If your January could use some hilarity, you’re in luck. This month’s Birmingham arts schedule features three shows that promise a heaping dose of absurdity – the good kind – from our homegrown theater scene.
Beginning January 8th, Theatre Downtown presents Peter Nachtrieb’s Bob: A Life in Five Acts. The play’s synopsis of acts presents the main character, Bob, as a series of resurrection tales. He’s an orphan who rises from fast food obscurity to have his heart shattered, undertake an epic journey, find a version of success, follow it with redemption, and then “the rest.” The Theatre Downtown promises a character who “follows the journey we all take through life, and the weird and wonderful characters we meet along the way.”
The Producers, that show business classic, opens at the Virginia Samford Theatre on January 22nd. Besides the timeless tale of theater hacks who conjure up “Springtime for Hitler” in a bid to close quickly and avoid investor payouts, this production includes local tap group the Birmingham Sugar Babies. This self-described group of “lovely, mature ladies” formed in 2002 for a single theater run and have been together ever since. They “range in age from 53 to 71 years young.” (Ed. note: The Sugar Babies are not included in our promise of absurdity. They are merely awesome.)
Opening January 29th is Terrific New Theatre’s production of I’ll Eat You Last. Bette Midler premiered the role of Sue Mengers, agent to the stars and keeper of their secrets, on Broadway in 2013. Midler called the show’s writing “irresistible,” and the New York Times noted that it broke even only eight weeks into its run, which is almost unheard of. Kristin Staskowski plays Mengers in the Birmingham production, where Thursday shows – besides opening nights – are “pay what you can afford.”