Sights Set High

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When Tammie McKenzie was offered the position of artistic director at Dutchman Hospitality Group’s Ohio Star Theater in Sugarcreek, she describes the opportunity as a miracle. OST was born out of a desire to provide locals and visitors with live entertainment in the evenings. In the beginning, the shows had been produced offsite and were brought to Sugar- creek, taking place in a conference room at the Carlisle Inn. After the shows grew in popularity, a dedicated theater was built in 2017, and the first shows, still offsite productions, ran inside the new theater in 2018.

“Today, OST is going through an exciting transition by producing our own theater productions instead of bringing in shows that have been produced offsite,” McKenzie said. “It’s a big shift for us, moving from a roadhouse model to producing our own theater, and one that I’m thrilled to be a part of.”

OST is proud of its partnership with Sight & Sound Theatre in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which McKenzie said OST is modeled after.

“Throughout my career as a theater professor at Malone University, at Weathervane Playhouse in Akron and with Christians in Theatre Arts, I’ve always had a relationship with Sight & Sound Theatre. There’s no other theater like it. I’ve been drawn to what they have managed to do, centering every production around three basic tenets. The goal is to offer the same kind of productions here at OST.”

OST will soon begin production on its first show, “Ruth” scheduled to open May 15, 2024, incorporating those tenets of high production value, creating an immersive and meaningful experience, and providing compelling storytelling for audiences.

“These are our goals,” McKenzie said. “We have a much smaller theater here at OST than Sight & Sound, but if we can replicate these three things here for our audiences, I think people will be amazed by what we create.”

McKenzie understands the OST has its limits in terms of size, special effects capabilities and other areas of production, but the team is prepared to work within those limits while still offering the highest quality entertainment. OST also plans

to engage the community by hiring local actors for roles, artisans and seamstresses for costumes, carpenters for set building, electricians, and to reach out to other talented members of this community.

“The people of this area have so much to offer,” McKenzie said. “We want this to be a community effort. Our goal is for the culture of the OST to be one that represents the culture of this community and celebrates Christian values.”

McKenzie said “Ruth” was chosen as the first production at OST because it is

a compelling and tender love story about faith, caring for others and trust in the Lord.

“We want to provide entertainment that connects with the audience, moves people emotionally, and addresses subjects that relate to their own lives and faith journeys,” McKenzie said. “On a personal level, it’s a full-circle moment for me. I started my career in faith-based theater at Grove City College, and I couldn’t be happier to be back in this genre. It’s a dream for me, and I want to involve this community as much as possible.”

McKenzie describes the production process of the expansive show as a “huge undertaking,” but one they are excited to carry out. “We want to serve and entertain tourists but never lose sight of the fact that we are serving the people of this commu- nity by offering wholesome, high-quality entertainment on a deeper level,” McKenzie said while also noting they still offer other concerts and events throughout the year. “We invite the community to join us, and we couldn’t be more excited to get started.”

Ohio Star Theater is located at 1387 Old Route 39 NE in Sugarcreek. For more information, applications, and box office and ticket information, call 855-344-7547 or check the website