WEST HARTFORD — Patrons and friends from the Playhouse on Park community tuned in for Playhouse’s Season 12 Big Reveal via Zoom, recently; the season was announced by Executive Director Tracy Flater and Co-Artistic Directors Sean Harris and Darlene Zoller, according to an email from the organization.
“Everything is subject to change: dates, titles, format and location. We will be doing everything in our power to ensure you — our valued patrons — receive the number of shows you paid for. This may mean pivoting to streaming online, an outdoor location, different titles with smaller casts, indoors at the theatre with social distancing, shifting dates and/or a combination of all of these ideas. Our goal is to remain fluid,” said Flater.
Playhouse on Park, is located in West Hartford’s historic and diverse Park Road neighborhood and is managed under the direction of Playhouse Theatre Group, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization formed in 2009 by Tracy Flater, Sean Harris and Darlene Zoller. The trio quickly took over a vacant theater space and opened Playhouse on Park, an intimate 163-seat theater space with seating on three sides of the stage. PTG, Inc. produces award-winning theater year-round, including a Main Stage Series consisting of plays and musicals; a Theater for Young Audience Series, which is part of our Literature Alive Field Trip Program; Comedy Nights; dance; music; improv, an extensive educational program and more.
“The focus for this season is hope and change. This is a time of much needed change in our country and hope for the future; we felt it was imperative for our season to reflect that,” remarked Harris. The Big Reveal included the Main Stage plays and musicals, the Theater for Young Audiences series, Playhouse’s resident dance company stop/time dance theater, and Mama D’s Outrageous Halloween Romp. Dates for Playwrights on Park, Comedy Nights, Special Events (including the return of a New Year’s Eve party), and Encore 2021 — A Tribute to John Kander — were also announced.
Season 12 will open with “Kennedy: Bobby’s Last Crusade” by David Arrow. This solo play portrays Kennedy during his short, electrifying campaign for President of the United States. Told from Kennedy’s perspective, the play follows Bobby from his announcement to enter the race on March 16, 1968, to his last speech on June 4 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. You will see Kennedy’s most famous and impactful speeches, his private apprehensions, and well as the more personal events during those four exhilarating months of his ill-fated campaign. Directed by Eric Nightengale. “Kennedy: Bobby’s Last Crusade” runs Sept. 16 - Oct. 4.
Running Dec. 2 - 20, is Peter Rothstein’s “All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce Of 1914.” A remarkable true story from the Western Front. “All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce Of 1914” relives an astounding moment in history; in a silence amid the combat, a soldier steps into no man’s land singing “Silent Night.” Thus begins an extraordinary night of camaraderie between the Allied troops and German soldiers. They lay down their arms to celebrate the holiday, share food and drink, play soccer, and sing carols. Directed by Sasha Bratt, this dramatic retelling weaves together firsthand accounts of World War I soldiers with patriotic tunes, trench songs, and Christmas Carols.
Kander and Ebb’s “Chicago” will run Jan. 20 - Feb. 21, 2021. In roaring twenties Chicago, chorus girl Roxie Hart murders a faithless lover. She convinces her hapless husband, Amos, to take the rap. That is, until he finds out he’s been duped and turns on Roxie. Convicted and sent to death row, Roxie and another “Merry Murderess,” Velma Kelly, vie for the spotlight and the headlines. They ultimately join forces in search of the “American Dream” — fame, fortune, and acquittal. This sharp-edged satire features a dazzling score that sparked immortal staging by Bob Fosse. Playhouse on Park Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director Darlene Zoller will direct and choreograph.
stop/time dance theater is gearing up to take the stage for their annual production, which you can add to your subscription at a 20 percent discount. This will be the 18th anniversary of stop/time and their 12th show as the resident Dance Company of Playhouse on Park. The cast of 18 promises to entertain you with original choreography and some fun blasts from the past. Singing, dancing, and lots of heart make stop/time an audience favorite. Directed and choreographed by Darlene Zoller, stop/time will run March 17 - March 28.
The Playhouse also will present “Kill Move Paradise” by James Ijames. New York Times Critics Pick “Kill Move Paradise” tells the story of Isa, Daz, Grif and Tiny, four black men who find themselves stuck in a cosmic waiting room in the afterlife. This play, inspired by the ever-growing list of slain unarmed black men and women, is a portrait of those lost — not as statistics, but as heroes who deserve to be seen for the splendid beings they are, and as symbols of life and hope. Gone but never forgotten, Kill Move Paradise illustrates the possibilities of collective transformation and radical acts of joy. Running April 14 - May 9, 2021.
The 12th Main Stage Season will close with “Into The Woods” with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and a book by James Lapine, runs June 30 - August 8, 2021. A dark and humorous twist on the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, this Tony and Olivier Award-winning musical interweaves everyone’s favorite storybook characters into a timeless, yet relevant, piece, and a rare modern classic. Be careful what you wish for seems to be the ongoing theme in this comically dark musical, as actions have consequences and sacrifices must be paid. Featuring the much loved songs “Children Will Listen,” “Stay With Me” and “No One Is Alone,” this enchanting and touching masterpiece was recently made into a smash-hit Disney feature film starring Meryl Streep, James Corden, Anna Kendrick and Johnny Depp. Sean Harris will direct, with music direction by Melanie Guerin.
The first show in our Theatre for Young Audiences series is “The Amazing Adventures Of Dr. Wonderful (And Her Dog!)” Public performances will run Oct. 31 - Nov. 8, 2020, and Literature Alive! field trip performances will run Oct. 27 - Nov. 12, 2020. It’s a Mystery Science Musical for Young Audiences! Fly through the solar system with Dr. Wonderful and her amazing adventure team of Newton (the dog), Ben (the human), and Mom (the Mom)! Girl-detective-noir meets science-geek-chic in this super cool astronomical musical theater event that will take you across the universe with fun, flair, and science. Written by Lauren Gunderson (Playhouse’s critically acclaimed Season 10 play “The Revolutionists”). Book and lyrics by Lauren Gunderson, with music by Brian Lowdermilk. Darlene Zoller will choreograph and direct, with music direction by Melanie Guerin.
Next up in our Theatre for Young Audiences series is the world premiere of “Dandelion,” adapted from the children’s book by Don Freeman. This musical tells the story of Dandelion. He is a shy, awkward lion, filled with middle school angst. When he gets invited to Jennifer Giraffe’s impromptu party, Dandelion decides to re-invent himself. He ultimately discovers that it’s better just to be yourself! In addition to the theme of staying true to who you are, the musical explores the issues of bullying and social exclusion. Book and lyrics by Joan Ross Sorkin, with music by Mary Liz McNamara. “Dandelion” will run May 25 - June 10, 2021.
The special event of Season 12 is “Mama D’s Outrageous Halloween Romp!” Get ready for a Halloween treat when the cast of “Mama D’s Outrageous Halloween Romp!” takes the stage for a frightfully entertaining evening of scary “Boos” and BYO “Booze.” A sexy extravaganza full of live music, dance, and comedy, with just enough clothes to keep it legal. Trick or Treat? You decide! Running Oct. 21 — 31.
Note that dates, locations, and formats are subject to change. For more information, call the Box Office at 860-523-5900 x10 or visit www.playhouseonpark.org. Playhouse on Park is located at 244 Park Road,West Hartford.