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Celebration 

When: Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 22 2016
Price: $15-$25
Before there were actual buildings with the express purpose of putting on plays for entertainment purposes, theater had a ritual component. People would gather to celebrate a religious or holy occasion by donning masks, wearing ceremonial clothes and taking on a well-defined persona in order to act out the story that made spring arrive, or kept the seas calm for the fishing season, or any of a number of vital reasons. Theater was what kept the world spinning in those days. Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones (creators of The Fantasticks and I Do! I Do!) wanted to return theater to its original, magical state. They devised the musical Celebration as a union of ritual theater and street theater. It tells the story of the naive young man Orphan, who meets and charms the old millionaire William Rosebud Rich at a New Year's Eve party. Also there is the beautiful, fame-hungry erotic dancer Angela, and the jaded old crank Potemkin. Together these people will either ring in the new year and recreate the world, or they will fail and the world will grind to a halt. New Line Theatre opens its new season with the premiere performance of Tom Jones' revised version of Celebration. Performances take place at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (September 29 to October 22) at the Marcelle Theater (3310 Samuel Shepard Drive; www.newlinetheatre.com). Tickets are $15 to $25.
— Paul Friswold

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