Venice Theatre's 2017-18 Season Celebrates American Experience

In three different series, the productions range from Steinbeck to Shakespeare and beyond.

By Kay Kipling May 16, 2017

Dscn1790 cjjkdd

David Walker, Nancy Denton and Kristofer Geddie deliver a number from The Toxic Avenger.

Image: Rhonda Sudik

It’s looking like a busy 2017-18 season for Venice Theatre, which has announced the shows it will be producing in three different series. (The Stage II Series and Cabaret Series, both taking place in the Pinkerton Theatre, have been combined into one series; the MainStage series and the Generations Series, which presents fare appealing to all ages including young children, remain the same).

The line-up was decided upon by artistic/executive director Murray Chase and the theater’s volunteer play selection committee, and theater staffers Allan Kollar and Kristofer Geddie were emcees for a program announcing the shows and presenting a few musical numbers.

Up first in the MainStage series: the Moss Hart-George S. Kaufman comedy classic about an eccentric family meeting the daughter’s new fiancé, You Can’t Take It With You (onstage Sept. 26 through Oct. 15). That’s followed by the musical version of the popular holiday movie A Christmas Story, telling the story of Ralphie and his wish for a BB gun for Christmas (Nov. 14 through Dec. 10); Smokey Joe’s Café, showcasing the music of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, a hit the last time the theater produced it (onstage this time Jan. 9 through Feb. 4); Dreamgirls, the tale of a girl trio much like the Supremes (Feb. 20 through March 18); and the stage version of John Steinbeck’s classic The Grapes of Wrath, which closes out the season April 10-29.

Dscn1926 kamsgs

Geddie, Willie Marte and Edwin Watson perform a song from Smokey Joe's Cafe.

Image: Rhonda Sudik 

In the Stage II series, the season kicks off Sept. 28 through Oct. 22 with Beehive: the ’60s Musical, recalling the days of miniskirts, transistor radios and flower power. That’s followed by Jane Martin’s crossover comedy mixing horror and hilarity, Flaming Guns of the Purple Sage (Nov. 2-19); and David Sedaris’ The Santaland Diaries, adapted by Joe Mantello (Nov. 30 through Dec. 23).

Taking VT into the new year will be Arlene Hutton’s Last Train to Nibroc, which brings together a young serviceman and a small-town girl circa 1940 (running Jan. 11-28), a “back by popular demand” musical, The Toxic Avenger, with book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro (Feb. 8 through March 4); Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (March 15 through April 8); and Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical!, onstage April 26 through May 10.

The Generations Series present the tale of Wiley and the Hairy Man, Sept. 7-17; the ever popular A Christmas Carol, Dec. 15-21; and an adaptation of E.B. White’s Stuart Little, running May 15-20.

You can also count on a summer cabaret festival, July 6 through Aug. 27, 2017, along with other summer shows and the return of The Rocky Horror Show just in time for Halloween, Oct. 27-31. For complete info and season tickets, call (941) 488-1115 or go to

Show Comments