• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

'Addams Family' opens Woodford Theatre season

Woodford Theatre's upcoming season opens this Friday night with "The Addams Family: A New Musical Comedy," and also includes two familiar favorites: "It's a Wonderful Life" in December and "Nunsense" in February. "We've got something that people know and love, and want to come and see," says artistic director Trish Clark. "And then we have new things for them." Woodford Theatre audiences will get to experience "The Addams Family" - based on the cartoon characters of Charles Addams - for the very first time. And then they'll revisit Bedford Falls and George Bailey in an adaptation of Frank Capra's film classic. Unlike previous Woodford Theatre productions of "It's a Wonderful Life," local playwright Jim Rodgers will direct his stage adaptation for the first-time ever. "He's really, really having a great time going back and looking at his script," says Clark. "The language, the relationships, the characters," she adds, "they're all there" in her longtime friend's stage adaptation. Woodford Theatre's 2016-17 season will also celebrate the life and lyrical works of Irish playwright Brian Friel with its production of "Translations" in late-March and early-April, before "A Tribute to Duke Ellington" takes audiences on a musical journey through the jazz age of the Harlem Renaissance in late-May and early-June. Written and directed by Lexington playwright Cathy Rawlings, "A Tribute to Duke Ellington" features the women who sang in the cotton clubs of the 1920s. "Translations" - set in 1833 Ireland - explores cultural and political differences by shedding light on an effort by the British to translate (and change) Gaelic name-places into proper English ones. "It speaks to humanity in a big way," says Clark. ".People who are curious (about different cultures and languages) will love coming and seeing something different" in this Woodford Theatre drama directed by Joe Ferrell. To reserve tickets - $20 for adults and $13 for students - for upcoming performances, call the Woodford Theatre box office at 873-0648 or visit woodfordtheatre.com. In addition to its regular stage productions during its 2016-17 season, Woodford Theatre will present five Something Extras, including "Elf JR: The Musical" by Woodford Theatre Young Artists on Saturday afternoons in December. "So we're trying to appeal to our young families," says Clark. Also, musicians Miles Osland and Vince DiMartino will bring their jazz orchestra to Woodford Theatre's stage in April to celebrate the life and musical legacy of Duke Ellington. "He was so versatile . really just one of the best-ever," says Clark. She says Ellington's granddaughter has expressed interest in playing a role in this celebration of Ellington at Woodford Theatre on April 22 - seven days before his April 29 birthday.

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