Short But Sweet – APT announces all-hit 2024 seasonShort But Sweet –

Short But Sweet – APT announces all-hit 2024 seasonShort But Sweet –

For Arkansas Public Theatre, Season 38 might be subtitled “Go Big Or Go Home.”

For the second time in five years, the Victory Theatre is preparing to close down for a few months. This time, the closure will happen between Season 37 and Season 38 — late summer or early fall of 2023. And this time the cause is not a pandemic, but a remodeling of the historic theater to increase seating and amenities as a multi-use facility.

“Because of the exciting dedication the city of Rogers has made to the renovation of the Victory Theatre, Season 38 will be an abbreviated season to allow [time for] the amazing upgrades and improvements,” says Ed McClure, APT artistic director. “We learned that closing during the pandemic made our wonderful patrons even more excited to get back into the Victory to enjoy a live performance! So I am confident the same excitement coupled with the unveiling of the new and improved Victory Theatre will propel the demand for live theater” in 2024.

Coming out of the shutdown, APT has selected three huge shows for its short-but-sweet season: James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods”; Jonathan Larson’s iconic “Rent”; and “Kinky Boots” with music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper. The dates may shift a little based on the speed of the remodeling, but McClure is planning to reopen with “Into the Woods” on Feb. 16, 2024.

“During our production of ‘Music Man,’ I polled the cast to tell me their three shows they would like to see on our season,” McClure explains. “The cast of 30 performers ranged in ages from 5 to 65, and that seemed like a great demographic to get feedback from! ‘Into the Woods’ and ‘Rent’ were among the top three selections. ‘Kinky Boots’ was ranked high, but I assumed rights would not be available. Imagine my delight when we were able to snag a contract!”

APT has traveled a long and storied road to Season 38. David Berry remembers way back to the beginning of APT as Rogers Little Theatre, long before its permanent home at the Victory. Producing “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” in 1987 at Northside Elementary, “we rolled a piano up to the foot of the stage, dressed me in a toga, and I was the entire orchestra,” he recalls. “It was not without struggles, but it was hilarious — and I was hooked!

“I don’t know if I’ll ever get back into the performance side of APT,” Berry adds, “but it’s my deep joy to support APT and to be swept away in the audience by the incredible talent and high quality productions.”

“Every show at every theater is a unique experience, not only for the audience, but for the cast and crew, and that’s what I love about the art,” Anna Joie, whose first role was Mrs. Squires in “The Music Man,” picks up the train of thought. “When I think of APT, though, I immediately think of the gorgeous historic Victory Theatre. I’ve performed in state-of-the-art auditoriums for over a decade, and I love what’s possible there, but to me, there’s nothing that beats an intimate audience setting and an old stage heavy with almost a century of memories. I’m just so honored to be part of that legacy.”

Joie returns to the stage later this month as Crystal in “Little Shop of Horrors,” one of her dream roles, she says.

“As an actor, it isn’t often that you get to perform in a venue as beloved and historically significant to our community as the Victory Theatre,” agrees Aaron Young, who first appeared on the APT stage in “Newsies” — the last show before the pandemic shutdown — and is now in rehearsals playing Seymour in “Little Shop of Horrors,” opening Feb. 10. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every show I’ve acted in, as well as every show I’ve watched as a member of the audience!”

Sarah Mouritsen Riedmueller has a long list of APT roles on her resume, starting with “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and including “A Kid Like Jake,” during which she started dating her husband Charlie, later creating one of APT’s living legacies, a little boy.

“This theater is truly a community,” she says. “I have so many lasting friendships from the theater. Never will you see such a melting pot of people come from so many different walks of life. There could be a CEO of a company up on stage with a high school student.”

“APT has brought me such an amazing community of friends,” agrees Brittany Tavernaro, who is returning to the APT stage in “Little Shop” after a recent appearance in “Almost, Maine.” “It is a very special thing to have a place outside of work where you get to do something you love with people who make that experience so much fun!”

“To have a theater community this legitimate and not be in a giant city is just something amazing,” concludes Edward Mountz, who played the lead last summer in “Disaster.” “APT is, as Lin-Manuel Miranda puts it, ‘non-stop.’ … That’s something that could never happen anywhere but Northwest Arkansas. The big cities, sure, but that’s what makes Northwest Arkansas so unique.”

Tickets to all performances for the current Season 37 and for Season 38 when available are offered at or 631-8988. Tickets range in price from $20-$45.



APT SeasonLeaks:

Season 38

Announced Jan. 20 during the annual SeasonLeaks celebration at Arkansas Public Theatre are the three shows that will make up APT’s abbreviated Season 38:

“Into the Woods” — With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by James Lapine, Feb. 16-18, 22-25, 2024. Auditions are set at this time for 7 p.m. Dec. 11-12.

The Tony Award-winning musical follows a Baker and his wife, who wish to have a child; Cinderella, who wishes to attend the King’s Festival; and Jack, who wishes his cow would give milk. Everyone’s wish is granted, but the consequences of their actions return to haunt them later.

“Rent” — With book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson, April 12-14, 18-21, 2024. Auditions are set at this time for 7 p.m. Feb. 19-20, 2024.

Based loosely on Puccini’s “La Boheme,” Jonathan Larson’s iconic “Rent,” winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, follows a year in the life of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York’s Lower East Side under the shadow of AIDS.

“Kinky Boots” — With book by Harvey Fierstein, music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, June 21-23, 27-30, 2024. Auditions are set at this time for 7 p.m. April 15-16, 2024.

“Kinky Boots” won six Tonys including Best Musical, the Grammy for Best Musical Theatre album and London’s Olivier Award for Best Musical. In it, Charlie Price has reluctantly inherited his father’s shoe factory, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and save his family business, Charlie finds inspiration in the form of Lola, a fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos.

Categories: Theater