Millbrook: ‘Be our guest’ this summer!

Playhouse launches 55th anniversary season

From staff reports

MILL HALL — The Millbrook Playhouse 55th Anniversary Season is coming soon, and the fun kick offs with a Disney-themed benefit cabaret Saturday, April 7.

“We are capturing the grandness and the excitement of the 55th season with our programming and events,” said Producing Artistic Director David E. Leidholdt. “And, we are jumping right in with the spectacular family Disney cabaret, which sets the tone for our first musical, ‘Beauty and the Beast.'”

The 55th season will feature many Millbrook premieres including “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” from June 15 to 30 on the Ryan Mainstage. Other shows in the anniversary season include “Sister Act the Musical” based on the popular Whoopi Goldberg movie; the classic novel set to stage “Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird;” the return of the ladies from Springfield High in “The Marvelous Wonderettes: Dream on;” and the recent Broadway smash comedy “An Act of God,” a Saturday Night Live-esque conversation with The Big Guy himself.

“The varied selection of family programming, thought-provoking pieces, and beloved comedies ensures everyone will have a chance to ‘be our guest’ and experience Millbrook’s exhilarating, high quality, professional productions,” Leidholdt said.

In tandem with the eight professional productions making up the bulk of Millbrook’s summer season, the theater’s board of directors is renewing its commitment to theatrical education by launching an innovative introductory theater camp for preschool and kindergarten students alongside the regular theatre camps for kids, teens and adults.

“In a time when there are fewer and fewer opportunities for young people to find creative outlets, Millbrook goes full steam into another season of quality educational programming,” Leidholdt said.

The Millbrook Playhouse mission has always been more than providing quality, professional, live theatre. It also includes developing an appreciation of the theatre arts with a strong educational component.

The benefit cabaret on April 7, “When You Wish Upon a Star,” will help Millbrook continue its programs and fulfill the mission.

The evening of songs, performed by the Millbrook Youth Ensemble and some favorite alumni, will feature the classic Disney cannon of singable selections. The ticket sales will raise money for the youth ensemble and educational programs offered during the summer season.

“When You Wish Upon a Star” will play one night only. The show is at 7 p.m. and is created by Millbrook’s “musical mastermind” Justin Adams and directed by Artistic Associate Matt Spencer.

The season opens June 15. The schedule follows:

RYAN MAIN STAGE

r “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” (G) — June 15-30.

This tale as old as time features music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton.

The Millbrook production is directed by Shannon Agnew and choreographed by Dax Valdes.

The classic story tells of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed into his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity. The Academy Award-winning film comes to life in this romantic take on the classic fairytale.

r “Sister Act the Musical” (PG) — July 6-15

This show is a reason to rejoice, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Glenn Slater, book by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner, additional book material by Douglas Carter Beane, and based on the Touchstone Pictures movie which was written by Joseph Howard.

Trey Compton directs and choreographs the Millbrook production.

When disco diva Deloris Van Cartier witnesses a murder, she’s put in protective custody in the one place the cops are sure she won’t be found: a convent! Disguised as a nun, she finds herself at odds with the rigid lifestyle and the uptight Mother Superior. Using her unique disco moves and singing talent to inspire the choir, Deloris breathes new life into the church and community but in doing so, blows her cover. Soon, the gang is giving chase, only to find they are up against Deloris and the power of her newly found sisterhood.

r “Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird” (PG) — July 20-28

The classic story is brought to life in this adaptation by Christopher Sergel, with David E. Leidholdt at the directing helm.

Lawyer Atticus Finch defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel — a man charged with a terrible crime. Through the eyes of Atticus’s children, Scout and Jem, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unwavering honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. This adaptation is a meaningful work of art, and poses several questions that are still relevant to today’s society.

r “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” (PG) — Aug. 3-12

A hysterical show about relationships in the modern age, it features book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music by Jimmy Roberts. Robert W. Schneider directs the Millbrook production.

This celebration of the mating game takes on the truths and myths behind that contemporary conundrum know as “the relationship,” from dating and waiting, to love and marriage, to the agonies and triumphs of in-laws and newborns, trips in the family car, and pickup techniques of the geriatric set. A hilarious revue, it pays tribute to those who have loved and lost, those who have fallen on their face at the portal of romance, and those who have dared to ask, “Say, what are you doing Saturday night?”

POORMAN CABARET

r “Savannah Sipping Society” (PG) — June 8-17

Directed by Amanda Coffin, this delightful, laugh-a-minute comedy by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten focuses on four unique Southern women. They all need to escape their daily routines and are drawn together at an impromptu happy hour where they decide it’s time to reclaim the enthusiasm for life they’ve lost through the years. Over the course of months, filled with laughter, hilarious misadventures, and the occasional liquid refreshment, these middle-aged women successfully bond and find the confidence to jumpstart their new lives. Together, they discover a renewed determination to live in the moment — and realize it’s never too late to make new old friends.

r “The Marvelous Wonderettes: Dream On” (PG) — June 22-July 8

Directed and choreographed by Marc de la Concha and created by Roger Bean, this is another wild, comedic ride through the ’60s and ’70s!

The Wonderettes are back at Springfield High to throw a retirement party for their favorite teacher. As they sing their way through the greatest girl-group hits of the ’60s, one of the Wonderettes reveals she’ll also be saying goodbye to search for success and happiness on her own. Act Two finds the girls back together at the class of 1958’s 20-year reunion. The classic pop and rock hits of the ’70s are the perfect soundtrack for these old friends to catch up on the places life has led them, all performed with their own marvelous spin!

r “Footlight Frenzy” (PG) — July 13-22

This behind-the-scenes romp is directed by Nick Brennan and written by Ron House, Diz White, Alan Shearman and Bud Slocumb.

In a desperate attempt to save their bankrupt “School for Unusual Children,” an inexperienced PTA group valiantly mounts an ambitious benefit play, written by a has-been Broadway director. His near hysterical direction and the group’s questionable talent turn the production into a hilarious shambles. The scenes shift back and forth from the real tribulations of the performers to the play they are “performing,” and it is hard to tell which is sillier. This is fast and furious theatrical fun of the first order, with us watching the fun from the “back” of the stage!

r “An Act of God” (PG-13) — July 27-Aug. 5

It’s irreverent, provocative and very, very funny.

The One with the first and last word on everything has finally arrived to set the record straight. After many millennia, and in just 90 minutes, God (assisted by His devoted angels) answers some of the deepest questions that have plagued mankind since creation, and gifts his mortals with an entirely new set of Ten Commandments in a sinfully funny whirlwind of comedy heaven! Written by 13-time Emmy Award-winner David Javerbaum, this exceptional comedy delivers a new meaning to the phrase “divine intervention!”

Audiences are welcome to bring in food to the cabaret theatre and to visit the new Millbrook “Stage Right Bar” before, during and after the show. Weekly drink specials and affordable pricing are offered.

FLEX PASSES

Season flex passes are now available, with several options this year. All options represent a savings over the single ticket price.

Now through April 15, the price for a season flex pass is $185 for nine tickets (the regular eight tickets plus a bonus ticket). Starting April 16, the price remains the same at $185 but the pass includes only the regular eight tickets. On June 8, the day the season opens, the price goes up a bit, to $190 for eight tickets. The flex pass offer ends on June 30.

The patron flex pass includes a $30 tax-deductible donation to Millbrook Playhouse, and also comes with some fun perks.

Patron ticket holders will receive the first choices of seats, even before regular flex pass holders. Their names are listed in the program as patrons of Millbrook Playhouse. And, new this year, they will receive a 10 percent discount on any additional single tickets they buy and receive a personal invitation to all opening night receptions. Also, they will be eligible for exclusive discounts to special events throughout the year.

Patron passes are $215 for nine tickets, now through April 15. Starting April 16, the price remains the same at $215 but the pass includes only the regular eight tickets.On June 8, the day the season opens, the price goes up a little, to $220 for eight tickets. The patron pass offer ends June 30.

Both patron passes and regular passes can be used however the owner wishes. Use all the tickets for one show, or spread them out among different shows.

To purchase a flex pass or find out more information, visit www.millbrookplayhouse.net or call 570-748-8083 and leave a message.

The volunteers on the Millbrook Playhouse Board of Directors are proud to approach the barn theatre’s 55th anniversary season.

Millbrook is not just the oldest — it is the only professional summer stock theatre that Central Pennsylvania has to offer.

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Online:

www.millbrookplayhouse.net

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