Bristol Valley Theater in Naples and the Finger Lakes Musical Theater Festival in Auburn announce their lineups.
Bristol Valley Theater, rated one of the top 20 Cultural Attractions by the Rochester Business Journal, and voted Best Theater numerous times in the Messenger Post’s Best of Ontario County, will present six plays and musicals beginning in June.
“This summer we’ll be boldly branching out in a number of sensational new directions” says Bristol Valley Executive Artistic Director, Karin Bowersock. “We’ll be the first theater in the Rochester area to present the magically creative Peter Pan story that rocked Broadway’s world; our New Works Initiative will continue with a world premiere comedy; we’ll even take a fresh, super-theatrical look at a classic horror story. And of course, there’s the full puppet nudity.”
The season, which will run from June 16 through September 4, kicks off with Avenue Q, with music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx and a book by Jeff Whitty. Peopled by both live actors and puppets, this R-rated Sesame Street was the winner of Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book. This hilarious musical explores what it might be like if characters like Cookie Monster showed up to teach the life lessons we need as adults. Part flesh, part felt, and packed with heart, Avenue Q will run June 16-26.
Next up is Shooting Star by Steven Dietz, author of last season’s surprise hit Becky’s New Car. In it, two college sweethearts reunite by chance after 30 years, stranded together in a snowed-in airport. Once it’s clear they can’t avoid each other, the evening gives way to laughter, remembrance and fireworks. This wistful, comedic trip down memory lane will run from June 30-July 10.
Following Shooting Star is the Rochester area premiere of Peter and the Starcatcher, a play by Rick Elise with music by Wayne Barker. Based on the novel by Dave Berry and Ridley Pearson, this spectacular grown-ups’ prequel to Peter Pan will win the hearts of adults and children alike. A smash hit during the 2012 Broadway season, Peter and the Starcatcher is a swashbuckling, rollicking, musical imagining of how Peter became the boy who wouldn’t grow up! It runs from July 14-24.
The season continues with Larry Shue’s The Foreigner. Vacation can be torture for the play’s painfully shy hero, Charlie, who finds it impossible to talk to strangers. To avoid small talk, he poses as a foreigner who doesn’t understand English. His plan backfires and chaos ensues when the rural Georgia locals start revealing deep secrets and diabolical plans in front of the quiet guest. Running from July 28-August 7, The Foreigner is an absurdly funny American comedy!
The World Premiere production of The Cookie Fight is next in Bristol Valley’s lineup. In this comedy by Judith Leora, Joy and her brothers return home to divide their mother’s estate, including the last ball of frozen dough for Mom’s Christmas cookies. Family secrets, sibling rivalry and old flames rekindled combine to dish up dysfunctional family fun!
“This play is as funny as it is relatable” says David Shane, the show’s director, and BVT associate artistic director. “If you’ve ever found yourself back in your childhood home, as many of us have, you will find yourself laughing out loud at Judith’s colorful cast of characters.”
Part of BVT’s New Works Initiative, The Cookie Fight will run from August 11-21.
Rounding out the season is Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher from the novella by Robert Louis Stevenson. In this chilling new version of the classic tale of good and evil, six actors create a London held in the grip of the barbaric but charismatic Mr. Hyde. This uniquely theatrical version of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde will run from August 25-September 4, finishing BVT’s Summer Season.
Each show will run for two weekends. Week one: Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Week Two: Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. with 2 p.m. matinees on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. For the full season calendar and schedule details, visit bvtnaples.org.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.bvtnaples.org or by calling the box office at 585-374-6318.
Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival
The 2016 season opens with a brand new production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
In the second slot, the festival’s Producing Artistic Director Brett Smock will direct Sir Tim Rice’s latest blockbuster, From Here to Eternity. Based on the 1953 film, this new musical comes direct from London and makes its U.S. premiere right here in Auburn. Smock stated, “We are thrilled and honored to have Tim and his team in residence with us for the developmental process and look forward to introducing this compelling new musical adaptation to American audiences.”
In addition to the seven shows at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival will embark on a regional expansion project. Through its educational partnership with Nazareth College, the festival will program the Callahan Theater at Nazareth College’s Arts Center for the month of July, including the regional premiere of Austen’s Pride: A New Musical of Pride and Prejudice, with music, lyrics and book by Rochester natives Lindsay Warren Baker and Amanda Jacobs. In this romantic musical, based on the classic novel, Jane Austen herself explores the choices she has made in her life and her writing as she creates the characters and story we know and love.
Fourth in line is Gershwin’s Crazy For You. This toe-tapping song and dance spectacular blends a hysterically funny libretto with a cherished songbook and show-stopping choreography.
The fifth show is Treasure Island, a new musical for a whole new generation. In 2008, Wall Street told us a story of greed, corruption and betrayal. In 1883, Robert Louis Stevenson told us the same story. Treasure Island made its world premiere at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre in Little Rock, and makes its regional premiere in Auburn. Treasure Island offers a compelling look at a young man’s journey to maturity and the strength of the human spirit in the face of extreme conditions.
Next up, the rock ‘n roll megahit, Million Dollar Quartet featuring music from Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis will slide into town from September 15 through October 1.
Following that, the Festival will present the regional premiere of Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical. By special arrangement with Theatrical Rights Worldwide, this new musical autobiography captures the journey, heart and sound of one of America’s musical legends.
Finally, to wrap it all up, the festival will produce Lieber and Stoller’s sizzling Smokey Joe’s Café to close out the 2016 season in the month of November. Full of well-known hits including “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Stand By Me,” and many more, this show will blow the roof off and bring the house down.
The new works series, “The PiTCH,” sponsored by Generations Bank and now in its fifth year under the festival umbrella, will invite audiences to check out still-developing musicals written by a new team each week between June 16 and July 30. The PiTCH is devoted to the development of new musicals, and offers teams housing, transportation, a dedicated theatre, marketing, staff and an enthusiastic and engaged audience for feedback and dialogue. To date, the Festival has given residence to 46 emerging new musicals.
Tickets may be purchased at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse box office located at 6877 East Lake Road, Auburn. Tickets can also be purchased by phone at 800-457-8897, or online at fingerlakesmtf.com.