Heidelberg theater celebrates 50 years
October 8, 2008
HEIDELBERG, Germany (Oct. 8, 2008) -- Celebrating 50 years is a big accomplishment for any relationship. This year, the Heidelberg military community is doing just that with its community theater -- the Roadside Theater.
Opening its doors in the 1957-58 season, the theater originally was located on Stem Kaserne, along autobahn 656 -- hence the name "Roadside Theater." In 1993, it moved to the building it still calls home today on Patton Barracks.
The Roadside Theater recently was awarded the 2008 IMCOM-Europe Best Entertainment Program (Large Installation) and in 2006 was named the Best Entertainment Program Worldwide by Army Recreation.
"We've got a really ambitious season planned because it is the 50th," said Dane Winters, Heidelberg Entertainment director and director of the Roadside Theater.
"I think we're doing more shows than we've ever done, because right now we are operating two theaters - we run the Roadside Theater here, and in Mannheim, Coleman Barracks, we have the Off Main Street Theater."
The two programs now serve the community with three performance stages and offer entertainment of all types -- comedies, dramas, musicals, special events, dinner theater and cabaret theater.
This season begins with a Broadway in Concert version of "Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street." Opening night is scheduled for Oct. 24 in Heidelberg.
Also, the 2008 IMCOM Europe Festival of One Act Plays, celebrating the best of Army Entertainment programs with one-act plays from Germany, Turkey, England, Italy and Belgium, takes place Oct. 9 through Oct. 11 at Roadside.
"When you come to a live theater, it's so much different than going to the movies," said Andrea Huber, guest director for "Sweeney Todd." "There's nothing like being in the room with it - with the heat of the theater, with the smell of the theater, with the immediacy of the theater. (The actors' eye contact) goes straight into your soul."
Huber said the Roadside Theater also provides a great chance for the German-American relationship to grow.
"It's an incredible resource for the whole community," she said. "We had a few German people come in (to audition), so it's an incredible German-American exchange. Theater and music is a universal language. There are no boundaries. It brings everyone together. It's an absolute old story, and it sounds very tired and very clichAfA, but theater is magic. That's why we all do it."
For more information, visit www.roadsidetheater.com.
(Kristen Marquez works for the U.S. Army Garrison Baden-Wuerttemberg Public Affairs Office.)