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PhoenixPhest brings live theatre to Downtown Merced

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Starting June 14 and running through July 28, PhoenixPhest 2019 will be bringing a series of live theatre pieces to the Merced Arts Center’s Black Box Theatre. This new repertory theatre event consists of three pieces of live theatre, each running one weekend in June and one weekend in July.

The hit musical “Mamma Mia!” had its initial run from June 14 to June 16 and will be returning on July 12 to July 14; the fantastical comedy “She Kills Monsters” had its first run this past weekend and will come back to the stage from July 19 to July 21; and the classic mystery “Murder on the Orient Express” will run from June 28 to June 30 and again from July 26 until July 28.

“Mamma Mia!” is the story of a young woman who is determined to learn the identity of her father before her upcoming wedding in the hopes that he will walk her down the aisle. The ensuing chaos reignites romances, brings back old hopes and dreams, and results in a series of misunderstandings and revelations that will change everyone’s lives forever. With everything set to the sounds of well-known hits like “Dancing Queen,” “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” and “Take a Chance on Me,” the show is incredibly fun from beginning to end.

“She Kills Monsters,” took to the Merced Arts Center stage over the weekend. A fierce comedy with a beautifully crafted plot, the second play of PhoenixPhest 2019 tells an action-packed story about Agnes Evans. Evans finds herself diving into the world of Dungeons and Dragons in an attempt to get to know her sister, who has died in a tragic accident. What follows is a story half set in the real world and half in a fantasy role-playing game, with amazing characters and crazy comedy bridging the gap between them. Written by the acclaimed playwright Qui Nguyen, “She Kills Monsters” is quickly becoming a classic of contemporary theatre, and one of the most popular new plays of the last few years.

“Murder on the Orient Express” is an adaptation of the classic Agatha Christie murder mystery which centers around a murder that happens on a luxury train. With everyone on board a suspect, detective Hercules Poirot must maneuver the threats, quirks, and egos of his fellow passengers as he attempts to solve the homicide under difficult circumstances. Adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig, the story is told with humor and sincerity in equal parts and features a stunning cast from throughout the Central Valley.

All shows in PhoenixPhest 2019 will run Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 and Sundays at 2:00. Tickets are just $15 for general admission and $10 for students, and are available at, by calling (209) 643-5880, and at the door until all seats are sold out. All performances will be held at The Merced Multicultural Arts Center at 645 W. Main St. in Merced.

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