The Lutcher Theater in Orange just completed a spectacular season for its 30th anniversary.
Jim Clark, director, didn’t know how he was going to top it. With the release of the 2011-2012 line-up, Clark has the makings of another great season. On tap are three of the all-time favorite musicals, two tribute bands, The Blue Man Group, Shrek and more.

Clark has put together a season of 12 shows that begins with “Rain-A Tribute to the Beatles” on Sept. 26 “It’s on Broadway right now,” said Clark. The show consists of five guys representing three different phases of the Beatles’ career; four representing each of the Beatles and a keyboard player. “They have been doing this for like 12 to 15 years. It just went to Broadway this last year. It was just going to play till October. They’re doing so well that they extended the run. “They’ve really studied the Beatles, every film, everything they can, so you really wouldn’t know you weren’t at a Beatles’ concert. It’s the first time we’ve ever done a tribute band, but these guys. Beatle mania started with the Beatles, but these guys have gone over the top.”

“Young Frankenstein” comes to the Lutcher Oct. 24. “Every one of the jokes from the movie is in the musical,” said Clark. “Young Frankenstein,” is being produced by the same man that brought Beauty and the Beast to Orange last year.

“They’re also producing Shrek,” said Clark. Shrek the Musical takes the stage Nov. 6 for a matinee and an evening show. “This is the national tour I just saw in Dallas. The costuming and all was unbelievable. I think

this is going to be comparable to their “Beauty and the Beast.” Clark also said, “It’s a fun show. I didn’t know the movie. I took my teenage boys up there and they had a great time. There is a lot of teenage boy humor in it.”

“Two weeks after that we do ‘South Pacific.’ It won every Tony Award in 2008.” For the Lincoln Center production, Clark said the show’s producers went back and looked for the original books and songs to see if they left anything out.

They found content that was not done originally and put that in. “It’s the traditional South Pacific as we know it, but they also restored it,” said Clark. There will be two performances on Nov. 20. “South Pacific” is the first of the classics during the season. “We have three nostalgic musicals next year that people are gonna really go crazy for,” said Clark.

Next on the menu is “In the Heights.” “It’s really going to appeal to young people. It’s go rap in it.” Also a Tony Award winner in 2008, It’s the story of three generations of families coming to the United States with a Latin beat. “It’s a feel good musical,” said Clark.

“We’ve got Manheim Steamroller coming and doing their Christmas show,” said Clark. Scheduled for Dec. 29, that concludes the first half of the season. “People just go crazy for Manheim Steamroller. That’s really going to be a lot of fun. “

The New Year starts out with “Fiddler on the Roof” Jan. 12-13. Clark said the musical was just revived on Broadway not long ago. He says it has been a theater goer’s favorite at the Lutcher. “I think this is our third time to do it. It’s been six or seven years since it was here and sold out. That’s a great show. Young people need to see this show.

“We’re working with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. This is the first time they have taken can-can on tour,” said Clark of the upcoming production of Moulin Rouge. “We haven’t done a full story ballet, I think,” Clark said they haven’t done a full story ballet in his 22 years at the Lutcher, and doesn’t think one was done before that. Moulin Rouge takes the stage Jan. 31.

My Fair Lady, Feb. 29 is the last of the classics for the season. “South Pacific, My Fair Lady and Fiddler on the Roof, people will battle about which one is the best or their favorite.

The show Clark is really excited about is Blue Man Group, March 5-6. This will be their Southeast Texas Debut. “Although it is impossible to describe, people of all ages agree that Blue Man Group is an intensely exciting and wildly outrageous show that leaves the entire audience in a blissful, euphoric state. With no spoken language, Blue Man Group is perfect for people of all ages, languages and cultures.” Clark expects the show to sell out early.

March 8 offers the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning drama “Doubt.” “This is theater that brings audiences to the edge of their seats and introduces topics that will be discussed long after the final curtain.”

Clark rounds out the season with the all new Original Tribute to the Blues Brothers. Jake and Elwood Blues will rock the house with your favorite songs: Everybody, Shake Ya Tail Feather, Sweet Home Chicago, Think, Respect, Gimme Some Loving and more. “This is loud. It’s high octane and high volume,” said Clark. “It’s blues music, it’s rock and roll; you don’t play it soft.” If you can’t handle loud music, you may want to trade for a different production. Clark said he would supply earplugs for those needing them.

Season tickets go on sale June 1. Single tickets or other dates go on sale Aug. 28.
“We’re going to put Fiddler and South Pacific, along with Blue Man Group and Shrek for their Broadway package next year. If people don’t want those shows; if they don’t want Blue Man Group and they want to switch out, they may not get the same seat location, but they could get “My Fair Lady” instead or “In The Heights.” Clark said, “We’re really flexible.”

The Lutcher is introducing dynamic pricing next season. “Single ticket prices don’t exist anymore. It’s the price of the show per day. It’s just like the airlines,” Season tickets are your best buy. When single tickets go on sale, the price could go up or down $5 or so. For instance, if when single tickets go on sale for Blue Man Group and there are only a few single tickets left, they’re more valuable. “Tickets prices will be changing, sometimes on a weekly basis. They go up and they go down,” said Clark. “They have been doing it all across Texas.”

To reserve your season tickets or for more information contact the box office at 409-886- 5535 or visit the Lutcher Theater Web site at The theater is located at 707 Main, Orange, TX.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.