Playhouse Merced has revealed the shows of its upcoming 29th Season titled “Into the Unknown.”
The big reveal was made during the annual Season Preview Show on the Playhouse Stage on May 6. The special occasion was highlighted by Playhouse cast members performing a selection of dramatic scenes and musical numbers from the new roster.
“This season will be a collection of new and familiar titles — a little bit of something for everyone,” said G.B. Blackmon II, the artistic director at Playhouse. “This season’s offerings are full of heart, soul and joy, and we can’t wait to have the community participate and witness all the wonderful opportunities we have in store.”
Playhouse Merced was packed for the preview with longtime patrons, associates, sponsors, as well as notable dignitaries. The preview night also gives the Playhouse operations staff a chance to recognize supporters as well as update the community about overall progress and future plans. Blackmon was joined by Luanalei Turetzky, the director of Education and Youth Programs, who also thanked community supporters.
Here’s a look at what’s coming up:
- AUGUST: “We are Merced” — This is a cultural focused event that offers the community a chance to learn more about and experience the beauty of a variety of cultures from across the world that have a presence right here in town.
- SEPTEMBER: “I Miss You Like Hell” — When a whip-smart, deeply imaginative teenager agrees to take a road trip with her free-spirited Latina mother, neither can imagine where it will take them. Chance encounters with a medley of characters along the way brings them closer to understanding what sets them apart—and what connects them forever. At the heart of the story is a mother-daughter relationship complicated and threatened by immigration policies.
- OCTOBER: “Firebringer” — At the dawn of humanity, one tribe of cave-people survived the many trials of prehistoric life under the wise leadership of Jemilla, The Peacemaker. Jemilla taught her people to express themselves, rather than bashing each others’ heads with rocks and eating each others’ babies. But one member of the tribe doesn’t seem to fit in, our Protagonist Zazzalil. While out hatching her latest scheme, Zazzalil stumbles upon the most important discovery in history. One that will pit her tribe against wooly mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, and change the world forever.
- NOVEMBER: “Perennial Holiday One Acts” – Led by the fabulous Perennial Players, selections will include “An Old Fashioned Christmas,” “The Christmas Chuppah: A Live Radio Play” by Marc Medefind, and “REGIFT.”
- ALSO: Elf the Musical — Buddy, a young orphan, mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The would-be elf is raised, unaware that he is actually a human until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity.”
- DECEMBER: “A Charlie Brown Christmas” – This is a critically acclaimed holiday celebration that the whole family can enjoy. It brings Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, and the rest of the Peanuts gang together live on stage as they uncover the true meaning of Christmas and perform songs from the unforgettable musical score in a tribute to the legendary composer Vince Guaraldi.
- JANUARY 2024: “Romeo & Juliet” – Coming to the mainstage is an age-old vendetta between two powerful families that erupts into bloodshed. Most are familiar with the story of the long feud between the Montague and Capulet families, causing tragic results for the two star crossed lovers. However, this retelling provides a mature perspective of this well-known classic. The story evolves into the same revenge, love, and secret marriage, and it now forces our paramours to succumb to a similar fate of despair. This collaboration between Shakespearefest, Playhouse and the Perennial players will give this story new life and put a unique twist on the beloved tale.
- ALSO: “Merced Feud” – This fan favorite game show experience is coming back, and they are actively looking for businesses that may be interested in playing. If you are interested, contact their box office at (209) 725-8587 or [email protected]
- FEBRUARY 2024: “Real Women Have Curves” – Set in a tiny sewing factory in East L.A., this outrageously funny story involves five full-figured Mexican-American women who are racing to meet nearly impossible production deadlines in order to keep their tiny factory from going under. And while they work, hiding from the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service), they talk about their husbands and lovers, their children, and their dreams for the future.
- MARCH 2024: “The Sound of Waves Crashing on an Island of Broken Glass” – This is a new play written by local artist, photographer and writer Shawn Overton. His poignant story of a teenager’s life being disrupted after eight years without leaving the house, by the arrival of her grandfather in chains, who starts her on a path of trying to understand her family. As she learns their dark secrets and why they have been in hiding for more than half her life, she must decide whether to remain part of the family or leave them behind forever. As she becomes increasingly unhappy about her isolation, it becomes clear that leaving isn’t just a matter of being part of the world, it’s a matter of life and death.
- APRIL 2024: “Marry Poppins Jr.” – This spring offering is based on one of the most popular Disney movies of all time. It starts with Jack-of-all trades, Bert. He introduces the audience to England in 1910 and the troubled Banks family. Young Jane and Michael have sent many a nanny packing. Using a combination of magic and common sense, a new nanny must teach the family members how to value each other again.
- MAY 2024: “The Music Man” – The season closer is family entertainment at its best. This six-time Tony Award-winning musical comedy has been entertaining audiences since 1957 and is a family-friendly story to be shared with every generation.
- JUNE 2024: “Duke Ellington Sacred Concert” – This concert is an incredible chance for people to celebrate Juneteenth, Jazz, as well as experience the legendary work of Duke Ellington performed live.
- ALSO: “The Claw” – What happens when an out-of-order claw game suddenly turns back on — all of the toys are ecstatic! Well … all of the toys except for Dot, a terrified stuffed cow. Dot’s desperate to hold onto her home and her best friend, Aiden. Can Dot conquer her fear of the unknown with some help from the Flair Bears, Mighty Mutant Power Turtles, Beanie Elders, and the all-knowing Mystical 8-ball?
- JULY 2024: “Mean Girls Jr.” – The Plastics have deemed Broadway Junior worthy of their presence! This “fetch” musical from book writer Tina Fey (30 Rock), lyricist Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde) and composer Jeff Richmond (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) is packed with keen wit, an undeniably catchy score, and a sincere message for everyone. ”