The thespians of the Little Theatre Off Broadway will take to the stage with a play that is all about what goes on backstage.
The LTOB kicks off its 2017-18 season Sept. 15 with a production of "Noises Off," a farce "that really shows all the things that can go on backstage and behind the scenes when you're putting on a play," said Ryan Long, a drama professor at Mount Vernon Nazarene University who is directing the play.
The show is a play within a play, as the characters, members of a theatrical troupe, perform a show called "Nothing On" at three different points during its run.
"There's a lot of slapstick, slamming doors and dropping things," Long said. "It has all the elements of classic farce."
Farce is both fun and challenging to stage, Long said.
"Part of the fun and challenge is that it has to be so precise. It's more like choreographing a dance number in a musical rather than a traditional play," she said.
"It's all about making sure people are going in and out of doors at the same time, the timing of certain jokes and things that have to be dropped at a certain time," Long said.
The theater will present six plays during its 2017-18 season with "Noises Off" being the first, running Sept. 15 through Oct. 1. It will be presented at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays, as well as 7:30 p.m. Thursdays during the second and third weeks.
"We have a season-planning committee that probably reads between 200 and 400 plays and musicals before forwarding 40 or 50 recommendations for our board to consider," said Rosemary Cullison, secretary of the group's board of directors. "That committee really does all of the hard work, reading through plays and knowing that we are looking for shows that will fit on our stage and are the type of shows we want to produce."
The theater strives to present "family-friendly entertainment, nothing that is going to be too offensive to people," Cullison said.
Each season, the company presents two comedies, two musicals and two productions "that are a change of pace, whether it is a murder mystery or something that is suspenseful," she said.
"We're looking for a good mix of plays," Cullison said.
This season's slate also includes "Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," Nov. 3-19; "Death Takes a Holiday," Jan. 12-28; "Proof," Feb. 16 through March 4; "Psych," March 23 through April 8; and "Once Upon a Mattress," May 4-20.
"We have some interesting shows this year," Cullison said. " 'Once Upon a Mattress' is a musical that presents the old fairy tale about the princess and the pea to the extreme and 'Death Takes a Holiday' shows what might happen if death decides to take a vacation and nobody gets older and nothing dies."
Individual show tickets cost $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $10 for students and $10 on Thursdays. Tickets for musicals cost $17 for adults, $15 for seniors, $13 for students and $13 on Thursdays. Reservations can be made by calling 614-875-3919.
Long is directing her second show with the LTOB.
"I've known about it since I was a kid and I'd come to visit my grandmother in Grove City," she said.
"I think regional theaters like this one are so important for the future of the theater, even more than Broadway," she said.
"Most people aren't ever going to see a Broadway show. Their first experience seeing a play is likely going to be a regional theater, perhaps when they are a child, and if they see a show that's not done well or in which the actors don't seem to care, it can turn them off theater for a lifetime," she said.
Grove City is fortunate to have a theatrical group that has established excellence over many decades, Long said.
"It's a fantastic asset for a community to have," she said.