Community Players always seems to be first out of the gate when it comes to announcing their new seasons. If you want to keep track, theaters around here generally go in this order: Community Players (late January), Illinois State University (mid-February), Heartland Theatre (late March), and Illinois Wesleyan University (April). Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts announces its schedule in late May or early June, Univesity of Illinois Theatre starts getting out the word in late July, and the Station Theatre in Urbana generally announces late in the summer.
This year, for the first time I can recall, Community Players has decided to offer a Season Announcement Party to share their 2015-16 news.
This event will take place on Saturday, January 31 at 7 pm at the Players' theater on Robinhood Lane. It is free and open to the public, with refreshments and a chance to meet and chat with Players' staff, crew and actors.
Although Community Players' season choices are a mystery at this point, we can still guess. In fact, that's half the fun. Because Players frequently produces newish musicals and classic plays, and because they offered a survey of possible choices this year, you might think it's easy to guess. Au contraire! I don't remember what was on the survey, so that won't help at all, plus "newish musicals and classic plays" is a bigger crop than you might think. Of course, that won't stop me from guessing...
If past schedules are any indication, they will open with a play in September, follow with a musical in November, add a play in January, a musical in March and a play in May, and finish with a musical in July.
So what do we think? Time for another go-round with Annie? Maybe Pippin? Newsies? A Christmas Story: The Musical seems like a natural. Cinderella, too. On the other hand, Once and Kinky Boots don't sound like Community Players fare at all.
On the straight play side, it's been awhile since Players did Driving Miss Daisy or Barefoot in the Park or Deathtrap, all community theater favorites. Oddly, classics like Enter Laughing and Twelve Angry Men have never made the cut at Players, at least according to their history page. Peter and the Starcatcher, a newer play, sounds like a good match, as does One Man, Two Guvnors. Act One?
I expect to strike out completely on these guesses, mind you. There's just that much material out there. But feel free to make your own prognostications and then join the fun at Community Players on Saturday, January 31 at 7 pm to see what they actually chose.