Bucks County Playhouse Announces 80th Aniversary Season; Directors Include Lorin Latarro, John Tartaglia, Mike Donahue and More
The Bucks County Playhouse has announced titles and creative teams for the theater's 80th anniversary season, which will launch May 17.
"For most of its storied history, Bucks County Playhouse has attracted incredible artists, not only to appear onstage, but also for their directorial talent," says Robyn Goodman, Executive Producer. "We are very pleased to have this incredible group of directors helm our 2019 season. We look forward to seeing the energy, ideas and enthusiasm each of them brings to these well-loved and highly anticipated shows."
The 2019 season will kick off with the nail-biting thriller "Dial M for Murder." Mike Donahue (The Off-Broadway hit, "The Legend of Georgia McBride") will direct the production, which will run May 17 - June 15.
The Playhouse will follow up its two 2018 successes with "Mamma Mia!," the international phenomena, which will be the largest musical produced at the historic venue since reopening in 2012. Tony-nominated actor, John Tartaglia (original star of Broadway's "Avenue Q") will direct with choreography by Broadway veteran, Shannon Lewis ("Fosse"). Will Shuler is musical director.
Ted Swindley's "Always ... Patsy Cline," a musical focusing on the friendship between the country music icon and a Texas housewife, will star Sally Struthers (BCP's "Clue: On Stage") and Carter Calvert and feature direction by David Galligan. Performances are August 9 - September 7. Will Shuler is musical director.
The producers also announced the return of two shows off subscription: The Playhouse's production of "Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show," with choreography by Latarro and direction by Hunter Foster, from October 11 - 27; and the return of Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen's "Ebenezer Scrooge's Big Playhouse Christmas Show" with direction by Greenberg, December 6 - 29. Both productions have become Playhouse traditions.
"With box office record-breaking productions of '42nd Street' and 'Million Dollar Quartet', our 2018 season was a resounding success. More than 30% of our audience were first-time ticket buyers last year - more than any other time in the Playhouse's 80-year history," says Producer Josh Fiedler. "This 2019 season reflects this growth and shows our commitment to reward audiences - old and new - with a high-quality theater experience."
Aside from the mainstage season, the Playhouse will observe its 80th anniversary with a series of benefit readings as part of its Play Discovery Reading Series. Curated by Marsha Mason, the series continues with upcoming readings of "The Man Who Came to Dinner" and "Lion In Winter." This summer, the Playhouse will produce its annual Oscar Hammerstein Festival - a weekend of special events devoted to musical theater and the importance of lyric writing. The centerpiece of the Playhouse's 80th celebration will be a riverfront gala at the Playhouse in September that will also officially unveil a revitalized New Hope waterfront. Details on all these events will be announced soon.
"Founded in a converted 1790 gristmill, Bucks County Playhouse quickly earned a reputation as one of the most famous theaters in America. Artists from New York and Hollywood came here to escape the summer heat and apply their craft for excited and receptive audiences," says Alexander Fraser, Producing Director. "Our 2019 season celebrates the great heritage of the Playhouse, while keeping an eye squarely on the future. The community has embraced the newly invigorated Playhouse. We can't wait to share this season, and these celebratory events, with our growing audiences."
Season tickets are now available and start at $200 for four shows. Single tickets for "Dial M for Murder" are currently on sale. All other single tickets to 2019 season productions go on sale April. All play titles, artists, and dates are subject to change. Details on casting will be announced soon. For tickets and information, visit www.BucksCountyPlayhouse.org or call 215-862-2121.
Dial M for Murder
May 17 - June 15
Directed by Mike Donahue
"Dial M for Murder" is a timeless masterpiece of nail-biting suspense. Tony believes he has plotted the perfect crime. When the tables are turned, however, Tony will stop at nothing to make sure his plans succeed. The play that inspired Hitchcock's classic film weaves an ever-tightening web of danger and deception that will keep you hooked from start all the way up to the breathtaking final curtain.
June 28 - August 3
Music & Lyrics by Benny Anderson & Björn Ulvaeus
Additional Material/Arrangements by Martin Koch
Directed by John Tartaglia
Choreographed by Shannon Lewis
"Mamma Mia!" is the world-wide sensation that has audiences dancing everywhere! On the eve of her wedding, Sophie invites three men from her mother's past to try to discover the identity of her father. Told through the music of ABBA, it features 22 of their greatest hits such hits as "Voulez Vous," "Take a Chance on Me," and "Dancing Queen" - growing into a finale you simply can't resist!
Always . . . Patsy Cline
August 9 - September 7
Based on a true story
By Ted Swindley
Directed by David Galligan
Musical Direction by Will Shuler
Scenic Design by Campbell Baird
Lighting Design by Michael Gilliam
Based on a true-story, "Always ... Patsy Cline" is a showcase for 27 songs including "Crazy," "I Fall to Pieces," and many more! After hearing Cline on the radio in 1957, housewife Louise Seger became an immediate, avid fan. A chance meeting at a concert brought them face to face. Over a pot of coffee, they forged a bond that would last until Cline's tragic death in 1963. "Always ... Patsy Cline" is a valentine to their friendship and a tribute to a great American music icon.
Once: The Musical
November 8 - 30
Book by Enda Walsh
Music & Lyrics by Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová
Based on the acclaimed motion picture that was written and directed by John Carney
Directed and Choreographed by Lorin Latarro
Performed by a talented cast of actor-musicians, the Tony-winning best musical, "Once," tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician and part-time vacuum repair-man, Guy. He is about to give up on his musical dream when a beautiful young Czech immigrant, Girl, takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. As the chemistry between them grows, Guy's music soars to powerful new heights. When an opportunity arises in America for Guy, will Girl let him know how she truly feels?
Bucks County Playhouse is a year-round, nonprofit theatre that has grown to a $6 million producing organization with an annual audience of over 73,000. Founded in 1939 in a converted 1790 gristmill, Bucks County Playhouse quickly became "the most famous summer theatre in America," featuring a roster of American theatrical royalty including Helen Hayes, George S. Kaufman, Moss Hart, Kitty Carlisle, Angela Lansbury, Alan Alda, Tyne Daly, Bernadette Peters, and Liza Minnelli and remained in continuous operation until 2010. In 2012, the Playhouse re-opened after a multi-million-dollar restoration thanks to the efforts of the Bridge Street Foundation, the nonprofit family foundation of Kevin and Sherri Daugherty, and Broadway producer Jed Bernstein. Now open, the Playhouse just unveiled a 4,000 square foot Delaware-river facing restaurant and bar expansion.
In 2014, Tony Award-winning producers Alexander Fraser and Robyn Goodman took the helm of the Playhouse, and today the Playhouse has reclaimed its reputation of attracting Broadway and Hollywood artists. Its productions of "Company" starring Justin Guarini, and William Finn's "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" were named by Wall Street Journal to its "Best of Theatre" list for 2015. The 2017 season included four world premieres and audiences grew by over 34%. Box office records have been repeatedly broken by Signature Productions of "Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story," "Steel Magnolias" directed by Marsha Mason, and "Million Dollar Quartet," "42nd Street," and "Guys & Dolls" directed by Hunter Foster. The creative teams who come to create new productions at the Playhouse are among the most talented artists working in the professional theatre today and relish the opportunity to work on the historic stage where Grace Kelly, Robert Redford, and Jessica Walter began their careers.