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'Encore!' tells the history of the Valentine

  • SOC-valentine22p-4

    The Valentine Theatre, which opened in 1895, was saved from demolition in the 1980s and reopened in 1999.

    THE BLADE
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  • It-Came-From-Mars-1-jpg

    David Wahr, left, Katya Dachik, Kathleen McBee, Kathleen McBee, Mark Alan, and Brandie Culbreath star in 'It Came from Mars,' which opens Friday at the Toledo Repertoire Theatre.

    Amanda Aylwin Photography

  • Grounded-PR-pic-2-1-jpg

    Marissa Rex stars in Actors Collaborative's 'Grounded.'

    TODD GRINONNEAU

  • The-Tricky-PR-pic-jpg

    John DuVall stars in Actors Collaborative's 'The Tricky Part.'

    TODD GRINONNEAU

The Valentine Theatre will celebrate its extraordinary history with the premiere of a new WGTE Public Media documentary, Encore! The Valentine Theatre Story, at a reception Tuesday, giving guests the first look at the story of a downtown gem.

The evening will include an hors d’oeuvre reception, Champagne toast, tours of the theater with guides Rey Boezi and Dan Heberling, and screening of the documentary. Diane Larson, co-anchor of 13abc Action News, provides the narrative for Encore and will give the introduction for the documentary on the night of the premiere.

Encore! The Valentine Theatre Story looks at the history of this downtown cultural landmark, including the legend that wealthy Toledo businessman Valentine H. Ketcham won the deed to the property where the theater is built in a card game in Monroe. The story continues with the building of the theater by Ketcham’s son, George Ketcham, and its opening on Christmas night in 1895; a mayoral task force that in 1983 recommended the demolition of the Valentine, and the successful efforts of community leaders to save it, raising $28 million for its renovation.

The elegant Valentine reopened in 1999, resuming its place as a leader in Toledo’s performing arts scene.

Community leaders, historians, and others who appear in interviews for the WGTE documentary are John Robin­son Block, pub­lisher and ed­i­tor-in-chief of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Ga­zette; Ted Ligibel, director of Eastern Michigan University’s award-winning historic preservation program; Donna Christian, librarian in the local history and genealogy department at the Toledo Lucas County Public Library; Barbara Floyd, retired University of Toledo archivist and director of the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections; Carroll Ashley and  Jim White, Jr., past chairmen of the Toledo Cultural Arts Center; Susan Reams, a Toledo Cultural Arts Center board member for a number of years who now serves as an honorary board member; Rey Boezi, the Valentine’s restoration project manager, and Dan Heberling, the Valentine’s events manager.

Tuesday’s celebration begins at 5:30 and includes the reception, tours of the theater, and champagne toast before the screening of the documentary; tickets are $25. Tickets for the screening only, at 7 p.m., are $20. Tickets are from valentinetheatre.com, 419-242-2787, and at the box office, open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

WGTE will air the Encore! documentary at 8 p.m. Oct. 26.

‘Mars’ calling

It Came From Mars, a comedy by Michigan playwright Joe Zettelmaier, opens at the Toledo Repertoire Theatre on Friday. The story, set in New York in the 1930s, centers on actors in a radio show, "Farlowe's Mystery Theatre Hour," whose rehearsal is interrupted by an announcement that Martians have arrived in the city.  The terrified actors barricade themselves in the studio, and before long the characters, which include a down-on-his-luck director and his ex, a scatterbrained actress, a sound effects expert, and a wannabe war hero, fall into slapstick-style chaos.

“It’s just good old-fashioned fun,” said director Aggie Alt. “It has a story that anybody can relate to, with [the kind of] characters we’ve all worked with,” she said with a laugh.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Rep’s 10th Street Stage. Additional shows are at 8 p.m. Oct. 20-21 and 2:30 p.m. Oct. 22, and at 8 p.m. Oct. 26, 27 and 28 and 2:30 p.m. Oct. 29. Tickets are $20 and $10 and available from toledorep.org and 419-243-9277.

Spotlight

Actors Collaborative Toledo presents two one-actor shows in a new Spotlight Series beginning Friday.

The Tricky Part, a drama by Martin Moran that is based on a part of his life, stars John DuVall, and will be presented at 8 p.m. Friday and Oct. 21 at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 1201 Madison Ave.

When he was 12, Moran was sexually abused by an older man who was a counselor at a Catholic boys’ camp, the beginning of  a sexual relationship that continued until Moran was 15. Many years later, he went to California, where his abuser was in a nursing home, to confront the man in search of closure, said Jeffrey Albright, the director. “The story is about a man seeking and finding grace, and discovering that forgiveness is the key to finding it — forgiving someone who has done something terrible does not excuse their acts, but it allows you to move on.”

The play, which won an Obie Award, contains adult themes but no graphic descriptions.

The Spotlight Series continues at 8 p.m Oct. 14 and Oct. 20 at St. Paul’s Church with Grounded, starring Marissa Rex in playwright George Brant’s story of a woman who is a top-gun fighter pilot, until she is grounded because of an unexpected pregnancy, and assigned to operating military drones in a hunt for terrorists from a trailer near Las Vegas.

“She defines herself in the very beginning in her uniform; her uniform is her, and she is her uniform,” director Barbara Barkan said. “She is the blue in the sky that she flies in, and she is one with the blue. She can’t let go of the blue.”  

Tickets for all performances are $10 from act419.org or at the door an hour before curtain.

Contact Sue Brickey at sbrickey@theblade.com.

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