2018-2019 Season

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TITANIC |  August 24 - September 16, 2018

Story and Book by Peter Stone, Music and Lyrics by Maury Yeston

Directed by Corey Strauss - Musically Directed by Darrell Lingenfelter

 

On April 10, 1912, the RMS Titanic was launched on her maiden journey from England to New York.  Supposedly unsinkable, its fateful journey and tragic end made it one of the most famous events of the 20th century.  The musical “Titanic” captures the range of humanity aboard the ship, telling the stories of everyone from the rich and famous living in luxury suites to the passengers huddled together in steerage in hopes of a better life. 

 

The musical’s soaring melodies, beautiful lyrics, and stunning staging make “Titanic” one of the most powerful pieces of theatre in Broadway history, and one of the most engaging shows ever to hit the Playhouse stage.

Rated 5 for Five Years of Age and Up

 
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS | October 5 - October 31, 2018

Book and Lyrics by Howard Ashman, Music by Alan Menken

Directed by RC Essig - Musically Directed by Dennis Brown

 

Down on Skid Row, in a neglected little flower shop, floral assistant Seymour Krelborn is secretly nurturing a strange little plant in hopes that it will help the struggling business.  When he takes the bizarre little plant public, paying customers suddenly flock to the little shop, but the sudden success hides a dark secret.  Late at night, when the crowds have all gone home, the carnivorous little plant demands to be fed in human blood, and it is growing at an alarming rate. 

The musical “Little Shop of Horrors” has gone from an 80’s cult hit to one of the most produced musicals in the world.  Filled with memorable songs, humor, and the ultimate in invasive species, this masterpiece from Ashman and Menken is a crowd favorite, and perfect for the Halloween season.

 

Rated T for Teens and Above

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ANNIE | November 16 - December 9, 2018

Book by Thomas Meehan, Music by Charles Strouse, Lyrics by Martin Charnin

Based on the comic strip by Harold Gray

Directed by Corey Strauss & Madison Mitchell

 

In a crowded orphanage in New York City, a little girl named Annie charms the hearts of everyone she meets.  When she is given a chance to visit the home of wealthy businessman Oliver Warbucks, her life and fortune changes as her optimism and endearing street-smarts bring a sense of wonder and adventure into the billionaire’s life.  But Miss Hannigan, the greedy head of Annie’s orphanage, has her sights of the Warbucks fortune, and she’ll use the plucky little girl to get what she wants, no matter the cost. 

Based on the beloved comic strip, “Annie” has become one of the most enduring and endearing musicals of all time.  Filled with famous songs such as “Hard Knocks Life” and “Tomorrow,” it remains a triumph of positivity over cynicism, and shows how fortunes can change our lives if we make ourselves open to them.

Rated 5 for Five Years and Up

 
BULLSHOT CRUMMOND  |  January 4 - January 20, 2019

Idea by Ron House and Diz White.  Written by Ron House, Diz White, John Neville Andrews, Alan Shearman, and Derek Cunningham

Directed by Chris Battisti

 

When the villainous Otto Von Brunno and his evil mistress Lenya crash their plane into the English countryside, is it the end of the felonious couple or the beginning of a devious plan to kidnap a professor who can make perfect synthetic diamonds?  A hint: it’s definitely a devious plan.  Enter Bullshot Crummond, world renowned detective, hero for the ages, and a bit of an idiot.  As he pursues the villains, laughter and adventure emerge in equal measures as we ride along through car chases, paralyzing rays, sword fights, and explosions. 

One of the funniest parodies ever written for the stage, “Bullshot Crummond” revels in all the tropes and humor of a 1930’s detective novel, including a literal cliffhanger and an ending comes as a surprise to everyone involved.

Rated 5 for Five Years and Up

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THE WIZARD OF OZ |  February 8 - March 3, 2019

Adapted from the Classic Motion Picture by John Kane

Based on the novel by L. Frank Baum

 

Dorothy, a young girl living in Kansas, dreams of escaping her mundane life.  When a mean-spirited neighbor threatens her cherished dog, Toto, Dorothy runs away and gets caught up in a tornado that sweeps her off to a mystical land called Oz.  Once there, danger and adventure seem to be all around as she meets new friends and makes powerful enemies.  Eager to return to her Aunty Em, Dorothy embarks on a journey down the yellow brick road to find an Emerald City, a mysterious wizard, and maybe…just maybe…a way home. 

One of the most revered stories of all time, L. Frank Baum’s classic novel is brought to the stage in a production that pays homage to the much-loved film.  Filled with familiar tunes such as “Over the Rainbow” and “If I Only Had a Brain,” “The Wizard of Oz” is a story that every generation can enjoy together.

 

Rated 5 for Five Years and Up

 
DRIVING MISS DAISY |  March 15 - March 31, 2019

By Alfred Uhry

In the Deep South in 1948, Daisy Werthan, a rich Jewish widow in her seventies, is told by her son that she must rely on a chauffeur after crashing yet another car.  He hires a thoughtful, unemployed black man named Hoke who is immediately regarded with disdain by Daisy.  Though they have a rocky relationship at first, Hoke’s calm demeanor helps to soften Daisy’s stern defenses, and over a period of 25 years their relationship goes from distant and cold to warm and enduring, becoming genuine companions whose love and respect for each other is stronger than either could have imagined possible. 

Winner of the 1988 Pulitzer Prize, “Driving Miss Daisy” is a powerful, heartwarming, and surprisingly humorous look into the lives of two people who seemingly have nothing in common discovering a bond of friendship that surpasses every relationship they have ever known.

Rated T for Teen and Up

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Evita
LITTLE WOMEN |  May 3 - May 19, 2019

Music by Jason Howland, Lyrics by Mindi Dickstein, Book by Allan Knee

Based on the Novel by Louisa May Alcott

 

During the turbulent times of the Civil War, the four March Sisters finding their own voices in a young nation that is still discovering its identity.  The romantic Meg, tomboyish Jo, sweet Beth, and irascible Amy live together while their father is off at war, experiencing all the joys and tribulations of young women growing up in difficult times.  As Jo documents their stories and adventures—both real and imagined—in hopes of becoming a published writer, each of the sisters learn something of themselves and build an idea for where their lives are going to take them.

Joyful melodies, memorable characters, and a big-hearted message help to make “Little Women” an unforgettable musical experience that will take you through both heartbreak and hope.  This timeless, captivating story of personal discovery will entertain and enlighten with it’s beauty and exuberant sense of wonder.

Rated T for Teens and Up

OTHELLO  |  June 7 - June 16, 2019

By William Shakespeare

Othello, the Moorish general of Venice, has promoted young Cassio to lieutenant, passing over the ambitious and ruthless Iago.  Suddenly determined to bring down his general for the perceived slight, Iago hatches a clever plan of revenge that will bring down Othello, Cassio, and everyone that they love and care about.  As Iago manipulates Othello into killing his friends and loved ones, he revels in the downfall of his former friend, never quite understanding how his treachery will take its price from him as well.

One of William Shakespeare’s most revered plays, “Othello” traces the line between hero and villain, and examines how the smallest of decisions and tiniest of lies can alter the course of a life forever.  Presented in conjunction with Merced Shakespearefest, this production will embrace the beauty and complexity of Shakespeare’s writing and the many ways in which it remains relevant today.

Rated T for Teens and Up

 

2017-2018 Alternative Season

TOP GIRLS |  November 28 - December 2, 2018 at The Merced Multicultural Arts Center

By Caryl Churchill

 

Marlene, a successful career woman living in the 1980s, has just received a major promotion, a major step in her fight to reach the top of her profession.  As the play begins, she is hosting a dinner party for famous female historical figures from throughout the ages, including Pope Joan, Isabella Bird, and Patient Griselda.  This unlikely group discuss their own histories and reflect on what being a woman meant in their own times.  As the play shifts to the present day, Marlene’s success in her chosen field is clearly causing irreparable damage to her personal life and relationships.  Her sister, Joyce, is left to take care of Marlene’s daughter, leaving the young girl confused about who her mother really is.  As Marlene’s story jumps back and forth through time, she attempts to make sense of her life and come to terms with mistakes that she has made in the past.

 

Rated T for Teens and Up

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Evita
IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY   
December 21 - 23, 2018 at The Merced Multicultural Arts Center

Adapted by Joe Landry from the classic Frank Capra film

A New Christmas Tradition for Playhouse Merced

 

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.

Presented for the second year in a row in conjunction with The Merced Theatre, this holiday classic is the perfect theatrical experience to be shared across generations.

 

Rated 5 for Five Years and Up

DOUBT: A PARABLE |   May 22 - May 26, 2019 at at The Merced Multicultural Arts Center

By John Patrick Shanley

 

It’s 1964, and things are changing, to the chagrin of rigid principal Sister Aloysius. However, when an unconscionable accusation is leveled against Father Flynn, a beloved progressive priest at St. Nicholas Church School, Sister Aloysius realizes that the only way to get justice is to create it herself. And as for the truth of the matter? As Father Flynn says, "Doubt can be a bond as powerful and sustaining as certainty.” In stunning prose, John Patrick Shanley delves into the murky shadows of moral certainty, his characters always balancing on the thin line between truth and consequences. Doubt: A Parable is an exquisite, potent drama that will raise questions and answer none.

 

Rated T for Teens and Up

Evita

2018 - 2019 Conservatory

Evita
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH JR.  April 12 - April 14, 2019

James and the Giant Peach Jr.

Book by Timothy Allen McDonald, Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Based on the book by Roald Dahl

 

When James is sent by his conniving aunts to chop down their old fruit tree, he discovers a magic potion that grows a tremendous peach, rolls into the ocean and launches a journey of enormous proportions. James befriends a collection of singing insects that ride the giant piece of fruit across the ocean, facing hunger, sharks and plenty of disagreements along the way.

Based on one of Roald Dahl’s most poignantly quirky stories, Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach JR. is a brand new take on this "masterpeach" of a tale.  Featuring a wickedly tuneful score and a witty and charming book, this adventurous musical about courage and self-discovery is destined to be a classic.

 

Rated 5 for Five and Up

2018 - 2019 Special Events

ANNUAL GALA |  August 18, 2018

The largest Playhouse Merced fundraiser of the year, the Annual Gala has become a major event in the Merced Community.  Consisting of dinner, drink, entertainment, both live and silent auctions, and much more, The Playhouse Merced Annual Gala is an amazing event that also serves as the official start of the 2018 - 2019 Season.

Save the date!

SEASON PREVIEW FOR 2019 - 2020 SEASON |  June 1, 2019

Playhouse Merced's 26th Season is certain to be filled with amazing shows.  Be the first to know what the upcoming season holds at the Annual Preview.  It's a one-night only event, so save the date!

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

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