Masquers kickoff gala set for Aug. 26

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File photo Truvy (Sharon Winningham) readies Shelby (Laura Knittle) for her wedding day while her assistant Annelle (Emma Russell) works on Shelby’s mom M’Lynn (Melissa Sloan) in last year’s Masquers production of ‘Steel Magnolias.’ This year’s season kicks off next month.

SOAP LAKE — The Masquers Theater company kicks off its 2017-18 season with murder, mayhem – and snacks – during its annual Membership Gala scheduled for Aug. 26 at the theater, 322 E. Main St The company also announced its 2017-18 lineup.

Admission to the gala is free. It’s likely – very likely, actually – that the evening will be interrupted by Foul Deeds, especially since the theme is “Masquers Most Foul.” A good murder enlivens any party, and the audience may be asked to help hunt for clues.

Traditionally the gala is the kickoff to the annual membership drive. But because the first play is in September, the Masquers board is asking people who want to buy memberships or season tickets by mail to send payment prior to the gala. Season tickets and memberships can also be purchased online at www.masquers.com or by calling the theater box office, 509-246-2611.

The 2017-18 season kicks off with the world premiere of “Dinner Before Dawn,” an original play by Theresa Freeman and Andrew Covarrubias and directed by Covarrubias. The curtain goes up on the first performance Sept. 15.

The company will tell the story of Ralphie, the Old Man, a much-coveted Red Ryder BB gun and – of course – the Battle of the Lamp in the annual winter musical. “A Christmas Story: The Musical” opens Nov. 17. Stacy Bresee is the director.

Auditions for “A Christmas Story” are set for Aug. 11 and 12 at the theater. Along with the lead roles there’s a chorus with roles for both kids and adults. But actors must be able to sing, according to information on the Masquers website.

“Barefoot in the Park,” the classic Neil Simon comedy about the ups and downs of brand-new marriage, is scheduled for February. The classic suspense tale “Wait Until Dark” is scheduled for April. Thieves make the mistake of thinking their prey, who is blind, is helpless.

The season wraps up with “The Cemetery Club” in June. The play tells the story of three women who meet while visiting the graves of their deceased husbands.

Masquers memberships are $27 for individuals, $52 for families and $102 for businesses. General admission season tickets are $50 with a membership, $67 without a membership. Senior citizen (age 60 and older) and student (age 17 and younger) season tickets are $40 with membership, $57 without membership.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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