2017-2018 Season

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Disney's The Little Mermaid |  September 1 - September 24

Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, Book by Doug Wright

Based on the classic Disney film, “The Little Mermaid” is a hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages.  Adapted from one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most famous tales, it tells the story of Ariel, the youngest daughter of King Triton, and a bargain she makes with the evil sea witch, Ursula, to trade in her tail for legs.  As she falls in love with the human Prince Eric, she discovers that the deal she made was more than she bargained for. 

Filled with memorable characters such as Flounder the fish, Scuttle the seagull, and Sebastian the crab, “The Little Mermaid” is one of the most beloved Disney musicals of all time.  With songs like “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl,” and “Part of Your World,” it is certain to entertain audiences of all ages.

Rated A for All Ages

 

Music by Christopher Bond, Frank Cipolla, Melissa Morris, and George Reinblatt;

Book and Lyrics by George Reinblatt

 

​Based on Sam Raimi's 1980s cult classic films, “Evil Dead: the Musical” is a comedy that tells the story of five college kids who travel to a cabin in the woods where they accidentally unleash an evil force. A parody of all things horror, the show is filled with hilariously campy songs and more farce than all of Hell can contain. “Evil Dead: the Musical” unearths the old familiar story: boy and friends take a weekend getaway at abandoned cabin, boy expects to get lucky, boy unleashes ancient evil spirit, friends turn into Candarian Demons, boy fights until dawn to survive. As musical mayhem descends upon this sleepover in the woods, "camp" takes on a whole new meaning with uproarious numbers like "All the Men in my Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons," "Look Who's Evil Now" and "Do the Necronomicon."

 

Rated M for Mature Audiences due to Adult Content, Language, and Violence

EVIL DEAD: THE MUSICAL | October 13 - October 29
 
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Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Book by Joseph Robinette, based on the movie and the writings of Jean Shepherd.

Nine year old Ralphie Parker wants only one thing for Christmas: An Official Red Ryder Range Model Carbine Action BB Gun. There’s only one problem: everyone else is convinced he’ll shoot his eye out! Undeterred, he begins his saga of convincing all the necessary players of his need.  As he tries to convince everyone from his sweet but protective Mother, to his straight-laced teacher, and all the way to Santa Claus himself, Ralphie’s vivid imagination conjures up several show-stopping numbers like “Ralphie to The Rescue,” in which he faces off against robbers, mustache twirling villains, and of course, the school bully). And Ralphie’s not the only one with dreams of grandeur. His old man is just as set on a goal of his own, namely, winning a prize in the $50,000 Great Figures of World Literature Contest. His dreams come true when he wins a major award from the competition in the form of a garish, fishnet stocking clad leg lamp, which horrifies his wife but brings him unadulterated joy. Filled with quirky and lovable characters, this zany, heartfelt, and nostalgic musical is as delightful as the biggest, shiniest present under the tree on Christmas morning.

 

Rated A for All Ages

A CHRISTMAS STORY | November 17 - December 10
 
 
NEVERMORE: THE IMAGINARY LIFE AND MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF
EDGAR ALLAN POE | January 5 - January 21

Written and Composed by Jonathan Christenson

“Nevermore” is a unique and wildly theatrical musical play combining haunting music, poetic storytelling, and stunning stagecraft to tell the fascinating and moving life story of iconic American writer Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849).

 

A literary rock star in his day, Poe struggled with tragedy and addiction, poverty and loss, yet produced some of the world’s most original, visionary and enduring literature before dying in unexplained circumstances at the age of 40. At once gorgeous and grotesque, Nevermore blurs the line between fact and fiction, exploring the events that shaped Poe’s character and career and giving powerful expression to Poe’s words “all that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”

Rated T for Teen and Above for Subject Matter

 
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SEUSSICAL |  February 9 - March 4

Book and Music by Stephen Flaherty, Book and Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, Co-Conceived by Eric Idle

One of the most performed shows in America, “Seussical” is a fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza for the entire family.  All of the most beloved Dr. Seuss, from the Cat in the Hat to Gertrude McFuzz, the colorful characters will transport you to magical land and the invisible world of the Whos. 

 

Ultimately a story about friendship, family, and community, “Seussical follows Horton the Elephant as he discovers the Whos living on a speck of dust.  He then must protect this tiny civilization while also guarding an abandoned egg.  As he faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping, and being put on trial, Horton never gives up and perseveres with the help of faithful friends.

 

Rated A for All Ages

NEXT TO NORMAL |  March 16 - April 1

Music by Tom Kitt, Book and Lyrics by Brian Yorkey

 

Synopsis – Next to Normal explores how one suburban household copes with crisis and mental illness. Dad's an architect; Mom rushes to pack lunches and pour cereal; their daughter and son are bright, wise-cracking teens, appearing to be a typical American family. And yet their lives are anything but normal because the mother has been battling manic depression for 16 years.

 

Winner of three 2009 Tony Awards, including Best Musical Score and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize, Next to Normal takes audiences into the minds and hearts of each character, presenting their family’s story with love, sympathy, and heart.

Rated T for Teen and Above

 
 
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JANE EYRE |  May 4 - May 13

Book by John Caird, Music by Paul Gordon, Lyrics by Paul Gordon and John Caird,

Based on the novel by Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Brontë's great love story comes to life with music to lift your heart and set your spirit soaring. This beloved tale of secrets and the lies that secrets create, of unimaginable hope and unspoken passion, reminds us what it is to fall deeply, truly and completely in love. Nominated for five Tony Awards, Jane Eyre explores religion, sexuality and protofeminism, all while enchanting audiences with a timeless love story.

 

Jane's story begins in Gateshead, where she is in the unfortunate care of her cruel Aunt Sarah and cousin, John, as per her uncle's dying wish. The miserable young orphan is finally rescued when she is sent away to attend Lowood School for Girls. After six years, Jane leaves Lowood and is shortly after hired as a governess at Thornfield Hall. Here, she meets Mr. Edward Rochester, thus beginning her passionate and heart-wrenching journey of love, loss and the struggles of morality.  This extraordinary musical adaptation deftly intermingles passion, love, and beautiful music into a must-see theatrical event.

 

Rated T for Teen and Above

GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS | June 1 - June 17

Written by David Mamet

In the cutthroat world of real estate salesmen pushing land on reluctant buyers, no tactic – legal or otherwise – is off the table.  In this Pulitzer Prize winning play, veteran real estate agent Shelly Levene is in a slump, and is in desperate need of closing a sale.  As pressure mounts and the other salesmen smell blood in the water, someone breaks into the office and steals—among other things—the prized Glengarry sales leads.  As all of the salesmen become under investigation, pressure, distrust, and greed take hold of everyone involved.

 

Widely considered one of the best written pieces of contemporary American theatre, “Glengarry Glen Ross” is David Mamet’s masterpiece.  A satirical comedy that will keep you enthralled from beginning to end, this powerhouse of a play has seen multiple Broadway revivals and been adapted into a feature film.


Rated M for Mature Audiences for Language and Themes 

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SISTER ACT | July 13 - July 29

Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Glenn Slater, Book by Cheri Steinkellner, Bill Steinkellner, and Douglas Carter Beane.  Based on the motion picture, written by Joseph Howard.

Synopsis –  When disco diva, Deloris Van Cartier, witnesses a murder, she is put in protective custody in the one place the cops are sure she won't be a found: a convent.  Disguised as a nun, she finds herself at odds with both the rigid lifestyle and 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 she blows her cover. Soon the murderer is giving chase, only to find himself up against Deloris and the power of her newly found sisterhood.

 

Based on the hit film, “Sister Act” won five Tony awards when it hit Broadway, including Best Musical.  Filled with powerful gospel music, outrageous dancing, and a moving story, Sister Act will leave audiences breathless.  A sparkling tribute to the universal power of friendship, Sister Act is reason to REJOICE!

 

Rated A for All Ages

 
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2017-2018 Alternative Season

Junie B. Jones The Musical Jr.:  June 28 - July 1 2018
THE PILLOWMAN |  January 31 - February 4 at the Multicultural Arts Center

Written by Martin McDonagh

In an interrogation room in an unnamed totalitarian dictatorship, Katurian Katurian, a writer, is being interrogated by two detectives. Next door, Katurian’s mentally disabled brother Michal waits. The detectives want to know why Katurian’s stories feature gruesome plots about child murder, and in particular why they seem to mirror a string of recent child killings in the area. This brutal dark comedy from Martin McDonagh, the master of the horror-comedy, poses unanswerable questions: Can stories hold the power to cause atrocities? Where is the line between truth and fairy tale? Is a life of horror worth living at all? And what is a life worth?  And is it worth more when family is at stake?  The Pillowman is a dark, twisty, and utterly unforgettable masterpiece from one of Ireland’s most treasured writers.

 

Rated M for Mature for Language, Violence, Adult Themes, and Disturbing Content

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IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY   
December 15 - 17 at Merced Theatre

Adapted by Joe Landry from the Classic Film by Frank Capra

 

The classic Christmas tale of George Bailey is presented as a 1940’s radio show.  With an ensemble cast that brings the story to the stage in a delightfully unique way, this show is filled with laughter, and is guaranteed to tug at the heartstrings.  Follow along as a group of radio actors play out the story of a man who is considering ending his own life, unaware of how much impact he has had on the lives of those around him.  As the actors perform the tale in a traditional 1940’s radio fashion, they themselves are caught up in the emotions and power of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and discover the true magic of this extraordinary story.

 

Rated A for All Ages

 
DRAMA ISLAND SEASON 13 | Sundays in March and April
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2017-2018 Conservatory Season

Book & Lyrics by Marcy Heisler, Music by Zina Goldrich

Join Junie B. on her first day of first grade, where many changes are in store: Junie's best friend Lucille has found new best friends - and Junie B. makes friends with Herb, the new kid at school. While in Mr. Scary's class Junie has trouble reading the blackboard - and she may need glasses. Add in a friendly cafeteria lady, an intense kickball tournament and a "Top-Secret Personal Beeswax Journal," and first grade has never been more exciting.

Featuring many lovable characters and fun-filled songs, Junie B. Jones JR. will capture your audiences' and Broadway Junior performers' hearts - just as the books captivated an entire generation of students.

 

Rated A for All Ages

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Shrek The Musical Jr.   
August 3 - 5 2018

Music by Jeanine Tesori, Book and Lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire

Based on the DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture and the book by William Steig

Beauty is in the eye of the ogre in Shrek The Musical JR., based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film and fantastic Broadway musical.  It's a "big bright beautiful world" as everyone's favorite ogre, Shrek, leads a cast of fairytale misfits on an adventure to rescue a princess and find true acceptance.  Part romance and part twisted fairy tale, Shrek JR. is an irreverently fun show with a powerful message for the whole family.

Once upon a time, in a far away swamp, there lived an ogre named Shrek.  One day, Shrek finds his swamp invaded by banished fairytale misfits who have been cast off by Lord Farquaad, a tiny terror with big ambitions. When Shrek sets off with a wisecracking donkey to confront Farquaad, he's handed a task – if he rescues feisty princess Fiona, his swamp will be righted. Shrek tries to win Fiona’s love and vanquish Lord Farquaad, but a fairytale wouldn't be complete without a few twists and turns along the way.

With abundant opportunities for imaginative sets and costumes, and a host of over-the-top roles for an expandable cast, there's a part for everyone in this dazzling adventure story.

 

Rated A for All Ages

 

© 2015 Playhouse Merced | 452 W. Main St. • Merced, CA 95340 | (209) 725-8587 | boxoffice@playhousemerced.org

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