The City Centre Stage sign in downtown Red Deer will light up on Sept. 7 as the former movie theatre officially opens as a live performance venue.
Red Deer residents will also be treated to previews of the newly expanded Central Alberta Theatre season during the grand opening celebration that begins with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. in front of the theatre at 4922 49th St.
Following short speeches by Central Alberta Theatre and City of Red Deer representatives, members of the public who booked ahead for free tickets to the official opening will temporarily move to the Scott Block for entertainment by Bull Skit cast members.
The doors to City Centre Stage will open at 7 p.m. for public tours of the renovated facility by ticket-holders. CAT members will also perform some previews of plays in the 2011-2012 season. (Anyone wanting to pre-book some of the limited tickets should call 403-347-8111, Ext. 5.)
CAT president William Trefry, who is very excited about the new venue, said Central Alberta Theatre will stage two additional one-act plays this year, along with the standard five theatrical productions that are offered to subscribers.
l Sexy Laundry, a one-act play by Michele Rimi, will launch the season at City Centre Stage. The comedy about a long-married couple who are determined to put some sizzle back into their relationship will open on Oct. 7 and run to Oct. 16.
l The Christmas Tree, by Norm Foster, is the other extra one-act. The bittersweet comedy about a man and woman who meet in a Christmas tree lot the night before Christmas, has a short run, Dec. 2, 3, 9 and 10 in the Nickle Studio upstairs at the Memorial Centre.
Since neither of these short plays will have a buffet option, the dinner theatre season at City Centre Stage will actually start on Nov. 4 with Maggie’s Getting Married.
Foster’s ever-popular comedy takes place during a family get-together on the eve of the marriage of youngest daughter, Maggie. When the bride’s sister finally meets the groom, they both uncomfortably realize that they know each other better than they should.
The other plays that offer a dinner option are:
l Fishing For Frank, a comedy by Daniel R. Lillford, about “gossip, hearsay, innuendo, half-truths, and plain old-fashioned lies,” opens on Jan. 6.
l Booster McCrane P.M., by David S. Craig, opens on Feb. 10. It’s the story of an inexperienced small-town lawyer who’s elected prime minster of Canada and reluctantly decides the only way to free the country of foreign domination is by declaring war.
l The Psychic, by Sam Brobrick, is about a down-on-his-luck writer who advertises himself as a psychic as a way of desperately earning some cash. He eventually becomes embroiled in a murder mystery in this comedy that opens on March 16.
While audience members for these plays can choose the no-dinner option, the last play of the season, Asylum, which opens on April 27, will only be available without the buffet.
This ‘‘romp” by Keith Aisner is a mature-themed, surrealistic play about a drug addict’s fantasies, including his conversations with God and Satan, his mentally ill mother, and other unexpected guests who crash his alternate reality as his waking and dreaming worlds collide.
Tickets to the dinner theatre productions are $49.95 for adults, or $25 for the no-dinner option. Season subscribers can save 15 per cent.
Tickets to Sexy Laundry are $18 for adults, while entry to The Christmas Tree costs $12 for all tickets.
For more information, call Ticket Central at 403-347-0800.