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Happy focus at Summer Repertory Theatre

  • Summer Repertory Theater kicks off its 2014 season with "A Chorus Line," the Tony Award-winning musical about dancers auditioning for a chorus line. TOM CHOWN

We all know about the two faces of theater — comedy and tragedy — but one of Sonoma County's longest-running theater series is showing its happy side this summer. No pathos this time around.

Summer Repertory Theatre, the annual summer-long theater festival at Santa Rosa Junior College, plans eight weeks of Broadway comedies and musicals this season.

"We wanted to keep light this year. I just think that, given the state of the world, we deserve a little bit of laughter in the summer," said James Newman, artistic director of Summer Repertory Theatre.

The 43rd season opens today with "A Chorus Line," which deals with the joys and sorrows of Broadway singers and dancers who support the stars. The series continues until early August.

College students from all over the country will perform in five different shows, running in rotation at two theaters on the junior college campus.

"It's a giant dance season for us. We are laughing and dancing our way through the summer. When we make a decision to do dance shows, we really commit to doing dance shows," Newman said.

Besides "A Chorus Line," the season includes two other major musicals.

"La Cage aux Folles," follows a gay couple who run a drag nightclub and pretend to be conventional for the sake of their son's fiancee and her family. This is the 2010 Broadway revival version.

"9 to 5" is the new Broadway version of the 1980 film about three women who get revenge on their tyrannical boss, with new music by one of the movie's stars, Dolly Parton.

"If we're going to do a show like 'A Chorus Line,' then we know we going to have all these wonderful dancers, so we're going to use them in shows like 'La Cage aux Folles' and '9 to 5,'" Newman explained.


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