ORLANDO – Theater can be challenging, experimental, imaginative, even innovative, but if it’s a comedy, sometimes it’s light — a great diversion from anything that ails you.
That’s particularly true in these tough economic times, said Mike Yebba. Even as people cut back on their discretionary spending, they still cherish an opportunity to get out in public, see a really funny show, and have a good laugh.
“Theater is unique,” he said. “People they are sometimes willing to spend that extra money to go get away from the troubles they are encountering, especially with the economy the way it is.”
Yebba is the marketing director for In the Wings Productions, a theater company that also serves an interesting dual function, as a fund-raising vehicle for good causes, including other theater companies.
As part of that, In the Wings is presenting its second full length production, the zany comedy “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged),” as a fund-raiser for the Orlando Youth Theater. The proceeds raised from this two week production will go toward new equipment for the Studio Theater on Amelia Street, which serves as the home for both the Orlando Youth Theater and In The Wings.
Yebba said they purposely opted to stage a crazy, hilarious show that audiences could sit back, relax and enjoy.
“It provides a great comedic outlet for any age group,” he said. “It can provide a very positive outlet to just go sit back and relax and forget about their troubles in life.”
In the Wings has a partnership with Orlando Youth Theatre, and provides technical theater instruction to students.
“We’ve been in the works for about a little bit over the year now, and we’re a non-profit organization,” Yebba said. “We cater to the Orlando theater community. We’re also a tech company. We do tech for other theaters for their theatrical productions. If a theater does not like to worry about teching their show at all, we can do it for them. We cater to the Orlando theater community on multiple levels.”
They also like to do something else: performances that serve as fund-raisers for other theaters and non-profit groups.
“We do benefit shows for great organizations, and we also have a pool of actors and technicians who are very passionate about theater and put together spectacular shows for the Orlando community,” he said. That including their production of “Complete Works.”
“We’ve performed at other venues over the past year, and developed most of our shows at the Studio Theater,” he said. “ ‘Complete Works of William Shakespeare’ is our second full length show. The first one was ‘The Mouse Trap,’ an Agatha Christie play. We’ve also done a lot of benefit cabarets to support the Trevor Project and other great causes.”
The Trevor Project is a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth.
Yebba said “Complete Works” was chosen because it seems guaranteed to draw in a strong crowd.
“It’s a very lighthearted show, although it has a slight hint of faulty humor,” he said. “It’s something the majority of audiences can see. It’s a highly successful show that many theater groups have done in the past. We have a lot of Orlando Youth Theatre alumnae who are coming out to see the show.”
It’s also, he added, a crowd pleaser.
“Of the many productions of the show I have seen, I have never seen one bad review of it,” he said.
“Complete Works” kicks off tonight at 8 and will also continue on Friday at the same time, then at 8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, and 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 25. Next weekend, there’s an 8 p.m. show on Friday, Sept. 30, and 8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. shows on Saturday, Oct. 1. Tickets are $10, cash at the door. For reservations, call 407-437-7896.
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