Pantochino Announces 2019/20 Season
Award-winning Pantochino Productions Inc., Milford's professional not-for-profit theatre for family audiences, has announced its 2019-20 season which includes a new musical based on the legend and lore of local landmark Charles Island. The company will continue its partnership with the Milford Arts Council with all performances at the MAC in Downtown Milford.
The season opens October 18 with "The Wicked Witch of the West: Kansas or Bust," having made its debut here in 2014. An audience favorite, the characters from Oz follow Dorothy back Kanas along with the Wicked Witch in search of her broom and slippers. The show garnered five Broadway World Awards and has gone on to play theaters across the country and internationally.
"It's perhaps our funniest musical," said playwright/producer Bert Bernardi. "It's fun to see these familiar characters in a brand new situation, and audiences of all ages respond with hearty laughter."
Written by Bernardi with music by long-time collaborator Justin Rugg, the show is licensed by Stage Rights. Sponsored by Hoffman Energy, "The Wicked Witch of the West: Kansas or Bust" is on stage at the MAC October 18-27.
For the holidays, the company will present the world premiere of "The Gingerbreads of Broadway." The tuneful new musical follows a family of gingerbread performers from Vaudeville as they gain popularity and set their sights on the great white way. The backstage fantasy features a special theatrical producer who helps the gingerbreads, and just might be Mrs. Claus! The production plays December 6 - 22 and is sponsored by Berchem Moses PC.
A special holiday cabaret is also on the boards this year as Pantochino presents "Christmas Cocktails," an evening of holiday tunes, sing-a-longs, comedy and other surprises. Featuring cabaret seating, audiences are encouraged to bring their own holiday snacks and cheer to enjoy during the show which is geared for adult audiences. The show will be performed December 13 and 20.
In February, Pantochino Teen Theatre returns with the popular Broadway musical, "Pippin." The 1972 musical features music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Roger O. Hirson and Bob Fosse. "Pippin" is the story of a prince who learns the true meaning of glory, love and war. The unforgettable musical masterpiece will be performed by Pantochino's acclaimed Teen Theatre program featuring young actors ages 12 to 18. Performances are February 29 and March 1 and is sponsored by The Milford Bank.
A special event, "1970," will play a limited run March 27 and 28. The show musically looks back on the way we were through the eyes of the way we are. The songs from 1970 are sung and interpreted by children and teens with some surprise guest artists. "Our theme this season is 'Reflecting on our past while looking on to the future,' and I can't think of a more appropriate piece-we are so excited for this show," said Bernardi.
The history, stories, facts, legends and lore of Milford's Charles Island is the inspiration for the new musical "Checking in on Charles." The riotously funny story is all about an Inn, its keeper and the rest of the world all vying for a piece of this tiny island in Long Island Sound.
"We are so excited to tell this fictitious and factual story that takes place right here in Milford," said co-producer Jimmy Johansmeyer. "Charles Island is such a storied place, and we can't wait to share this one with our audiences." It will play April 24-May 10.
Pantochino's 2019-20 season will be dedicated to the memory of Evan Faram, a young actor who appeared in many of Pantochino's original musicals during the company's infancy including "Teen Santa," "The Groovy Ghoulies" and "Special Breakfast."
In a statement, the producers said "Evan was more than just an actor. He was a very special force-a cheerleader, supporter, and unforgettable part of this company. He will forever be with us in spirit."
Pantochino's partnership with the MAC will bring another installment of the sold out Nite Spot Nights series, featuring the best of Manhattan's cabaret scene. The roster of guest artists this year are Stephen Brinberg as "Simply Barbra" in a salute to the 50th anniversary of her "Hello Dolly" film, the return of Piano Bar Night featuring the multi-talented Broadway pianist Michael McAssey, Tony-Award Nominee Sally Mayes, and the powerhouse duo of Branden & James.
Pantochino Productions Inc. is a professional, not-for-profit theatre company for family audiences based in Milford. Its mission is to entertain, engage and enrich family audiences with an affordable array of new musical theatre entertainment. Founded in 2010, the company has been honored with several awards including Broadway World Connecticut's Best Professional Theatre Award, Best Musical Award and Best Family Musical, among others. The company also received the Cultural Contribution Award of Distinction 2017 from the Milford Regional Chamber of Commerce. In addition to its original musicals, the company also produces an acclaimed Teen Theatre, a popular After School Drama Club series, and with the Milford Arts Council presents Summer Theatre Camps and Nite Spot Nights series.
Tickets for all performances will be on sale August 1st. l Cafe seating is featured at all performances with table seating. Audiences are invited to bring their own food and drink to enjoy during the performance. The intimate MAC in Downtown Milford offers excellent acoustics, a 'Speakeasy' and free parking in the train station lots during performance times. More details on all of Pantochino's productions can be found online at www.pantochino.com.