XANADU, THE WIZARD OF OZ and More Announced for Cortland Repertory Theatre's 2023 Summer Season

Kicking off the season from June 7-16 is the “return” of Agatha Christie's MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS

By: Nov. 30, 2022
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Cortland Repertory Theatre is announcing their 51st Anniversary summer season to be held at the Little York Pavilion in Preble, NY in 2023.

The season will run from June 7 - August 19 and will contain three plays and two musicals. Producing Artistic Director Kerby Thompson explains that "as always, CRT strives to offer a variety of fun summer shows for our patrons in order to appeal to a wide range of tastes in live theatre." Thompson says he is particularly excited about this season's selections.

Kicking off the season from June 7-16 is the "return" of Agatha Christie's MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS as adapted by playwright Ken Ludwig. During the summer of 2022, because of several Covid cases among the cast and crew, only two performances were completed. Thompson explains that the set, props and costumes are currently being stored over the winter, and most of the cast have already agreed to return to tell this exciting classic Christie mystery. The story: On a winter's evening in 1934, a snowdrift stops the luxurious Orient Express, literally in its tracks. By morning, it is one passenger less; an American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed, his door locked from the inside. With a long list of suspects, detective Hercule Poirot must identify the murderer before they strike again.

From June 21 - 30, CRT presents the musical XANADU, with a book by Douglas Carter Beane and music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar. This stage adaptation is based on the 1980 cult classic Universal Pictures film, which had a screenplay by Richard Danus and Marc Rubel, and starred Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly. In this Tony-Award-nominated show, beautiful Greek muse, Kira, descends from the heavens of Mount Olympus to Venice Beach, California, on a quest to inspire struggling artist Sonny to achieve the greatest artistic creation of all time - the first roller disco. But when Kira falls into forbidden love with the mortal Sonny, her jealous sisters take advantage of the situation, and hilarious chaos abounds. The shows features early '80's pop songs including Have You Never Been Mellow?, Evil Woman, Strange Magic, All Over the World, Don't Walk Away and more.

A CRT "revival" of one of our most popular comedies is planned for July 5 - 15; UNNECESSARY FARCE, by Paul Slade Smith. In this hilarious comedy, an embezzling mayor is meeting with his accountant in a cheap motel room, while in the room next door, two undercover police officers wait to catch it all on videotape. However, there's some confusion as to who's in which room, who's being videotaped, who's taken the money, and who's hired a Scottish hit man. Thompson, who directed CRT's production in 2009, says it's one of the funniest comedies he's ever seen.

Running from July 19 - 28 is the regional premiere of another cancelled CRT production, originally planned for 2020 season. THE CAKE is a new, timely comedy by Bekah Brunstetter in which faith, family and frosting collide. Della has a pretty good life. She's been happily married to her husband, Tim, for years, her North Carolina bakery is legendary, and she's just been cast on her favorite television show "The Big American Bake-Off". She is overjoyed when her late best friend's daughter, Jen, whom she helped raise, returns home from NYC to get married. There's no question that Della will provide the wedding cake, until she discovers that there's not one bride in this wedding, but two. Della must then re-examine her own deeply held beliefs and ultimately, her own marriage.

Wrapping up the summer, from August 2 - 19, CRT presents their unique, magical telling of L. Frank Baum's classic story THE WIZARD OF OZ, with music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg. Background music was written by Herbert Stothart, dance and vocal arrangements by Peter Howard and orchestrations by Larry Wilcox. This stage version was adapted by John Kane for the Royal Shakespeare Company and is based upon the classic movie, owned by Turner Entertainment Co. and distributed in all media by Warner Bros. Ever since the movie first delighted audiences in 1939, this glorious musical fantasy continues to thrill kids and adults alike worldwide. Featuring the iconic musical score, this timeless tale includes the Academy Award winning Over the Rainbow, plus Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead, If I Only Had a Brain, We're Off to See the Wizard, and more family favorites. This production is planned to be a beautiful, one-of-a-kind experience on CRT's intimate stage.

CRT is currently selling 5-show summer subscriptions along with 5- or 6- pack Flex Passes. The 5-show subscription allows the patron to see all 5 productions; the Flex Passes allow the purchaser to choose the shows they see. Special pricing is available for Youth (22 and under) Flex Passes. CRT's new Gift Cards are available for any dollar amount and will not have an expiration date. Individual tickets will go on sale starting May 22, 2023 at CRT Downtown, 24-26 Port Watson Street in Cortland. Discounts on tickets will be available for seniors (62 and up), military/veterans and first responders. Current box office hours are Mon-Fri, 9:00-4:00; summer hours will be extended starting on May 22 to Mon-Fri 9:00 - 6:00, Saturdays noon-6:00. More information can be found online at www.cortlandrep.org or by calling 800-427-6160.