1) PETER AND THE STARCATCHER – MULTIPLE THEATRES
Without a doubt, “Peter and the Starcatcher” is the hottest play property this season. This 2012 Tony-winning play by Rick Elice (“Jersey Boys”) with some music by Wayne Barker is based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. “Peter and the Starcatcher” chronicles the adventures of an orphan, soon to be called Peter Pan, and Molly, a girl charged to protect a parcel of stardust from falling into the wrong hands. A dozen actors play more than a hundred unforgettable characters employing ingenious stagecraft and the limitless possibilities of the imagination.
Little Theater of Gastonia is the first area production launching Sept. 22-Oct. 1 with the Woodmont High Wildcat Players in Anderson under Jonathan Long’s staging Oct. 7-9, and Tryon Little Theater following suit on Nov. 10-20. Two large houses will stage “Peter and the Starcatcher” in the Winter/Spring with Greenville Little Theatre opening Feb. 24 for a three week run followed by Asheville Community Theatre on March 30-April 15. In addition, Limestone College runs “Peter” on April 20-23, 2017.
If that’s not enough of the boy who never grew up, the musical version of “Finding Neverland,” based on the film with Johnny Depp, flies into the Peace Center July 25-30, 2017.
2) THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHTTIME – PEACE CENTER
Non-local productions normally are not included on this list but the Peace Center, in a rare programming move, has booked this 2015 Tony Award Winner for Best New Play. This adaptation by Simon Stephens of Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel just ended its Broadway run at the Barrymore Theatre on Sept. 4 and hits the Peace Center on Oct. 15. Fifteen-year-old Christopher has an extraordinary brain; he is exceptionally intelligent but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. When he falls under suspicion for killing his neighbor’s dog, he sets out to identify the true culprit, which leads to an earth-shattering discovery and a journey that will change his life forever. Opens Oct. 15.
3) IMPORTANT HATS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY – WAREHOUSE THEATRE
Written by Nick Jones, this theatrical sci-fi farce is like no other. Sam Greevy is the hottest fashion designer in 1930’s New York. At least he is until upstart rival Paul Roms begins releasing fantastically strange but popular pieces like “sweatshirts,” “tracksuits” and “skater pants.” Soon Greevy discovers the secret behind Roms’ design inspirations and learns where and more importantly “from when” these wild styles are coming. The hilarious rivalry turns into a battle for the very future of humankind, and more importantly, fashion! Jan. 29-Feb. 18, 2017.
4) SOUVENIR: A FANTASIA ON THE LIFE OF FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS – NORTH CAROLINA STAGE COMPANY
The Flat Rock Playhouse staged this play by Stephen Temperley in 2013, as did Centre Stage in 2009, but with Meryl Streep certain to earn her 20th Oscar nomination for playing the world’s worst opera singer in teh filem “Florence Foster Jenkins,” this biographical comedy deserves a new look. “Souvenir” follows the eccentric socialite, who lives under the delusion that she is an enchanting coloratura soprano when she is actually incapable of holding pitch. “Souvenir” runs March 15-April 2 at NC Stage Company in Asheville.
5) IS HE DEAD? – CENTRE STAGE
Mark Twain’s brilliant, but rarely-seen stage comedy adapted by David Ives is the hilarious story of a talented young painter named Jean-Francois Millet, who is deeply in love, but deeply in debt. To escape his money woes and become rich and famous, he fakes his own death and masquerades as his ‘country sister’. Now a rich widow, he must find a way to get out of a dress, return to his life, and marry his true love. Directed by John Fagan and starring Dave LaPage, “Is He Dead?” runs Sept. 8-24.
6) IN THE NEXT ROOM OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY – WAREHOUSE THEATRE
If you liked the film “Hysteria,” you’ll love “In The Next Room Or The Vibrator Play,” directed by Kerrie Seymour. A Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Sarah Ruhl’s comedy is set in the 1880s at the dawn of electricity where an innocent and gentlemanly scientist named Dr. Givings invents a new device to treat hysteria in women and men. It’s called a vibrator. When his latest patient brings her own complicated marriage and sufferings to the Givings’ home, Dr. and Mrs. Givings confront the fragility of their own union and discover the truth depths of real love. “In the Next Room” plays Dec. 2-18 and features Amanda Sox, Matt Reece, Thomas Azar, Maegan Azar, Tara Rison, Christopher Joel Onken, and Laura Depta.
7) A FEW GOOD MEN – SPARTANBURG LITTLE THEATRE
Can you handle the truth? This Broadway hit by Aaron Sorkin is based on his screenplay for the Oscar-nominated film with Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson about the trial of two Marines for complicity in the death of a fellow Marine at Guantanamo Bay. The Navy lawyer, a callow young man more interested in softball games than the case, expects a plea bargain instead of a cover up of what really happened. Prodded by a female member of his defense team, the lawyer eventually makes a valiant effort to defend his clients and, in so doing, puts the military mentality and the Marine code of honor on trial. Joh Fagan directs this play Nov. 4-13.
8) DELIKATESSEN – CENTRE STAGE
When a landmark New York City delicatessen falls on hard times in 1972, the Jewish owners, both concentration camp survivors, are stunned to discover a new, German delicatessen preparing to open its doors across the street. Richard Atkins’ “DeliKateSSen” is directed by Mark Medoff and shows May 11 – 21, 2017.
9) OF MICE AND MEN – MILL TOWN PLAYERS
John Steinbeck’s play about two migrant farm workers in the Depression comes to life Oct. 28-Nov. 6 at the historic Pelzer Auditorium.
10) I’LL BE BACK BEFORE MIDNIGHT – GREENVILLE LITTLE THEATRE
Scream, laugh, scream again, and hang onto your seat! “I’ll Be Back Before Midnight” by Peter Colley has it all: an isolated farmhouse, the hilarious and eccentric neighbor, a malevolent ghost, a manipulative sister, and tales of murder. The plot takes unexpected twists and turns for a night of unforgettable suspense on Oct. 28 – Nov. 13.
11) AN ACT OF GOD – QUEEN CITY THEATRE
David Javerbaum’s Broadway hit comes to the Queen City Theatre in Charlotte Feb. 2-11, 2017. The One with the first and last word on everything has finally arrived to set the record straight and whilst he is at it, deliver a new and improved set of Commandments. After many millennia, and in just 90 minutes, God (assisted by His devoted angels) answers some of the deepest existential questions and mysteries that have plagued mankind since Creation.
11) DEFYING GRAVITY – LITTLE THEATER OF GASTONIA
This free structured look at the 1986 Challenger disaster by Jane Anderson places the teacher who died with six others as they hurtled into space at the center of an exploration of our need to reach beyond ourselves and dare the universe. “Defying Gravity” artfully interweaves the past with the present and the lives of participants and bystanders, drawing parallels among painter Claude Monet’s artistic quest, the zest of the teacher selected to the first civilian astronaut, the perspectives of her grieving daughter, the aspirations of elderly tourists who drive their Winnebago to Florida to watch the space shot and dream of hotels in space, the guilt felt by a NASA mechanic, and his girlfriend’s fear of heights. Show dates are Nov. 10-19.
12) THE SUNSHINE BOYS – ABBEVILLE OPERA HOUSE
TV and stage actor Harry Anderson returns to the Abbeville Opera House for Neil Simon’s “The Sunshine Boys” with his frequent local co-star Michael Genevie as two aging vaudevillian performers who reluctantly reunite for a TV special. Show dates are Sept. 9-24.
13) INTIMATE APPAREL – CENTRE STAGE
Lynn Nottage’s play is set in 1905 New York City where Esther, a black seamstress, lives in a boarding house for women and sews exquisite lingerie for wealthy white patrons as well as black prostitutes. But success and a nest egg can’t fully protect her from the one thing that can unravel even the strongest stitch: Love. Show dates are June 15 – July 1, 2017.
14) LYING IN STATE – GREENVILLE LITTLE THEATRE
In this Comedy By David C. Hyer, a state senator has died in a ridiculous gun accident, and it has made him a national hero. Everyone is searching for something; the local political leaders are looking for someone to fill his seat, his ex-wife is looking for a bugler to play for his funeral, and a host of other zany characters are looking for love, votes, the right casket, and a purple squirrel named Mel. Show dates are April 7-23, 2017.
15) THE ODD COUPLE (FEMALE VERSION) – CLEMSON LITTLE THEATRE
Written by Neil Simon, this female version follows divorcees Olive Madison (the slob) and Florence Unger (Ms. OCD) as they attempt to share an apartment. Florence’s obsessive habits take their toll on Olive, whose plan to solve the problem disastrously backfires, and both women are forced to agree that best friends sometimes make the worst roommates. Directed by Richard Cowan with performances March 31- April 9, 2017.
16) JULIUS CAESAR – THE MARKET THEATRE COMPANY
There’s something for everyone to enjoy in this unique and twisted interpretation of Shakespeare’s classic! Have you ever seen the movie Mean Girls? This staging will look a lot like that! With all of the characters’ genders reversed, Julius Caesar will give a whole new meaning to the term “high school drama.” Directed by Christopher Rose, “Julius Caesar” runs Sept. 9-25.
17) DELVAL DIVAS – OCONEE COMMUNITY THEATRE
Orange is indeed the New Black as Stella Wild (MBA), Rosemary Adams (JD/MBA), Linda Robertson (M.D.,PhD.) and Beth Ziegler (MBA) have some things in common. Besides being educated, successful, professional women, they also share the same address. It isn’t a swanky high rise apartment building or a beachfront condo – they reside at the Delaware Valley Federal Correctional Facility (DELVAL), a low-level security prison for white and “pink” collar criminals. This comedy by Barbara Pease Weber runs June 9-18, 2017.
18) NUNSENSE – FOOTHILLS PLAYHOUSE
“Nunsense” follows the crazy antics of five nuns from the Little Sisters of Hoboken convent. When their cook accidentally serves up some tainted soup, 52 of the sisters are poisoned and die, leaving only five living nuns who were not at home the day of the toxic meal. When the convent’s first in charge, Reverend Mother Regina, splurges on a plasma TV, the sisters find themselves strapped for cash, as they still have four dead nuns to bury (whose bodies are being stored in the kitchen freezer!). The nuns decide to put on a benefit talent show in order to raise the rest of the money before the health department discovers their secret. The nuns are in the house Jan. 27 – Feb. 5, 2017.
19) JEEVES IN BLOOM – NC STAGE COMPANY
The sequel to last season’s smash hit, “Jeeves Intervenes” is based on the stories of P.G. Wodehouse. The lovable yet hapless Bertie and faithful valet Jeeves pay a visit to the English countryside where Bertie’s amphibian-loving school chum, Gussie, hatches a plan to win the heart of the fanciful Madeline Basset, who has fallen for Bertie. Aunt Dahlia drags him into a plan to commit burglary, all while escaping the attacks from the disgruntled French chef! In the midst of such mayhem, there is only one man who can set everything straight: Jeeves! Jan 25 – Feb 19, 2017.
20) SHAKESPEARE IN HOLLYWOOD – LITTLE THEATER OF GASTONIA
It’s 1934, and Shakespeare’s most famous fairies, Oberon and Puck, have magically materialized on the Warner Bros. Hollywood set of Max Reinhardt’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Instantly smitten by the glitz and glamour of show biz, the two are ushered onto the silver screen to play (who else?) themselves. With a little help from a feisty flower, blonde bombshells, movie moguls, and arrogant “asses” are tossed into loopy love triangles, with raucous results. The mischievous magic of moviedom sparkles in this hilarious comic romp by the ever-prolific Ken Ludwig. Show dates are March 30-April 8, 2017.