Monday, January 29, 2018

Community Players 2018-19 Season


Community Players Theatre has announced plans for its 2018-19 schedule, opening the season with Peter and the Starcatcher in September of 2018 and finishing it with The Addams Family musical in July of 2019. Their season is the usual mix of plays and musicals, with one Tony-Winning Best Musical (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), one musical based on characters from cartoons (Addams Family), one play based on characters from another beloved play (Starcatcher), one play based on a beloved American novel (Little Women), one musical based on a movie from the 90s (The Wedding Singer) and one play that spawned a movie in the 90s (A Few Good Men).

Peter and the Starcatcher, Rick Elice's freewheeling, let's-put-on-a-show take on Peter Pan, spun off from a novel with a very similar name (Peter and the Starcatchers) written by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. Although it features music by Wayne Barker that was nominated for a Tony, it isn't really a musical and it was also nominated as Best Play in 2012. It won a Tony for Best Featured Actor Christian Borle, who played the villainous Black Stache. As described on the Community Players site, "From marauding pirates and jungle tyrants to unwilling comrades and unlikely heroes, Peter and the Starcatcher playfully explores the depths of greed and despair… and the bonds of friendship, duty and love." Auditions for Peter and the Starcatcher will take place July 9 and 10, with performances from September 6 to 16, 2018.

Next up is A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, the Broadway musical that played for 964 performances and won six Tonys in 1964, with another 156 performances and two Tonys in 1972 and 715 performances and one more Tony in 1996. In the original Broadway production, star Zero Mostel, featured actor David Burns, director George Abbott, producer Hal Prince, writers Burt Shrevelove and Larry Gelbart and the show itself all won Tonys. Stephen Sondheim's songs ("Comedy Tonight," "Everybody Ought to Have a Maid," "Lovely") were part of the Best Musical award even if he didn't get singled out for his score. "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum takes comedy back to its roots, combining situations from time-tested, 2000-year-old comedies of Roman playwright, Plautus, with the infectious energy of classic vaudeville." With auditions in September, Forum is set to open November 1 and run through the 18th.

To open 2019, they'll be back in play territory with Little Women, which is not the 2005 musical, but a 1996 drama version of Louisa May Alcott's Civil War era novel adapted for the stage by Marisha Chamberlain. There have been any number of takes on Alcott's story of the five March sisters growing up and figuring out who they are against the backdrop of war, loss and love, with actresses as different as Katharine Hepburn, June Allyson, Susan Dey, Winona Ryder and Sutton Foster all taking on Jo, the second-oldest, who dreams of becoming a writer. Maya Thurman-Hawke played the role last year in a three-episode Little Women from the BBC. "Interlaced with warmth, family loyalty and traditional values, all these important events provide us with a better understanding of our own lives. Penned by Louisa May Alcott 150 years ago, this much-loved classic tale’s message is still relevant for audiences today." Look for Little Women auditions in November 2018 and performances January 10 to 20, 2019.

The main character in the original film version of The Wedding Singer was a schlubby 80s guy who made his living, such as it was, performing at weddings. On Broadway, stars Stephen Lynch and Laura Benanti took on the roles played by Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore on film, with a new score written by Matthew Sklar (music) and Chad Beguelin (lyrics), plus two songs -- "Somebody Kill Me" and "Grow Old With You" by Tim Herlihy and Adam Sandler. Herlihy wrote the script for the movie and co-wrote the book for the Broadway show with Beguelin. This is how Players describes the plot: "It’s 1985, and rock star wannabe, Robbie Hart, is New Jersey’s favorite wedding singer. He’s the life of the party until his own fiancée leaves him at the altar. Shot through the heart, Robbie makes every wedding as disastrous as his own. Enter Julia, a winsome waitress who wins his affection. As luck would have it, Julia is about to be married to a Wall Street shark, and, unless Robbie can pull off the performance of a decade, the girl of his dreams will be gone forever." With all the big hair and crazy dances you'd expect from the 1980s, The Wedding Singer will play from March 7 to 24, 2019, with its auditions scheduled for January.

On the big screen, A Few Good Men was famous for Jack Nicholson snarling "You can't handle the truth," but Aaron Sorkin's 1989 Broadway play featured Tom Hulce, Megan Gallagher and Stephen Lang in the roles Tom Cruise, Demi Moore and Nicholson took on film. The play also put Sorkin on the map and paved the way for critical successes like The West Wing, The Social Network, Moneyball and Molly's Game. A Few Good Men centers on court martial proceedings where two Marines face possible court martial stemming from the death of a fellow Marine at Guantanamo Bay. "The Navy lawyer, a callow young man more interested in softball games than the case, expects a plea bargain and a cover-up of what really happened. Prodded by a female member of his defense team, the lawyer eventually makes a valiant effort to defend his clients and, in so doing, puts the military mentality and the Marine code of honor on trial."After auditions March 11 and 12, A Few Good Men will be up and running May 2 through 12, 2019.

Ooky and spooky, The Addams Family musical had its try-out in Chicago in 2009 with Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth playing Gomez and Morticia. After some tune-ups and fixes from bookwriters Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and composer Andrew Lippa, The Addams Family hit Broadway in March, 2010. It focuses on parental and marital issues as Wednesday comes of age and falls for a regular boy, while Mom and Dad deal with their own romance going stale. Meanwhile,  Uncle Fester is in love with the moon, Mama, Pugsley and Lurch are up to no good, a host of Addams ancestors are swirling around the rafters, and Wednesday's boyfriend's uptight parents are caught in the middle. As Players would have it, "Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s ‘normal’ boyfriend and his parents." This one gets three nights of auditions -- May 11, 12 and 13, 2019 -- with performances set to start July 11 and finish up July 28, 2019.

For details and information, visit the season announcement page at the Community Players website.

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