Springer Opera House announces its 2008-09 season

Springer Opera House announced its 2008-09 lineup Thursday, which includes popular titles such as "Father of the Bride," "Hamlet," "Menopause: The Musical" and "Peter Pan."

Before the announcement, patrons got to see a new star, bearing the name of the late Truman Capote, that was placed in the sidewalk in front of the theater. Capote had a memorable reading at Springer in 1979. The star is in honor of Capote's cousin, Janice Biggers, and a small group of Columbus residents who helped saved the Springer.

"Pigeon Alley," which connects the Mainstage with the Players Saloon, was renamed the Hall of Legends, also in honor of Biggers.

More than 30 actors, directors and stage technicians were also honored at the ceremony for the work that bridged the Columbus Little Theater of the late 1950s and the reopening of the Springer Opera House in 1965. "These are the people who can really tell the Springer story," said Paul Pierce, Springer's artistic director. After celebrating the past, Pierce transitioned to theater's future, announcing the each series' lineup.

On the Mainstage will be "Stand By Your Man: The Tammy Wynette Story," "Father of the Bride," "Hamlet," "Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "Red, White and Tuna." The Studio II series will be "Menopause: The Musical" and "Charm School."

The holiday shows will be "Peter Pan" and "A Tuna Christmas."

Pierce said he worked particularly hard to get "Menopause: The Musical."

"There have been so many theaters that wanted to do this one," he said. But the producers of the show have had the rights to it and were reluctant to allow theaters to present the play until now.

Because it will be in Foley Hall, there will be flexibility in having additional shows after the initial run, Pierce said.

He's also pleased to be doing "Red, White and Tuna."

"We will be the first American theater to produce 'Red, White and Tuna,' " he said.

Jaston Williams and Joe Sears, the masterminds behind "Greater Tuna" and "A Tuna Christmas," wrote, produce and star in all of their shows, including "Red, White and Tuna." Ed Howard, who co-wrote the plays with Williams and Sears, is a frequent visitor to the Springer, having directed "A Tuna Christmas" the past five seasons. Howard also wrote and directed "A Tempest Tossed," which premiered at the Springer in 2001.

It was Howard who convinced Williams and Sears to allow the Springer to present "Red, White and Tuna," which celebrates the Fourth of July -- Tuna, Texas, style.

Pierce and Ron Anderson, Springer's associate artistic director and Springer Theater Academy director, will perform in "Red, White and Tuna."