The show must go on. But not too long.
After all, this weekend’s “A Tribute to the Tony Awards,” which kicks off Super Summer Theatre’s 39th season at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, only has 90 minutes to cover more than 60 years of Broadway history.
Starting with Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me Kate,” which won the very first Tony for best musical back in 1949, the musical revue charts a course through decades of memories on Broadway — and at Super Summer Theatre.
That’s because this musical salute takes “some creative liberties with some of the songs people know,” explains director Kelly Burrows.
“The Sound of Music’s” lilting “My Favorite Things,” for example, includes references to Spring Mountain Ranch and various composers, while “It’s a Hard-Knock Life” (from “Annie”) now focuses on the hard knocks of an actor’s life, Burrows notes.
And the oh-so-appropriate opening number, “Hello,” from “The Book of Mormon,” now includes “shout-outs to the ranch” in some revamped lyrics, she adds, partly because “we’re not Mormon missionaries.”
But Burrows and her on- and off-stage colleagues definitely do have a mission: sharing a bit of showbiz history along with the performances.
Storybook Theater marks its Super Summer debut with this weekend’s Tony tribute.
The production company teams Burrows, who teaches theater at Henderson’s Coronado High School, with two former Coronado colleagues, vocal director Nancy West (now a counselor at Canyon Springs High in North Las Vegas) and business manager Kevin Cotton (who teaches English and theater at Las Vegas’ West Career and Technical Academy).
Their academic perspective means “we approach it more from an educational side,” Burrows explains. As a result, after seeing “A Tribute to the Tony Awards,” audiences should also “learn a little something about musical history” in addition to hearing some knockout numbers.
The song “Children Will Listen” (from “Into the Woods”), for example, definitely ranks as “a meaningful song from an educator’s standpoint,” she notes.
The show’s eight-member ensemble — Coree Davis, Kayla Hamblen, Stephanie Killian, Michael Kimm, Ken Minster, Kathy Ortiz (who also choreographs the show), Caitlin Shea and Derick Swinson — “rarely leaves the stage,” according to the director.
During the production, they’ll perform “a good mix” of “solos, ballads, big group dance numbers,” Burrows says, with stops everywhere from “South Pacific” to “Memphis,” from “Fiddler on the Roof” to “Les Miserables,” from “The Music Man” to “A Chorus Line” and “Rent.”
There’s also a number from “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” Super Summer Theatre’s July 9-26 attraction, which is preceded by another frantic farce — the Monty Python romp “Spamalot” — June 11-28. “Shrek the Musical” (Aug. 6-23) and the nonmusical comedy “Arsenic and Old Lace” (Sept. 4-20) round out the season.
For all the memories this weekend’s Tony salute conjures, however, there are even more missing, Burrows admits.
“What do you choose, your left hand or your right hand?” she says of the winners (“My Fair Lady” and “Chicago” among them) that didn’t make the cut. “We originally made a list of all the shows that won best musical, best revival, best book or best score — and we realized the show would be a week long.”