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'HOLMES AND CARTER', STRICTLY DISHONORABLE and More Set for East Lynne Theater's 35th Season

The award-winning Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company announces its 2015 Cape May Mainstage Season. This is ELTC's 35th year of delighting audiences with classic gems, a world premiere, and radio-style productions. The theme for 2015 is "Unexpected Encounters."

ELTC will be back on the boards on March 20-21 with "Holmes and Carter Mysteries," the eleventh anniversary of our vintage radio-style productions, with live sound effects and commercials, just in time for another Sherlock Holmes Weekend. Back-to-back in the same evening, "Sherlock Holmes Adventure of the Copper Beeches" and "Nick Carter and the Strange Dr. Devolo" are performed by the same six actors portraying a variety of roles in Holmes' Victorian England and Carter's Manhattan during World War II.

From June 17 - July 25, it's "Mr. Lincoln," selected to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the President's assassination. On Good Friday, April 14,1865, the President and Mrs. Lincoln were watching "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theatre when John Wilkes Booth aimed a pistol at Mr. Lincoln's head, and fired. In Herbert Mitgang's play, Lincoln's life flashes before him, from his early days as a lawyer, to President of the United States as the bullet does it dirty deed. During the 1980s, "Mr. Lincoln," starring British actor Roy Dotrice, was performed in four countries. It opened in Canada before moving to Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., and the Morosco Theater on Broadway. "Mr. Lincoln" was presented as the first Hallmark Hall of Fame drama on PBS. Tom Byrn who has performed in several ELTC productions including the highly acclaimed "Lost on the Natchez Trace" and "Within the Law," will be portraying Lincoln.

Next up is "Huckleberry Finn," a world premiere based on the Mark Twain classic, running from July 29 - September 5. "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is considered to be one of America's greatest books by today's critics and scholars, and Ernest Hemingway called it the one book from which "all modern American literature came." Huck, running away from his drunken father, meets Jim, a runaway slave, and their adventures on the Mississippi River begin. "Huckleberry Finn" is adapted by James Rana, who's other adaptations first produced by ELTC include the well-reviewed "Zorro!," "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," and "The Poe Mysteries." Among the cast are Leon Morgan, playing Jim, who was in ELTC's "Lost on the Natchez Trace," and Huck will be played by Evan Smilyk, who was in "Zorro!"

"Strictly Dishonorable" opened on Broadway to rave reviews in 1929, and ELTC presents it 86 years later from September 23 - October 17. An innocent Southern belle and her fiancé from West Orange, NJ step into a Manhattan speakeasy where they encounter its gracious manager and his employees, a clever judge, and a worldly Italian opera star. This sophisticated comedy by Preston Sturges explores the conflict between playing it safe and expanding one's horizons. By the end of 1929, Sturges was writing for Paramount, and soon after also directing his own films which include "The Great McGinty," "The Lady Eve," and "Sullivan's Travels."

On November 6 and 7, it's "Detectives Holmes and Carter," ELTC's radio-style production, with two new mysteries back-to-back on the same night: "Sherlock Holmes Adventure of the Red-Headed League" and "Nick Carter and the Voice of Crime," the 2nd-ever Carter radio mystery from 1943, used with permission by Conde Nast.

For the holidays from November 27 - December 12, it's "The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus," based on the L. Frank Baum ("The Wizard of Oz") classic tale that answers such questions as how Claus was raised, when did he make his first toy, and where did he obtain flying reindeer. This clever adaptation was created and will be performed by Gayle Stahlhuth. When ELTC last presented this one-person tour-de-force in 2010, it was designated an "American Masterpiece" as part of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) "Masterpieces Series."

ELTC will once again have the Student Summer Workshop in June and July, culminating in a performance. Other special events include a Sunday Silent Film Series in partnership with the Cape May Film Society and the 26th season of "Tales of the Victorians" which includes "Poe by Candlelight" on October 24. There will also be a staged reading of "Our American Cousin," and lectures and workshops. ELTC's Wildwood after-school program continues throughout the school year, and touring productions travel throughout the country.

Don't know what to give someone for the holidays? ELTC's 2015 Season tickets are available. See four exciting shows for only $80. Season tickets may be purchased at the box office, through ELTC's website, by phone, or by sending a check to the office: 121 Fourth Ave., West Cape May, NJ 08204. Season tickets are flexible, even allowing patrons to use all four for one performance if they wish. Ticket prices next year are $30 for general admission and $25 for seniors.

ELTC's current production, "Christmas in Wisconsin: Tales by Zona Gale" has its final performances this week: Thursday through Saturday, December 11-13 at 8:00 p.m., with a Saturday matinee also at 2:00 p.m. The location is The First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes Street, where the company is in residence. Tickets are $25, students $15, and veterans and those ages 12 and under are free. ELTC is collecting items for The Food Closet, and anyone brining an item worth $2.50 on Saturday night, will receive a coupon good for $5 off a single ticket in 2015: limit one coupon per family.

Pictured: The cast from this season's "Within the Law." Pictured are Thomas Raniszewski, Tom Byrn, Matt Baxter Luceno, and Meredith Lark. Photo by Gayle Stahlhuth.

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