Tantrum Theater returns for its second season in the Abbey Theater with a larger company and an acting crew boasting several Broadway veterans.
The theater's 2017 season begins with Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" May 30 through June 17, followed by the Tony Award-nominated musical, "Caroline, or Change," July 5-22 and ending with the Irish-themed "Into the West" Aug. 1-19.
Rachel Cornish, producing director with Tantrum Theater, said the productions are funded with a budget of about $1.3 million from donations, grants, corporate sponsorships and ticket sales as well as funding from the Ohio University. The productions are performed in the Abbey Theater inside the Dublin Community Recreation Center, 5600 Post Road.
Last year's inaugural season was a strong one for the theater, Cornish said.
"It empowered us to grow for this season," she said, from about 100 company members to 130.
Tantrum's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" brings together a mix of communities on stage, said Artistic Director Daniel Dennis. It includes actors from New York City, Seattle and Chicago; Ohio University students and graduates; and 11 children from Dublin, Columbus and Athens.
Among the actors is Basil Harris, whom audience members may recall as the dentist in last year's "Little Shop of Horrors." Harris this time portrays Nick Bottom.
Tantrum's "Midsummer" also includes a slight change to the script.
Dennis said he changed the character of Helena from a woman to a man. In Tantrum's production, while Helenus still pursues Demetrius, the latter character must come to terms with his sexuality.
"We can all relate to the four teenagers in love and trying to figure out how to be themselves in a world that wants to decide their futures for them," Dennis said.
Tantrum moves from Shakespeare to the civil-rights movement for its second production, "Caroline, or Change," which is set in 1963 Louisiana and follows Caroline, a black maid who works for a Jewish household.
"The civil-rights movement feels like something that happened a long time ago, but clearly race and the legacy of racism is the defining feature of our country," Dennis said.
The musical's cast includes those with Broadway talents, Dennis said. The show's leads will be played by real-life married couple Ken and Christina Robinson. Ken Robinson's work includes Broadway roles in "The Color Purple," "Memphis" and "Baby It's You!"
"What the two of them were able to do in that little rehearsal room in New York in just three minutes was astounding -- truly moving, fully formed performances," Dennis said. "I am so looking forward to seeing them work."
Tantrum's third and final show in its 2017 season will again serve as an addition to the cultural celebration of Dublin's annual Irish Festival.
"Into the West" features three actors playing 60 roles to tell the story of Ally and Finn, who embark on a magical journey from Dublin, Ireland, to the countryside.
Dennis said he wanted to do the show himself ever since seeing it at the Seattle Children's Theatre in 2002.
"I laughed out loud and bawled my eyes out," he said.
All shows will be performed in the Abbey Theater at the Dublin Community Recreation Center, 5600 Post Road. Tickets for all three shows begin at $28, and discounted pricing is available for senior citizens, students and groups. Pay-what-you-will ticketing also will be in place for the first couple performances of each of the three shows, starting at $1 per ticket. More information can be found at tantrumtheater.org