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DISASTER MOVIES AND “DISASTER! THE MUSICAL” 

A musical about a disaster called “Disaster!”? Yes! Lamb Regional Arts is taking on the formidable challenge of putting this hilarious show on stage, and Bill McKenny is offering you the chance to take a fun journey through all the tragedy-filled films this show spoofs. 

You may not have heard of the musical “Disaster,” but you won’t be disappointed by this fun show. The authors have taken not one, but a trove of disasters and combined them together in one unforgettable night. To top it all off, it’s all set to wonderful hits from the seventies like “Hot Stuff,” “I Am Woman,” “Knock Three Times,” and of course, “I Will Survive,” plus many more. 

This class will explore the movies that created the basis for all this fun. We probably remember “Towering Inferno,” “The Poseidon Adventure,” “Airport ’77,” and “Armageddon,” not to mention “Swarm,” the “Sharknado” franchise, and “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.” But Hollywood’s attempt to create disasters goes back almost to the beginning with hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tidal waves terrifying and thrilling audiences. A little disaster like the closing of the Red Sea, the burning of Atlanta, or the sinking of the largest luxury liner in the world can spice up any script. 

If you listen to SiriusXM satellite radio’s “On Broadway” channel, you may have heard Seth Rudetsky who is the co-author of “Disaster!” along with Jack Plotnick. Mr. Rudetsky has used his encyclopedic knowledge of Broadway, plus his affection for disaster movies and ‘70s hits, to craft a fun night in the theatre. They’ve populated their show with all the usual characters you’d expect. The professor no one listens to, the devoted married couple, the corrupt guy who’s probably to blame for some of the trouble, the nun with a gambling addiction (maybe not that last one). We’ll also talk about why audiences are so drawn to these films, but we won’t stray too far from the sheer fun of looking at these entertaining, if preposterous, movies. 

“Disaster!” is scheduled to take the Lamb stage June 5 through June 20, and you won’t want to miss it. 

THURSDAY, JUNE 4; 10:30 A.M. TO NOON 
Location: Advanced Sciences Bldg., Room L304, Entrance 4, Parking Lot 1 or 2 
Fee: No charge / Max: 40
Lifelong Learning membership not required 
Course #20/FY-CPDV-2798-02 

 

THE LITTLE MERMAID 

Let’s dive into the world of “The Little Mermaid” and Hans Christian Andersen. The Sioux City Community Theatre is preparing a production of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” and it’s a perfect time to think about this classic story and the unique writer who brought her to life. 

The show is an adaptation of the iconic animated film which was co-directed by Sioux City native Ron Clements and played an important role in the resurgence of animated films. We’ll talk about that, but first we’ll go back to the unusual man that started this. 

Unlike many fairy tales that evolve from tradition until someone writes them down, “The Little Mermaid” was mainly the product of the imagination of Hans Christian Andersen. We’ll discuss the unusual progress that led him from lonely, abused child to world renowned author and discover some surprises along the way. He may be one of the most beloved authors in the world today, but his life was far from a fairy tale. 

The basic premise of “The Little Mermaid” seems to have appeal for people all over the world, but the original story is not without darker elements. It will be interesting to consider how various adapters have dealt with these aspects of the story as it has moved from ballet to opera to animated film to musical play. All these different incarnations have processed the story in ways that would probably startle, confound, and possibly please Andersen. It was no easy feat to animate the story on film and then turn the movie into a musical on the stage. 

You can count on Bill McKenny, your guide through this discussion, to uncover some surprising twists and turns in the story of this man and the appealing tale that sprang from his imagination. You’ll definitely want to bring the new perspective you gain from this presentation to the show SCCT presents on the stage July 10 through July 26. 

THURSDAY, JULY 9; 10:30 A.M. TO NOON 
Location: Advanced Sciences Bldg., Room L304, Entrance 4, Parking Lot 1 or 2 
Fee: No charge / Max: 40
Lifelong Learning membership not required 
Course #21/FY-CPDV-2798-01 

 

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