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Tantrum Theater announces 2018 summer season

Tantrum Theater will return to the Abbey Theater in Dublin, Ohio, for a third season in the summer of 2018. The season will feature two productions, with a total of 37 performances between June 6 and July 29.

The first season offering is “The Cake,” a new comedy by Bekah Brunstetter (NBC’s “This Is Us”) directed by Shelley Delaney, running June 6 to June 24. It will be followed by the powerful rock-musical “Next to Normal,” with music by Tom Kitt and book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey. “Next to Normal” will run from July 11 to July 29 under the direction of Robert Barry Fleming, who returns to Tantrum after directing last year’s critically-acclaimed “Caroline, Or Change.”

About the season

Tantrum Theater Artistic Director Daniel C. Dennis explained how stories focusing on the female experience will take center stage in 2018. “Women have always been willing to show up, to stand up and be counted, but now more than ever it is the voices and stories of women that need to be heard. In 2017, women refused to be placated or ignored through such highly visible protests as the Women’s March on Washington D.C. last January and the #metoo movement.”

“When I look back on our two seasons,” he continued, “it is the plays we’ve done about women that have been my favorites. As the indomitable Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, Shelley Delaney, Head of Performance at Ohio University’s Theater Division, brought to vivid life a memorable personality for many audience members, and she is back to direct this season’s ‘The Cake.’ Last season’s ‘Caroline, or Change’ reached more people than any other show we’ve done, and people still tell me how shocked they were and continue to be today at the experience of being in the audience. For many, the feeling has come with a growing responsibility to do something about problems that have been a part of our nation since its founding. ‘Caroline’ director Robert Barry Fleming is back this season to direct another emotional musical centered on the experience of a woman in the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning ‘Next to Normal.’”

Another focus of the upcoming season is connection. “Isn’t that what we all need?” asked Dennis. “The people in these plays are trying to make connections, to understand what’s going on for another person, to grapple with the hard stuff of life and to love one another deeply. I find in Bekah Brunstetter’s ‘The Cake’ a story that resonates profoundly with me. It is that rare play that seeks compassion rather than judgment and assumes love rather than ill-will.

“Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt’s ‘Next to Normal’ finds a middle-aged woman — a mother and a spouse — whose attempts to connect with a lost part of herself prevent her from connecting with the people right in front of her, the husband and daughter that love and need her.”

From Dennis’s perspective, the stories Tantrum will tell this summer speak to our current moment and meet a collective need for radical empathy. “The case that inspired ‘The Cake,’ Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, was recently argued before the U.S. Supreme Court and is due to be decided in late spring, just in time for our production. ‘Next to Normal’ is a story of recovery that will ring true for many Ohioans dealing with issues of mental health and prescription drug use, addressing these problems with humor, heart and a rock-music score.”

Ultimately, Dennis wants audiences to walk away from this season with “a desire to connect, to have hard conversations with those they don’t fully understand and to do so leading with their hearts.”

About “The Cake”

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”

Della believes there’s no problem so big it can’t be solved while eating one of her perfectly delicious cakes. When Jen, the daughter of a dear friend, returns home to get married, Della is thrilled to bake the wedding cake — until she discovers Jen’s groom is not a groom, but a bride. Della is torn between deeply-held faith and her love for Jen, who struggles to reconcile her own conservative roots with her liberal life. In a nation deeply divided on social issues, this new play by Bekah Brunstetter is a delectable confection of humor, compassion and Southern hospitality. How do we love when the political meets the personal?

“The Cake,” by Bekah Brunstetter runs June 6–24, directed by Shelley Delaney.

About “Next to Normal”

Father, mother, sister, brother. The Goodmans may seem like a comfortable family, but they’re just trying to make it through another day. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and three Tony Awards, this emotional rollercoaster of a rock musical twists through suburban life in contemporary America with honesty and heart. Examining one family’s struggles with mental illness, medication and grief, “Next to Normal” offers hope for self-acceptance even when nothing is truly normal.

“Next to Normal,” directed by Robert Barry Fleming, with music by Tom Kitt and book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, runs July 11–29.

Season details

All shows will be performed at the Abbey Theater, Dublin Rec Center, 5600 Post Road, Dublin, OH 43017.

Tickets: Purchase tickets today at tantrumtheater.org or by calling 614-793-5700.

Regular tickets: $29.50

Senior tickets (65 and older): $27

Student tickets (with valid I.D.): $12

There will be two pay-what-you-will preview performances for each production.

Season flex passes are available at adult and senior rates. These four-ticket passes can be used in any date combination of the patron’s choice:

Adult Season Flex Pass: $100

Senior Season Flex Pass: $94


“The Cake”

By Bekah Brunstetter

Directed by Shelley Delaney

June 6–24

Wednesday, June 6, 7:30 p.m. Pay-what-you-will preview

Thursday, June 7, 7:30 p.m. – Pay-what-you-will preview, Press night

Friday, June 8, 8 p.m. – Invited opening, Post-show reception

Saturday, June 9, 8 p.m.

Sunday, June 10, 2 p.m.

Tuesday, June 12, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, June 13, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, June 14, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, June 15, 8 p.m.

Saturday, June 16, 8 p.m.

Sunday, June 17, 2 p.m.

Tuesday, June 19, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, June 20, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, June 21, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, June 22, 8 p.m.

Saturday, June 23, 2 p.m.

Saturday, June 23, 8 p.m.

Sunday, June 24, 2 p.m. – Closing

“Next to Normal”

Music by Tom Kitt

Book and Lyrics by Brian Yorkey

Directed by Robert Barry Fleming

July 11–29

Wednesday, July 11, 7:30 p.m. – Pay-what-you-will preview

Thursday, July 12, 7:30 p.m. – Pay-what-you-will preview, Press night

Friday, July 13, 8 p.m. – Invited opening, Post-show reception

Saturday, July 14, 8 p.m.

Sunday, July 15, 2 p.m.

Tuesday, July 17, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 18, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 19, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, July 20, 8 p.m.

Saturday, July 21, 2 p.m.

Saturday, July 21, 8 p.m.

Sunday, July 22, 2 p.m.

Tuesday, July 24, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 25, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 26, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, July 27, 8 p.m.

Saturday, July 28, 2 p.m.

Saturday, July 28, 8 p.m.

Sunday, July 29, 2 p.m. Closing