Playhouse announces its upcoming season


As the Erie Playhouse comes toward the end of its 2014-2015 season, it prepares for what might be its best season yet.

The Playhouse announced its lineup for the 2015-2016 season at its launch party March 30. Almitra Clerkin, executive director of the Erie Playhouse, has said in past interviews that one of the main points of the launch party is to get people excited for the upcoming season, and to encourage them to buy season passes.

And boy, were the people in attendance excited. The audience cheered at almost every show announcement. The Playhouse offered a special incentive to purchase season tickets by offering them at a discount for that night only.

Some years, the Playhouse chooses shows that not many people may know, in part because putting together showstopper after showstopper isn’t very feasible, but most of the selections this year are recognizable, if not well-known for being phenomenal.

The season reveal launch party featured a multimedia presentation that included performances by actors and actresses in the Erie area, with Gannon University senior theatre and communication arts major Lauren Loop and senior English/pre-law major Maggie Cooney among them.

The Erie Playhouse kicks off the season with “The Little Mermaid,” the musical based on the tale by Hans Christian Anderson and the Disney hit. Virtually everyone knows the storyline of it will be, at the very least, a crowd-pleaser.

During the reveal, Gannon University alumna Nicole (Dohoda) Lossie ‘11 played Ariel.

Next in the Mainstage Series, “A Game’s Afoot” tells the tale of the actor famous for his role as Sherlock Holmes. He invites his fellow actors over for a dinner party and it quickly turns into the plot of a Holmes case. But it’s funny.

Next, if you want a change from seeing the movie play all day on every TV station Christmas Day, the Playhouse has offered the alternative, “A Christmas Story: The Musical.” It’s the same basic story line you hear playing in the background on Dec. 25, but with music and dancing. Plus, it doesn’t play on a loop.

Coming up in February, the show that won two Tony Awards and three Drama Desk Awards in 2012, “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” takes place during the roaring ‘20s. It features “extravagant dance numbers, glittering costumes and an unlikely love story between a wealthy playboy and a rough and tumble lady bootlegger.” It’s a golden-age musical without the golden-age feel.

The next Mainstage show was also nominated for several Tony awards and has been regarded as the adult prequel to “Peter Pan,” “Peter and the Star Catcher.” This show takes the place of the second non-musical performance, following “A Game’s Afoot.”

“Kiss Me Kate,” based loosely on Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” is likely a musical your mom told you about that you never bothered to look into. This recently revived show joins the list of Tony Award winners in this upcoming season.

The third play hitting the main stage, “One Slight Hitch,” more than likely will have audiences cackling in their seats. Written by Lewis Black – yeah, that one – this show will prove that even if you, or your parents, plan the perfect wedding; something is bound to go wrong.

Rounding out the season, “Sister Act,” which will just be getting off tour this year and just played four months ago at the Warner Theatre, will be a definite crowd pleaser. The musical, based on the movie starring Whoopi Goldberg, is one of the funniest shows I’ve seen all year and leaves audiences of all ages laughing hysterically.

The Playhouse almost added “Saturday Night Fever” to its lineup, but unfortunately, the show just announced a national tour.

Loop and Cooney performed in the presentation of “Night Fever” from “Saturday Night Fever.”

Youtheatre shows, which cast actors up to age 17, include “Honk!” “The Snow Queen” and “Rapunzel: A New Musical.”

The Rev. Shawn Clerkin, associate professor of theatre at Gannon University, and Andrew Rainbow will write “Rapunzel.”

The Playhouse’s season also features special events, including “A Rodgers and Hammerstein and Andrew Lloyd Webber Concert” on New Year’s Eve and “Sondheim on Sondheim,” a revue of the famous composer.



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