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  • Photos by Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Portraying Marines in Three Rivers Music Theatre's production of “Dogfight” at Wunderkammer Co. are, from left, Richard Hargis, Jacob Kellen, Chandler Chastain, Jayden Cano, Riley Newsome and Daniel Moser.

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette The Marines in Three Rivers Music Theatre's production of Dogfight scheduled to open this weekend at the Wunderkammer Company played by from the left: Richard Hargis as Gibbs, Jacob Kellen as Bernstein, Chandler Chastain as Eddie Birdlace, Jayden Cano as Boland, Riley Newsome as Fector and Daniel Moser as Stephens  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Kathleen Fox playing the roll of Rose and Chandler Chastain playing the role of Eddie Birdlace in Three Rivers Music Theatre's production of Dogfight scheduled to open this weekend at the Wunderkammer Company.  

  • This expanded stage was created for Three Rivers Music Theatre’s production of “Dogfight” that opens tonight.

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Kathleen Fox playing the roll of Rose and Chandler Chastain playing the role of Eddie Birdlace in Three Rivers Music Theatre's production of Dogfight scheduled to open this weekend at the Wunderkammer Company.  

Friday, July 06, 2018 1:00 am

Three Rivers Music Theatre building with residency

If you go

What: “Dogfight”

When: 8 p.m. today, Saturday and July 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28

Where: Wunderkammer Co., 3402 Fairfield Ave.

Admission: $25 general admission, $15 students; threeriversmusictheatre.com/tickets

Three Rivers Music Theatre is looking to make the most of its new residency at Wunderkammer Co. For the first show of its third season, the group has built a large set that takes advantage of the unconventional space.

TRMT first performed at Wunderkammer last season for “Spring Awakening,” which was the first live production in the art space. The location stood out when the theater company was looking at spaces for its 2018-19 season, which starts with “Dogfight,” premiering tonight.

“The great thing about Wunderkammer is that it's an adaptable space, so we don't have to set it up the exact same way every time,” says Billy Dawson, co-founder of Three Rivers Music Theatre.

The space, which includes a small stage, creates some unique setup challenges and opens up new experiences for the audience, production staff and cast.

For “Dogfight,” set designer Kalee McCullar has created a second story for the stage with a bridge that wraps around the audience. The gallery in the back of Wunderkammer will serve as the entrance and lobby for the show.

Seating may vary by production, with about 80 spots available for each show during the run of “Dogfight.” Dawson says they learned from their previous production at Wunderkammer and platforms have been added to give audience members in the back a better view.

“Dogfight” is one of three productions slated for Wunderkammer this season. “Fun Home” and “Once on this Island” will also be staged there. A fourth production, “Title of Show,” will take place in the company's studio space on Pearl Street.

All four shows are local premieres, which Dawson calls a “crazy, wonderful coincidence.”

He says they are shows that theater audiences know and help serve a part of the community that can feel neglected.

“I've always said nobody loves Disney or Rogers and Hammerstein more than I do. I would do it for the rest of my life if I could,” Dawson says, before adding that there is a new generation of theater lovers that are interested in shows that have never been done locally.

“Dogfight” takes place in 1963 as three young Marines set off for a night of partying on the eve of their deployment to Southeast Asia. One of the men, Eddie (Chandler Chastain), meets idealistic waitress Rose (Kathleen Fox) who teaches him the power of love.

Andy Planck directs the show, which features music and lyrics by Pasek & Paul and a book by Peter Duchan.

Dawson says TRMT was drawn to the show's folksy and contemporary music, which is “not traditional music theater,” and the characters' relationships.

“The show itself has such a beautiful heart to it,” Dawson says, adding that the story “stays with you, it changes you, it educates you.”

– Corey McMaken, The Journal Gazette