Larry Shue's delightful comedy The Foreigner opens this Friday, September 3, at Hale Centre Theatre in Gilbert's Historic District. Shue's thought provoking comedy will continue making Hale Theatre audience's laugh and smile through October 16.
The Foreigner is being directed by Lori Towne who returns to the Hale Centre Theatre, after directing the hit comedy Beau Jest last season. Towne regularly directs and teaches musical theatre at Mesa Community College. She has received numerous AriZoni nominations and four AriZoni Awards for Direction and Choreography.
The Examiner spoke with Ms. Towne about her upcoming production of The Foreigner at Hale Centre Theatre.
Q: Larry Shue's The Foreigner is a very popular and much performed play. What can Valley audiences expect from your Hale Theatre production?
A: It's a very entertaining play that mixes a lot of realism with very funny comedy. We have actors that are a variety of all ages and experience who are really excited about taking on the challenge of bringing together a story that includes the KKK, something new and different for the Hale Theatre. It's a little more cutting edge than the other plays they produce. The Foreigner is such a wonderful play and we are trying to make it appeal to all ages and be family oriented as well.
Q: Do you think it will be family oriented?
A: Yes, in terms of the language, it's a little bit toned down. We are hoping that some people will not take offense on how dramatically the KKK is represented. Hopefully, the play will inspire people to think and be more aware of these social circumstances that Shue writes about.
Q: What are some of the other shows that you have done with Hale Theatre?
A: My first show with Hale Theatre was Lend Me a Tenor. Last season, I directed the musical She Loves Me and the comedy Beau Jest. The Foreigner will be my fourth production with the Hale.
Q: Tell us about the theater program at Mesa Community College.
A: That's a thriving and ever changing program. One of the most exciting things about it is that the students range in all ages. Sometimes we get High School and even Junior High Schools students to perform with us. We have budding young college actors and adults from the community that just want to come out and do a show. The program does a wide variety of musical and straight theater.
Q: Do you have a favorite among the many shows you have staged?
A: There are many! I would say among my top favorites are Sweeney Todd, She Loves Me, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, Beau Jest and now The Foreigner. There are just too many. They're all so good and so different.
Q: What shows did you win your four AriZoni Awards for?
A: I won two for You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, for direction and choreography. I also won two for direction and choreography for Lucky Stiff.
Q: Is there any show that you haven't done that is still on your list to do?
A: Gee, I never thought about that, to be honest. The ones that I was waiting to do for a long time were Parade and Sweeney Todd. When I did those, I was very happy.
Q: What's next for you?
A: To be honest, I'm not quite sure. I have been trying to take a little break from directing. I do know that I will be doing another youth production at Mesa Community College of Secrets Every Smart Traveller Should Know, based on Wendy Perrin's travel book. It's a charming musical revue about traveling by all modes of transportation.
For more information about The Foreigner's performance schedules and/or ticket prices and availability, please contact Hale Centre Theatre directly either ON LINE or the box office at (480)-497-1181.
Hale Centre Theatre 50 West Page Ave, Gilbert 85233