Shadowbox to debut new home with 'Legacy'
No doubt, the folks at Shadowbox Live could have, for their debut performance in their new home in the Brewery District, included a scene from "Back to the Future" or had house band Billwho? work up a certain Petula Clark ditty.
But rather than tell stories alluding to its history, Shadowbox Live is bringing its history forward for "Legacy," the first show at its new home, opening Aug. 19.
Shadowbox Live is moving back downtown, to a new home in the Worly building, 503 S. Front St., after a 12-year run at Easton Town Center, where the company moved after its first permanent home, on Spring Street, burned.
While appreciative of the time spent at Easton, CEO and executive producer Stev Guyer is ready to be back in the center city.
"It's different from Spring Street, but it is our hope to recapture all the important qualities," Guyer told ThisWeek. "At the same time, the neighborhood at the new location is very different. We've got people who live across the street and within two blocks."
Added donations manager and original Shadowbox-er Stacie Boord: "We're going to back to being a warehouse in a grand way. And we're genuinely excited at the feeling of community or being downtown, especially in the Brewery District."
"Legacy" features songs and sketches from throughout the company's history. The debut show will feature nine songs and 10 sketches from a collection of more than 650 sketches and 1,000 songs.
"It was an incredibly painful experience," Guyer said of the paring-down process. "When it came down to it we were ruthless in leaving stuff off.
"We wanted the show to express our history, so while these may not be our best songs and sketches, they are representative of our history."
Head writer Jimmy Mak agreed that though some of the choices were obvious, the process was very difficult.
"There were some no-brainers," Mak said. "But we knew we were in trouble when we were proud of how far we'd gotten and we still had 30 songs and sketches on the list."
Boord will reunite with longtime partner Julie Klein to play "Vera and Laverne," one of the troupe's most popular recurring sketches. The characters have reappeared in the 13 years since they were first introduced, but Boord has been working at Shadowbox's Newport, Ky., location for the past several years. "Legacy" will pair her with Klein for the first time in more than a decade.
Guyer said the new location has an additional 100 seats, but it maintains an intimate feel. He also said programming will expand, with something offered almost every night.
Mondays will feature a movie night, with commentary by hosts Mak and John DeSando.
Wednesdays will be less frenetic with what Guyer called a "Stage 2" performance harking back to the company's 2Co's location in the Short North. The first show will be titled "Killer Blues" and opens Sept. 21.
Shadowbox also has added a Thursday Lunch Box. It has offered the abbreviated midday program on Fridays for a number of years.
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, Shadowbox Live will present its traditional sketch comedy and rock n' roll shows, "opening with "Legacy" and then with all-new sketches for its Christmas show.
The company will continue offering musical theater productions on Sundays, opening with "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" on Sept. 11.
"Doing musicals is why I got into the business," Guyer said. "There's not really anybody out there doing them on a regular basis, especially rock musicals."
Overall, Guyer said, the new location offers the feel of a party.
"People traditionally come to Shadowbox in groups," he said. "We have the bistro (with a full bar) and can offer a Shadowbox experience for the full evening. There are a lot of things we can do."