New Musical MY 80-YEAR-OLD BOYFRIEND Closes MRT's Season

New Musical MY 80-YEAR-OLD BOYFRIEND Closes MRT's Season

Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) will wrap up its 2016-17 Season with the delightful new musical "My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend," based on the true story of performer Charissa Bertels. The show chronicles the unlikely friendship between twenty-something actress Charissa and eighty-something millionaire Milton, featuring a book and lyrics by Christian Duhamel, and music and lyrics by Edward Bell.

The 80-minute show will be performed without an intermission. Performances are April 26 - May 21. Press performances are at 8:00 pmon Saturday, April 29 (Opening Night), and 2:00 pm on Sunday, April 30. All performances will be held at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre, located at 50 East Merrimack Street in historic downtown Lowell. Tickets range from $70 - $26 and are on sale now atwww.mrt.org or by calling 978-654-4678.

More information is at www.mrt.org/Boyfriend.

"My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend" is not a love story; it is a story of an incredible, unlikely friendship. It is about what happens when we reach out to someone very different from us, with whom we might think we have nothing in common. Charissa and Milton's story is about discovering joy through close, personal connection, even in places you'd never expect to find it.

"When you meet someone of a much older, or much younger generation," reflects director Sean Daniels, "you assume that there's very little common ground-that there's nothing you can learn from their life. But when you stop and look closer, you may find endless points of connection you never dreamed were there. That's why this story works so well, especially right now: it shows how beautiful it can be when we extend ourselves with compassion and an open mind. It's very funny, but also full of warmth and depth. At every reading we've done, the people watching are laughing at the start, and in tears of joy by the end."

The first time Milton approaches struggling actress Charissa, she is peddling juice samples at a New York grocery store. She's not quite sure what to make of him when he approaches her-much less when he cracks jokes, recites poetry, or invites her back to his high rise apartment. But she reluctantly accepts the invitation, launching them both into an incredible journey of friendship and self-discovery that neither of them could have seen coming.

Cherished music and poetry are shared; old loves, hopes, and regrets are revisited; and with startling clarity, Charissa discovers anew what is most important in this life.

With a brilliant original score that juxtaposes a modern Broadway sound with classic show tune styles, "My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend" reveals the thrill of chasing a dream, the power of living in the now, and all that can happen when we let ourselves say "Yes."

"My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend" is produced by special arrangement with Peilin Chou.

In addition to producing theatre, Peilin is Head of Creative at Dreamworks Animation Shanghai, where she oversees the development and production of all the studio's feature films.

Charissa Bertels recently toured the country in the first national tour of "If/Then," and made her Broadway debut in the original Broadway cast of the Tony-Nominated "A Christmas Story." As part of the singing ensemble for New York City Center Encores' productions of "Gentleman Prefer Blondes" and "Lady Be Good," her work can be heard on the subsequent cast recordings, featuring Megan Hilty and the legendary Tommy Tune.

Christian Duhamel (Book and Lyrics) has earned awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and Music Theatre Ventures' Young Creators Award, and was a finalist for the David Mark Cohen Playwriting Award as well as the National Playwriting Award.

UK-based composer and lyricist Edward Bell (Music and Lyrics) has had works produced by ADC Theatre Cambridge and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Royal College of Music, and The Battersea Barge. He runs The Song Foundry, a startup in global songwriting education. His first, book, "The Art of Songwriting," is due for publication in July 2017.

Director Sean Daniels is joined by a creative team that includes Kevin David Thomas (Music Director), Neil Patel (Sets), Brian J. Lilienthal (Lighting), Gregory A. Poplyk (Costumes), and Daniel Erdberg (Sound).

Tickets range from $70 - $26 and are available at www.mrt.org or by calling 978-654-4678. A senior discount is offered for 10% off adult ticket prices. Student tickets are $15. Group discounts are available for groups of six or more by calling 978-654-7561. $5 Night:Wednesday, April 26 at 7:30 pm. Patrons may purchase tickets for $5, cash only, at the Box Office between 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm. Limit 2 tickets per person.?Lowell Night: Wednesday, May 3 at 7:30 pm. Lowell residents may purchase tickets for $10 at the box office from4:30 pm-7:30 pm. Proper ID required, limit 2 per person. A Military Discount of $10 off per ticket (up to four tickets per production) applies to any performance for active duty, retired, veteran, and reservist members of the military.

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