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Summer Stages: BWW's Top Summer Theatre Picks - Central New York!

Comedy and suspense are on the menu for theater in Central New York this summer. With contemporary shows in the Finger Lakes area as well as in Ithaca and Syracuse, these performances promise to deliver the right amount of zany qualities.

1. June 1-16 at 8 p.m. Rarely Done presents the musical comedy BUNKED! about five summer camp counselors coming of age during the summer before they start college. The show was a hit at Fringe NYC 2010 and deals with sexuality, drug use, religion and the conflict between personal happiness and conforming to parental expectations. This contemporary musical has book & lyrics by ALaina Kunin & Bradford Proctor, music by Bradford Proctor and is directed by Dan Tursi with musical director Chris Widomski. Performances are Friday and Saturday nights at CNY Jazz Arts Foundation (441 E. Washington St. Syracuse, N.Y. 13202), and tickets can be purchased at the Foundation’s box office.

2. Ithaca’s Kitchen Theatre Company is a small professional theater with a reputation for doing top-notch work with contemporary themes. That’s why this summer’s production of MRS. MANNERLY written by esteemed playwright Jeffrey Hatcher, and directed by Margarett Perry seems an odd choice for the theatre. This modern comedy-of-manners is about the title character’s charm school gone awry when a 10-year-old boy makes it his mission to be the first student to get a perfect score on the etiquette test. The show runs July 4-22 at the Kitchen (417 W. State / W. MLK, Jr. Street, Ithaca, N.Y. 14850).

3. In its regional premiere Merry-Go-Round Playhouse presents 9 TO 5: THE MUSICAL, with lyrics and composition by country singer Dolly Parton who starred in the 1980 film version. The musical written by Patricia Resnick, who also wrote the film, is about three women fed up with being looked over for promotions and being patronized by their chauvinistic boss at Consolidated Industries. Merry-Go-Round continues to bring Broadway to upstate New York in 9 TO 5: THE MUSICAL, running June 27- July 18. All performances are at Merry-Go-Round Playhouse (6877 East Lake Road (Rt. 38A), Auburn, N.Y. 13021). For tickets call (315) 255-1785.

4. An adaptation of mystery novelist Agatha Christie’s book Five Little Pigs, GO BACK FOR MURDER is on at Bristol VAlley Theatre in Naples July 12-22. On Carla Crale’s 21st birthday she discovers that the mother she thought died in an accident actually died in prison – convicted for murdering Carla’s father. In a state of disbelief Carla reaches out to an attorney and 16 people who were present the day of her father’s death to try to prove her mother’s innocence. The novel is the last in her popular Detective Poirot series and was adapted into the script GO BACK FOR MURDER by Christie in 1960. Tickets are available at the box office at 151 South Main Street, Naples, N.Y. 14512 or by calling (585) 374- 6318.

5. “There’s nothing more boring than narcissism - the tragedy of being totally… me. We’re all capable of it. And we all know examples of it - these beautiful tragedies…. I loathe narcissism, but I approve of vanity.” --Diana Vreeland

Embodying an icon on stage requires the right look, takes a lot of research, and in the case of FULL GALLOP the ability to work high fashion. This one-woman show about fashion icon, designer and journalist Diana Vreeland, who wrote for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Allure is a must-see at Ithaca’s Hangar Theatre. The show, written by Mark Hampton and Mary Louise Wilson, directed by Hangar’s artistic director Peter Flynn and starring three-time Tony-nominated actress Dee Hoty, runs August 2-11. For ticket information visit Center Ithaca on the Downtown Ithaca Commons (171 E. State Street, Ithaca, NY 14850) or call (607) 273-8588.

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