HARRISBURG, PA.: Open Stage has announced its 36th season, titled “Breaking Through.” The company is set to reopen its space to in-person performances for the first time since closing its doors in March 2020, and just six months after reopening a half-million dollar renovation.
“I have been thinking a lot about reopening and what that meant for the theatre,” said producing artistic director Stuart Landon in a statement. “And I thought a lot about what the community would want to see onstage; what stories they needed. A lot of what people were missing this year was connection—this pandemic prevented us from being with our loved ones physically, spiritually, and emotionally. So if all of these shows have one thing in common, it’s connection—sometimes with other characters, but honestly connection with the audience seems to be the throughline. These shows not only break the fourth wall, but completely shatter it.”
In addition to the below mainstage productions, the theatre will be moving its weekly online shows—My Talented Friends LIVE!, The Obstructed View, and Harrisburg Black NewsBeat—to its studio theatre to be filmed in front of a live audience and streamed to Facebook and YouTube.
The season will open with Carole King’s Tapestry Live (July 9-30), a concert event featuring three vocalists performing Carole King’s seminal album from beginning to end.
Next up will be Every Brilliant Thing (Sept. 3-26), by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe. Karen Ruch will direct this one-person play about family, depression, resilience, and the capacity to find joy in the small things.
Following will be Nassim Soleimanpour‘s White Rabbit Red Rabbit (Oct. 1-31), a play featuring a single actor, with no set, costumes, or rehearsal, only a sealed envelope. Each performance will feature a different local performer.
Violet Oakley Unveiled (Nov. 12-13), by Cindy Rock Dlugolecki, will follow. This limited special engagement follows the story of Violet Oakley who, in 1902, was commissioned to paint over 40 murals in the Pennsylvania capitol and became the first woman to have a voice in the state’s government. Heather Jannetta will direct and music will be composed by Chris Purcell.
Next will be Matthew Lombardo’s Who’s Holiday! (Nov. 26-Dec. 22), an adults-only comedy telling the story of Cindy Lou Who and the twists her life has taken since she first met the Grinch.
The holiday season will see the return of the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol (Dec. 4-23), adapted by Stuart Landon and Rachel Landon. Nicholas Hughes will star as Scrooge and Stuart Landon will direct.
The season will continue with Rock/Musical (Jan. 7-16, 2022), featuring the Teen Studio class and music from contemporary Broadway musicals and classic rock shows.
Next up will be The Mad Ones (Feb. 12-March 6, 2022), by Kait Kerrigan and Bree Lowdermilk, based on an idea by Lowdermilk and Zach Altman. Stuart Landon will direct this exploration of loss, freedom, and what it means to live life to the fullest centered around Samantha Brown’s senior year of high school.
Following will be Jack and the Giant (April 8-16, 2022), with music and lyrics by Bill Francoeur and a book adapted by Vera Morris. Directed by Benny Benamati and featuring the OSHKids Performance Company, the musical tells the classic tale of Jack and the giant who is making life miserable for him, his mother, and the entire kingdom.
The season will conclude with Fairview (May 28-June 26), a Pulitzer-winning play from Jackie Sibblies Drury. Produced in partnership with Sankofa African American Theatre Company, the production follows the Frasier household as a situational family comedy begins to unravel, breaking the fourth wall while examining family and the insidiousness of white supremacy.
Open Stage is Harrisburg’s oldest professional theatre company. It is committed to the cultural education of its community and artistic freedom, presenting high quality professional theatre in intimate settings.
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