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Wagon Wheel summer season ready to roll

Warsaw's immersive theater kicks off 2022 season with Cinderella


Emma Bachtel

Whatzup Features Writer

Published May 25, 2022

If you are looking for Broadway-quality performances but don’t want to go all the way to New York City, look no further than the Wagon Wheel Theatre in Warsaw, Indiana. 

The Wagon Wheel Theatre, according to their website, started as “a tent with a gravel floor” in 1955 but now boasts one of the most beautiful theaters in Indiana. The unique circular design of the stage, referred to as “theater-in-the-round,” allows audiences an immersive theatrical experience. For more than 60 years, the Wagon Wheel Theatre has continued to present a variety of shows in this intimate setting.

This summer, there will be a superb lineup of shows presented by the Wagon Wheel Professional Theatre in their 2022 Summer Season. The Wagon Wheel Professionals are comprised of accomplished performers from across the country.

Actors from all over the U.S.

“This year, I did a very broad and large audition tour where I saw nearly 2,500 performers from all over the country,” said Artistic Director Scott Michaels. “They are coming from everywhere. We have people coming from California, New York, Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan, Indiana, Florida — it feels like we have almost every state being represented.”

The Wagon Wheel also has a staff and crew of more than 60 people that they bring in from all over the region for the Summer Season. 

The 2022 Summer Season hosts a diverse lineup of shows to appeal to all ages, including Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Legally Blonde, Lerner & Loewe’s Brigadoon, The Addams Family, William Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, and Smokey Joe’s Café

“We’re kicking it off with Cinderella, which is our family-friendly show,” Michaels said. “This is geared towards our younger audiences but will be fun for the entire family.”

Michaels explained that the subsequent shows are each meant to appeal to a different age range. 

Legally Blonde is geared more towards our 30s audience, the group that has seen the movie and can gravitate toward that.”

Those familiar with the movie will witness the well-known story of Elle Woods, fashionista turned Harvard Law student, come to life on stage. Broadway World said, “Legally Blonde is a straightforward feel-good story packed to the brim with catchy numbers and demanding choreography.” 

Michaels said that the next show in the lineup, Brigadoon, is a classic that can be enjoyed by all audiences.

Brigadoon will appeal to everyone, but especially to the older crowd who love the classics and the big, beautiful old musicals.”

According to Masterworks Broadway, this musical tells the story of two Americans who come across the town of Brigadoon, which appears for only one day every one hundred years. The musical depicts mystery, love, and determination with beautiful musical accompaniment that can be enjoyed by all. 

The Wagon Wheel Summer Season will also be shaking it up with some Shakespeare in the lineup.

Comedy of Errors is our Shakespeare play which, of course, is everyone’s favorite thing to attend as far as watching classic theater at its best and funniest,” Michaels said. 

The Wagon Wheel’s website describes this play as “(Shakespeare’s) shortest and one of his most farcical comedies, with a major part of the humor coming from slapstick and mistaken identity, in addition to puns and word play.”

The Addams Family will tell the unusual and entertaining love story of Wednesday Addams, while Smokey Joe’s Café will round out the Summer Season. 

Smokey Joe’s Café will feature music from the ’50s and ’60s,” Michaels said. “A lot of songs like ‘Love Potion No. 9,’ ‘On Broadway,’ ‘Woman,’ and ‘Jailhouse Rock.’ It will be fun for everyone and a great way to end our season with an up-tempo review for everyone.”

Enjoy the sound of in the round

Even if you have seen these shows in a traditional performance setting before, seeing them in-the-round will be a whole new experience. 

“The great thing about the round is that it is very immersive theater,” Michaels said. “You’re never more than eleven rows from center stage.

“Seeing a show in-the-round is a truly unique experience. It is very different from seeing a show in a traditional touring house. In the round, you’re never that far away.” 

Of experiencing theater-in-the-round at the Wagon Wheel, Leisure Travel Group said, “This can be an adventure for adults and children alike if you are a first timer, but the intimacy can’t be beat!”

Michaels echoes this sentiment, saying there is no bad seat in the house since every person in the audience is so near the stage. 

“Kids really have a great time with these shows because they could reach out and touch the cast members if they wanted to,” Michaels said. “It’s just a lot of fun for the family to see a show done in a different way. Even if they’ve seen the show before, you’re going to have a truly unique experience seeing it in the round.”

After the past few years of enduring the challenges that arose during the pandemic, Michaels is thrilled to be able to present a Summer Season at full capacity again. 

“We encourage everyone to come out here and share this summer with us. We know that COVID has been tough on everyone, and we’re looking forward to having full audiences again this year and doing these amazing shows for live audiences, which we have all missed over the last few years.”

In an effort to spread some joy in the midst of what has been a difficult time for many, this Summer Season was specifically curated to be an uplifting escape. 

“We are hoping people will come out and join us and have a great time,” Michaels said. “All these shows are fun and comedies, there’s nothing really heavy this season on purpose. We wanted everyone to laugh and have a great time. 

“If you are looking for something just to escape and have a great time, we are going to be your destination this summer.”

Be sure to head over to the Wagon Wheel’s website to purchase tickets for the 2022 Summer Season, which runs from June 2 to Aug. 20. 

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