-$28 seniors; and $18-$20 students.

'Pippin'

When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11-15 and Feb. 18-22; 2:30 p.m. Feb. 16 and 22.

Where: Hosch Theatre in the John S. Burd Center, 429 Academy St., Gainesville

Cost: $28-$30 adults; $26-$28 seniors; and $18-$20 students.

'The Bra and Panty Club'

When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14, 16 and 18-22; and 2:30 p.m. Feb. 15 and 22.

Where: Ed Cabell Theatre, 3820 Mundy Mill Road, Oakwood

Cost: $18-$20 adults; $16-$18 seniors; $12-$14 students.

'The Arabian Nights'

When: 7:30 p.m. April 7-11 and April 14-18; and 2:30 p.m. April 12 and 18.

Where: Ed Cabell Theatre, 3820 Mundy Mill Road, Oakwood

Cost: $18-$20 adults; $16-$18 seniors; $12-$14 students.

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