2011-07-06 / Front Page

Cullom New QTIP Excutive Director Announces Schedule

By Thomas Cogan

At a reception at Queens Theatre in the Park (QTiP) on June 26, Ray Cullom told the audience that when he became the new QTiP executive director at the end of March there was nothing posted in the Theatre Series for the coming season. After three months as the head of the organization, he could announce that three events had been scheduled and a preview theatrical event, fresh from a Manhattan run, will open at the end of July.  A three-event Dance Series will begin in December and continue into 2012. Other productions now scheduled include a three-event Celebrity Series in November and December and a six-event Kids’ Series that includes a musical version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol that also extends into next year.
First of the three Theatre Series presentations is Chix Six (Start the Fire Now!), a musical about a comic book artist whose troubled life is saved when her own heroic female characters come to life and leap from the cartoon panels to teach her how to endure and prevail. Projected animation, a musical score and a cast led by Queens native Lourds Lane (who performed at the reception, singing and playing an electric violin) as Katie the cartoonist are features of the show that opens Friday, September 30 and runs for the following month. The second presentation, opening Thursday, November 3, is ’S Wonderful, a work comprising five mini-musicals that tell stories from the lives of George and Ira Gershwin that  incorporate their music and lyrics. More than 40 famous songs are included in a show that Cullom assured the audience would be “impeccable, flawless”. The last Theatre Series presentation for 2011, the opening date of which has yet to be announced,  is This Wonderful Life, a stage version of the Frank Capra movie and holiday season classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, done in the form of a radio play, Cullom said. He also said that in September he would announce three more Theatre Series productions to run from January to June 2012.
A Jew Grows in Brooklyn, a comedy with music, brought to Queens from its Manhattan run, opens Thursday, July 28. Written and performed by Jake Ehrenreich, A Jew Grows in Brooklyn is the story of the son of two Holocaust survivors and the sad and funny lessons he learns from life and living. It runs through August 21.
The three-company Dance Series begins Saturday, December 10 with the return of the contemporary dance company Parsons Dance. Performances will take place at 2 and 8 p.m. that day and at 3 p.m. Sunday, December 11. Another returning dance company, Philadanco, opens with 2 and 8 p.m. performances on Saturday, March 17, 2012 and closes with a 3 p.m. performance Sunday, March 18. Four weeks later, Viver Brasil performs on Saturday, April 14 at 2 and 8 p.m. and on Sunday, April 15 at 3 p.m. A fourth company, according to Cullom a jazz-dance troupe, is also scheduled, with further details to come.
Singer Melissa Manchester will open the Celebrity Series on Saturday, November 19 with performances at 2 and 8 p.m. and a meet-the-artist reception after the 8 p.m. performance. Comedian Paula Poundstone will perform on Saturday, December 3, at 2 and 8 p.m., also with a reception following the 8 p.m. show. The Spanish Harlem Orchestra appears the following day, Sunday, December 4, at 2 and 6 p.m.
The QTiP Kids Series of six Sunday events, begins November 20 with 1 and 3 p.m. performances of Bill Blagg’s magic show. The musical A Christmas Carol opens a week later, November 27, at the end of the Thanksgiving break. The series’ first show of 2012 is the musical comedy, Are You My Mother?, presented January 22. Doktor Kaboom, billed as “funny science”, follows on February 5. Bubble Mania, or “tricks with bubbles” with Casey Carle, will be presented March 4, and the comedy, Ramona Quimby, based on the character created by author Beverly Cleary, will open April 1.
Cullom also told his audience to anticipate big plans for the theater building in the next year, but offered few further details.
The box office number for Queens Theatre in the Park is 718-760-0064.

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