Festival’s upcoming season will be one that celebrates the classics, featuring themes and stories from ancient Greece and Rome, 17th century farce-frenzied France, 19th century Holland, and some beloved theatre motifs, styles and artists of the modern era.
Opening the season in June is “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” written by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, based on the plays of Plautus, with music by Stephen Sondheim. This show runs June 19th through August 17th in rotating repertory with the other summer productions. A slave in Ancient Greece, Pseudolus is dead set on gaining his freedom through whatever means necessary. When his master leaves on a trip, his master’s son, Hero, presents Pseudolus with a deal: help him win the hand of Philia, a beautiful courtesan currently betrothed to a war hero, and he will give Pseudolus his freedom. What ensues is a raucous mix of mistaken identity, invented maladies, and mischief that won the original production Tony awards for Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical.
“Almost, Maine” by John Cariani is next, running July 5th through August 16th in rotating repertory. Welcome to Almost, Maine, a town that’s so far north, it’s almost not in the United States—it’s almost in Canada. And it almost doesn’t exist. Because it’s residents never got around to getting organized. So it’s just…Almost. One cold, clear Friday night in the middle of winter, while the northern lights hover in the sky above, Almost’s residents find themselves falling in and out of love in the strangest ways. Knees are bruised. Hearts are broken. Love is lost, found, and confounded. And life for the people of “Almost, Maine” will never be the same.
Next is “The 39 Steps,” adapted by Patrick Barlow from the novel by John Buchan, running August 9th through September 7th in rotating repertory. Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, add a dash of Monty Python and you have “The 39 Steps,” a fast-paced whodunit, perfect for anyone who loves the magic of theatre. This highly acclaimed play (awarded two Tony Awards and the Drama Desk Award) is packed with nonstop laughs, on-going surprises, amazing comic expression, some good old-fashioned romance, and over 150 zany characters played by a ridiculously talented cast of four. The play centers on Richard Hanney, a man with a boring life who is about to embark on an extraordinary adventure after meeting a woman with a thick accent who says she’s a spy. After she is murdered, a mysterious organization called The 39 Steps is hot on the man’s trail in a nationwide manhunt that climaxes in a death-defying finale! A riotous blend of virtuoso performances and wildly inventive stagecraft, “The 39 Steps” amounts to an unforgettable evening of pure pleasure.
“The Miser” by Molière is the fall production, on stage October 2nd through October 26th. The elderly Harpagon obsesses over the feeling that he never has enough money, and unfortunately his obsession wreaks havoc on all around him. This includes his two children, Elise and Cleante, who are passionately in love with a valet and the girl next door, respectively. While Harpagon had arranged for them to be married to absurdly mismatched types, the two smart children plot against their frugal father until all erupts in a climatic dinner, and truths are revealed.
Festival’s holiday show brings back “Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates,” written by Mary Mapes Dodge and adapted by James L. Walker, on stage from November 29th through December 28th. Set in Holland in the early 19th century, a poor-but-industrious and honorable young man named Hans Brinker yearns to participate in December’s great ice-skating race on the Canal. He and his younger sister, Gretel, have little chance of winning on their handmade wooden skates, but with a little hope and hard work, Hans aims to purchase a set of steel skates that will aid him is chasing down the illustrious prize. But Hans’ and Gretel’s father has fallen very ill, and Hans must first find a way to have his father seen and helped by the famous surgeon, Dr. Boekman.
“Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates” is a story of love, ambition, community and chasing one’s dreams while fighting to do what is honorable and noble. A perfect show for the holiday season, this show will warm hearts of all ages, and remind audiences of the most precious gift of all, the love of family and friends.
The Spring Youth & Family Theatre Series production, running March 6th through March 16th, is Festival’s own adaptation of “Aesop’s Fables.” Sure to be a dynamic retelling of these timeless stories, this show is perfect for a wide range of ages, both onstage and in the audience. Auditions are set for January 20th and 21st, with an audition workshop on January 18th. Call or email the box office to make sure you are on the Arts Education mailing list for audition notices.
Finally, the Festival Theatre Conservatory for Young Performers summer production features local high school aged youth together with members of the professional summer company. Next summer’s production of Aristophanes’ “The Frogs,” dovetailing on the classics theme, has historical homage, hilarity, and mythological adventure in one dynamic production. This show will run from July 19th through July 31st in rotating repertory.
A 2014 Flex Pass is a great way to see the entire season, or to bring the whole family to one show. Flex Passes come in six or ten seat packages and can be used in a variety of ways. Purchase your Flex Pass before March 31st, and receive two complimentary seats to a Youth & Family production. Flex Passes and Gift Certificates can be purchased at the box office.
See you in 2014! We can't wait to begin.