Can two very different people learn to understand each other with friendship and respect in a short period of time?
That’s question will be answered when Steel Beam Theatre kicks off its 2013-2014 season with the dramatic comedy “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks.” The show opens Sept. 13 and runs through Oct. 6 at the theater, located at 111 W. Main St. in St. Charles. “It’s a very beautifully written comedy involving an elderly woman who signs up for dance lessons,” Director Bernie Weiler said.
Retiree Lily — played by Steel Beam Theatre Artistic Director and founder Donna Steele — hires dance instructor Michael — played by Chicago area stage veteran Will Nifong — to give her dance lessons inside her Florida condo.
“It’s funny. It’s heartwarming. It’s sad,” Weiler said. “It’s a juxtaposition of human relationships.”
Written by Richard Alfieri, the story is told in six sequences — each one being a week dedicated to a specific dance such as tango or Viennese waltz.
“As they lessons proceed, we learn more and more about the background of these individuals, and it’s a peeling off the layers of their personal baggage,” Weiler said.
“There are some very bittersweet moments in it, and some sadness as well. .. all good comedy is lined with pain.”
Aurora resident Weiler has directed numerous shows for Steel Beam including “Death Trap,” “Greater Tuna” and “Leading Ladies.”
Among the challenges to staging this production are the dance sequences and trying to sustain the rate of quick transitions the characters have to make from comedic to more serious moments, Weiler said.
“It’s all about how life doesn’t allow you to wait for transition,” he said.
The challenges, he said, are ones that the “very accomplished actors” manage very well throughout the show.
“Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks” is the first of six mainstage shows in not-for-profit Steel Beam’s season. Other shows in the lineup include the musicals “Nuncrackers” and “The Spitfire Grill,” the Sherlock Holmes-type mystery “Postmortem” and the comedy “Be My Baby.”
The season also includes the world premiere of “The Bay of Portugal” by Richard Culliton. Set to debut in February, the play tells the story of Gwen and Jack. While it was love at first sight for them 30 years ago, they didn’t make it through their first year of marriage. Now, they must try to get through their daughter’s engagement party without killing each other.
“We think it’s a fun and interesting season,” Weiler said.
Season subscriptions and season passes for all six shows are available at a discounted price of $149. Visit SteelBeamTheatre.com to purchase tickets and select seats.