By GUY D’ASTOLFO
The 2017-18 season at the Youngstown Playhouse will include the dark “August: Osage County,” the uproarious “Young Frankenstein” and the period musical “Bullets Over Broadway.”
Those three productions are among the highlights of a season that, as Playhouse operations manager James McClellan pointed out, includes works by some of the country’s top playwrights and entertainers.
Tracy Letts (“August: Osage County”), Edward Albee (“The Zoo Story”) and Tony Kushner (“Caroline, or Change”) are Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights.
Terrence McNally (“Deuce”) and composer Jeanine Tesori (“Caroline, or Change”) have won Tony Awards; Charles Dickens (“A Christmas Carol”) and Antoine de Saint-Exupery (“The Little Prince”) are literary giants; Joni Mitchell (“Women of Heart and Mind”) is an acclaimed songwriter and poet; and Mel Brooks (“Young Frankenstein”) and Woody Allen (“Bullets Over Broadway”) are comedy immortals.
Also on the schedule is a work by Youngstown playwright Richard Machuga, whose play “Remains” will be premiered during An Evening of One-Acts.
And interestingly, Jane Martin, who wrote “Keely and Du,” is actually a pseudonym for a writer whose identity is a secret.
In planning this season, one goal was to include titles that had never been seen at the Playhouse. With the exception of “The Zoo Story,” which the Playhouse produced in the 1960s, and “A Christmas Carol,” this goal was achieved.
An effort also was made to give audiences some fresh seasonal options.
“It’s fun to be doing ‘August: Osage County’ in August, and ‘Young Frankenstein’ is obviously timed to ring in Halloween, but there is also ‘Keely and Du,’ scheduled for Women’s History Month, and ‘Caroline, or Change’ will run during Black History Month,” said McClellan. “The Joni Mitchell revue, which is being created, staged and performed entirely by women, will play during Mother’s Day weekend.”
Season flex passes, which include six admissions and can be used for any show on the season, are already on sale. From now until the run of “Hairspray” (May 12-21), a discount of $5 is being applied to the purchase of flex passes; after that, they will be available at standard prices ($75 regular, $60 senior/student). Nonsubscriber individual ticket prices are $17 (regular), $14 (senior/student) and $12 (children).
Here is a breakdown of the Playhouse’s 2017-18 season:
“August: Osage County,” main stage, Aug. 18-20, 25-27: An Oklahoma family is forced to confront its sordid past and present in this Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning black comedy written by Tracy Letts.
An Evening of One-Acts: “The Zoo Story” and “Remains,” Moyer Room, Sept. 22-23, 28-30: Two actors perform Edward Albee’s classic confrontation between middle-class American and society’s outcasts in the first play. Local playwright Richard Machuga’s darkly funny exchange between friends contemplating the bitter end is the second play.
“Young Frankenstein,” main stage, Oct. 20-22, 27-29: A musical adaptation of Mel Brooks’ film spoof of the horror novel.
“Deuce,” Nov. 10-12, 17-19, Moyer Room: Two retired tennis legends reunite at a championship match in Terrence McNally’s warm and funny play.
“A Christmas Carol,” main stage, youth theater, Dec. 1-3, 8-10: Charles Dickens’ immortal holiday tale.
“Caroline, or Change,” main stage, Feb. 16-18, 23-25: Playwright Tony Kushner and composer Jeanine Tesori tell the musical story of a black maid working for a middle-class Jewish family in 1967 Louisiana.
“Keely & Du,” Moyer Room, March 16-17, 22-24: Playwright Jane Martin’s volatile drama about abortion. Du, a right-to-life activist, and Keely, the pregnant rape victim she is confining, transcend their circumstances.
“The Little Prince,” main stage, April 13-15, youth theater: Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s poetic tale about a pilot stranded in the desert who meets a young prince fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid.
“Women of Heart and Mind: The Songs of Joni Mitchell,” Moyer Room, May 4-6, 11-13: An all-female musical revue based on the songs of Joni Mitchell.
“Bullets Over Broadway,” main stage, June 1-3, 8-10: The gangster world meets the theater world in the Roaring ’20s in this musical adaptation of the Woody Allen movie.