VALRICO — This month marks the final production of the season for the Village Players and the nonprofit, open-door ensemble has chosen the rock musical Rent to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the historic James McCabe Theater.
It's a bit of a departure from its usual dinner theater and murder mystery style shows.
Gail Pierce, vice president of the Village Players, an instructional theater that teaches acting, sound, lighting and stage management in Valrico, said it's worth producing.
"It's a little controversial, and people have a bit of a problem with it," she said, noting the theater has published its R rating and will check IDs at the gate. "We do believe everything has its place."
Rent is about struggling young New York artists living in a sexually charged HIV/AIDS world at Christmastime. Performances continue at 8 tonight, 3 p.m. Saturday and 8 p.m. Dec. 18-19 at the James McCabe Theatre, 506 N Fifth St.
Tickets for Rent are $15, or $13 for students, seniors and military. Reserved seating for groups of 10 or more are available for $12 each by calling (813) 480-3147.
Many actors are high school aged and novices because the troupe maintains an edict of having roles for new actors in every show.
The McCabe, originally constructed to house the Valrico Civic Club in 1915, stands as the only remaining commercial structure in Valrico dating to the turn of the century. Pierce said the organization has replaced the roof of the building three times, with money raised from donations, during her nearly 40 years overseeing operations.
Next year, Pierce said she is excited to announce a lineup that includes Sherlock Holmes, which premieres Jan. 22, and an adult version of The Little Mermaid in the spring. Pierce also said she has obtained the rights to Andrew Lloyd Webber's School of Rock musical, which he released prior to the show opening Sunday on Broadway.
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