WEST HARTFORD — Select guests and friends of Playhouse on Park were invited for an exclusive night recently, in which Executive Director Tracy Flater and Co-Artistic Directors Sean Harris and Darlene Zoller announced their 2019-2020 Season.
“In this season we are creating a platform for women, showcasing their strength and resilience,” remarked Zoller. In addition to the Main Stage lineup, the Playhouse founders shared Special Events, additional matinees, Young Audience Series, Playwrights on Park Series, and Comedy Nights.
Season 11 opens with “Nunsense,” by Dan Goggin. Revel in the madness of this hilariously funny musical comedy, featuring a troupe of dancing, singing nuns. “Nunsense” follows the crazy antics of five nuns from the Little Sisters of Hoboken convent. When their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, accidentally serves some tainted soup, poisoning 52 of the sisters, the five surviving nuns must band together to raise funds for their burials. Directed by Playhouse co-founder and co-artistic founder Darlene Zoller. Music direction by Melanie Guerin. “Nunsense” runs Sept. 18 to Oct. 19.
Running Oct. 30 to Nov. 17, is Barbara Lebow’s “A Shayna Maidel,” a powerful and poignant drama of survival and strength about two sisters trying to reconnect after years of separation brought on by the Holocaust. Directed by Dawn Loveland Navarro, “A Shayna Maidel” explores family, faith, and forgiveness in the pursuit of a better future.
“Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical” will run Jan. 15 to Feb. 2, 2020. Audiences can expect a loving re-creation of 20 or so of Rosemary Clooney’s popular songs and a fresh, remarkably personal, and poignant picture of the woman whose unparalleled talent and unbridled personality made her a legend. With her signature songs woven in and out, we learn both the story of her successes on film, radio, and TV, as well as her struggles in her personal life. Susan Haefner, who originated the title role, stars as Rosemary Clooney. Hartt School alumni Kyle Brand (”Altar Boyz,” “Avenue Q”) returns to the Playhouse to direct.
Jane Austen fans, rejoice: “Pride And Prejudice” is coming to the Playhouse stage — and this isn’t your grandmother’s Austen. This new adaptation by Kate Hamill is bold, surprising, boisterous, and timely and made for a new era exploring the absurdities and thrills of finding your perfect (or imperfect) match in life. Literature’s greatest tale of latent love has never felt so theatrical, or so full of life than it does in this effervescent adaptation. Running Feb. 19 to March 8, 2020.
“Ugly Lies The Bone,” by Lindsey Ferrentino, runs April 22-May 10, 2020. Set in 2011 at the time of the final space shuttle launch, “Ugly Lies The Bone” centers around Jess’s return to her hometown of Titusville, Florida, during the closing of the NASA program and the effect the shutdown had on her one-industry town. An improvised explosive device injures her while serving in Afghanistan. Suffering from burns and skin grafts, Jess moves with great pain and effort, yet she’s still the same strong-willed, determined woman who voluntarily served three tours in the army. Through the use of virtual reality video game therapy, she builds a breathtaking new world where she can escape her pain. Directed by Playhouse co-artistic director and co-founder Sean Harris.
And Season Eleven closes with a wedding day that you’ll never forget! The charming, funny and original new musical, “It Shoulda Been You,” book and lyrics by Brian Hargrove and music by Barbara Anselmi, runs July 1-August 9 2020. Susan Haefner (“Little Shop of Horrors,” “Steel Magnolias”) returns to direct this wild musical farce with blushing brides, nervous grooms, overbearing moms, unexpected guests and plenty of crazy twists and turns. Music direction by Melanie Guerin. Choreography by Playhouse co-artistic director and co-founder Darlene Zoller.
Season 11 special events include:
“Spamilton: An American Parody,” co-presented by The Bushnell and Playhouse on Park, running August 14 to Sept. 8. Don’t miss this “convulsively funny” (NY Times) parody from the comic mastermind behind the long-running hit Forbidden Broadway. After tearing it up in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, “Spamilton: An American Parody” fulfills its manifest destiny by conquering Hartford for a limited time only. The Huffington Post raves “you don’t have to see Hamilton to have side-splitting fun at Spamilton. Created, written, and directed by Gerard Alessandrini.
David Sedaris’ “Santaland Diaries” runs Dec. 4 to Dec. 22. Adapted by Joe Mantello, this perfect offbeat holiday season one-man show stars Crumpet, who recounts his true-life tale of being an out-of-work writer doing a stint as a Macy’s department store elf. His encounters, as an Elf during the season of forced joy, are exactly the antidote for those in need of a escape from those holiday stresses and blues. A delightfully absurd look at the commercial Christmas season, Sedaris’ sharp and hilarious observations have rapidly become one of the nation’s most popular holiday shows. Playhouse on Park’s production will feature one of the Playhouse’s favorite actors, Peej Mele (“Avenue Q,” “[title of show],” “Elf on the Shelf”) as Crumpet.
Playhouse on Park’s resident dance company, stop/time dance theater, presents “Divas,” a thrilling dance revue celebrating the music and legacy of female performers, from Cher to Whitney to Tina. Conceived, directed, and choreographed by Playhouse co-artistic director and co-founder Darlene Zoller. “Divas” runs March 25 to April 5, 2020. “Divas” may be added to a Season 11 subscription package, saving 20 percent over individual ticket sales.
Additional programming for Season 11 includes the Young Audience Series, Playwrights on Park Reading Series, and Comedy Nights.
Individual tickets are now on sale. Contact the Box Office at 860-523-5900 x10 or visit www.playhouseonpark.org for more information. Playhouse on Park is located at 244 Park Road, West Hartford.