Pulse Opera House goes 'All American' for 2009 theater season

Cynthia Smyth-Wartzok (center), artistic/managing director of the Pulse Opera House, announces the line-up for the 2009 season during a New Year’s Eve celebration Dec. 31 at the downtown Warren theater.
Photo provided.

Friends, fans and families of the Pulse Opera House celebrated the arrival of 2009 several weeks ago by gathering at the downtown Warren theater to hear about the new "All American" season.

Cynthia Smyth-Wartzok, artistic and managing director of the Pulse, says the season - which starts on Valentine's Day - will feature shows "written by some of the most prominent American writers and are about faith, family, friendship and good old American ‘can do' spirit."

She announced the lineup at the stroke of midnight.

The season is sprinkled with Indiana composers Hoagy Carmichael and Cole Porter, Neil Simon and Mark Twain, and other American playwrights.

Homegrown vocalist Barry Jamison opens the season by performing the music of Car-michael and Porter in a Valentine's Day dinner show at the Dogwood Glen Golf Course. That event is also a fundraiser, with all ticket proceeds going to the 2009 season.

The first on-stage production of 2009 is "You Can't Take It With You," a classic comedy by East Coast playwrights George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, which opens March 6.

"It's the story of an eccentric family who find other pursuits, such as writing crime novels and creating fireworks in the basement, more important than money," Smyth-Wartzok says. "When the daughter brings home a boyfriend who is the son of a Wall Street tycoon, the fireworks really begin."

Performances at the Pulse are March 6-21, and the troupe will take the play to the Indiana Community theatre League Festival in Muncie March 26-28.

Neil Simon's "The Sunshine Boys" runs May 8-23.

That play, Smyth-Wartzok explains, focuses on aging Al Lewis and Willy Clark, a one-time vaudevillian team known as "Lewis and Clark" who, over the course of 40-odd years, not only grew to hate each other but never spoke to each other off-stage throughout the final year of their act. Comic magic happens when Clark's nephew tries to reunite them for a television special.

With summer comes a musical - "Yankee Ingenuity," based on an 1845 play by Anna Cora Mowatt, one of the first American women to be published. The musical features book and lyrics by Richard Bimonte and music by Jim Wise, who wrote "Dames at Sea."

"Yankee Ingenuity" is set in pre-Civil War New York City and satirizes the vanities and wild extravagances of the new rich, while extolling the virtues of an earlier day.

"Yankee Ingenuity" runs July 10-25.

The youth offering this year is Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." Fea-turing a large cast of youth and adults, the show will be offered for school groups in special daytime performances.

"All the famous adventures are included, climaxing with the life-or-death battle with Injun Joe in the cave," Smyth-Wartzok says.

"The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" runs Sept. 4-19 with school shows on Sept. 10 and 11.
The final show of the season will be a Christmas classic.

Based on the Frank Capra movie, "It's a Wonderful Life" not only celebrates the faith of the season, it also celebrates the American philosophy of life - that hard work, fair play and the love and support of one's family and community will be rewarded, Smyth-Wartzok says.

In addition to the productions, the Pulse will also offer a radio drama in October and open mic nights in the lobby.

For more information on tickets, memberships or auditions, check out the Web site at www.pulseoperahouse.org or call 375-7017.