Ferndale Rep's 41st season showcases intriguing choices

Ferndale Repertory Theatre's 2012-13 season is not only impressive as the 41st go-round of Humboldt County's oldest, continually-running community theater company, but it promises to be one of their most daring and diverse ever.

Before revealing the productions that have been selected, here's a glimpse of the complex, behind-the-scenes process for choosing the shows.

That process begins with the extensive efforts of Ferndale Repertory Theatre Producing Executive Director Ginger Gene.

"Ginger does a lot of research on what (plays/musicals) have been playing around the country; what seems to be popular at other regional or community theaters; and, what's been on Broadway and Off-Broadway (in the last five to 10 years) that might have production rights available for our company during the time we'd want to stage a specific show," said Dianne Zuleger, a Ferndale Rep board member and resident music director who also performs as an actress, singer and musician. "Ginger also talks with her personal friends in the theater industry around the country. After receiving their input and combining it with the results of her previous search, she then puts together a list of potential choices for our upcoming season."

After that initial selection, Gene submits the list to Ferndale Repertory Theatre's board of directors for their individual and collective feedback. Before doing so, Zuleger added, she has to keep in mind "who we have in our community, theatrical talent pool who could be cast in any, or all, of the shows being suggested and considered."

For productions that require a really big supporting ensemble, like a major musical, one consideration is whether there are enough talented and available performers to fill those equally essential parts. And, that includes technical staff as well.

Once approved by the board and put in order by Gene, the final element always depends on the personal availabilities of every director, performer and technical staff member needed to make it all happen.

So, let's give a round of pre-show applause to everyone who bring you Ferndale Repertory Theatre's 2012-13 season.

"In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)", Oct. 5 to 21

Sarah Ruhl's thoughtfully funny play (for mature audiences) centers around the early history of the vibrator, originally developed and used by 19th century doctors as a treatment for women suffering from "hysteria," women's roles in Victorian society, female sexual desire and motherhood.

"Annie," Nov. 2 to Dec. 16

"Annie" is the beloved comic-strip-character musical that needs no introduction. The ironically funny musical features a score that includes "Tomorrow" and many more iconic songs by Strouse, Charmin and Meehan. Meet Little Orphan Annie, her dog Sandy, Daddy Warbucks and the rest of the outrageous gang for a feel-good family show for the holidays.

"Songs for a New World," Jan. 18 to Feb. 2

An innovative, theatrical song cycle by Jason Robert Brown that examines how we have to figure out how to live in a world in which the definitions of family, distance, money, technology and the very nature of human contact is changing every day.

"Hello Dolly," March 8 to 31

Yet another fabulous, famous Tony Award winning musical whose score by Jerry Herman is chock full of memorable numbers, including the title song and many more. Everyone loves turn-of-the 20th century matchmaker Dolly Levi who meddles and matches everyone up (including herself) in a whirlwind race around Old New York.

"Boeing Boeing," July 12 to Aug. 10

Marc Camoletti's mapcap French farce is set in the era when the newer, faster jet planes were just beginning to circle the globe. It follows the frantic efforts of a philandering Parisian architect to juggle romantic rendezvous with his three, different flight attendant "fiancées." Needless to say, when their scheduled arrivals change, comedic disaster ensues.

"Assassins," July 12 to Aug. 10

Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's "Assassins" could be "the most controversial musical ever written." Disturbing, thought-provoking (and sometimes alarmingly funny), it bends time and space to lay bare the lives of nine people who assassinated, or tried to assassinate, the president of the United States in their own "name of the American Dream."

Well that's it. From daring and different, to famous and fun. There's something for every audience during Ferndale Repertory Theatre's 2012-13 season. For more information, call 786-5483 ext. 201 or purchase season tickets in advance at www.ferndale-rep.org.