West Windsor, N.J. – Extra, extra. Read all about it! Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) Kelsey Theatre has announced its blockbuster schedule for 2018-19. The curtain goes up on Kelsey’s 45th season Sept. 6 with the award-winning musical “Newsies,” followed by other major musicals, dramas, comedies, and shows for the entire family. Kelsey Theatre is located on MCCC’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. Free parking is located next to the theater.
“Our patrons come from all over the region,” Artistic Director M. Kitty Getlik said. “They are rewarded with performances that will make them laugh, cry, tap their feet, and keep them on the edge of their seats. We are home to ten regional theater companies, and each and every one of them is committed to delivering top quality performances. We are the little theater that could!”
In keeping with the college’s goal to offer quality, affordable theater for all, ticket prices are a fraction of those at larger venues, with subscription packages available for discounts of up to 44 percent. Subscription packages are on sale now; current subscriber requests will be processed first, followed by new subscribers and those purchasing tickets for individual shows.
Unless otherwise noted, tickets for musicals are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $16 for students and children; tickets for plays are $18, $16, and $14. (There is a small surcharge for order processing.) Orders may be placed by calling the Box Office at 609-570-3333, by mail, or online.
The season kicks off with Disney’s “Newsies, The Musical,” presented by PinnWorth Productions Sept. 6 to 16. (Note that in addition to weekend shows, there will be two Thursday evening performances starting at 7:30 p.m.) Based on the Newsboy Strike of 1891, this Disney movie adaptation stars a rag-tag band of teenaged “newsies” who take a stand against newspaper moguls Pulitzer and Hearst. The tone turns darker and more personal in the Tony Award-winning musical “Fun Home,” presented by Pierrot Productions Sept. 21 to 30. Told from the perspective of a character at several stages of her life, it’s a refreshingly honest, at times heartbreaking, story about seeing one’s parents through grown-up eyes.
Kelsey Theatre turns to rock musical territory when The Pennington Players present Green Day’s “American Idiot,” a masterful rock opera of youthful disillusion Oct. 5 to 14. Disillusionment of a different kind is up next in Lorraine Hansberry’s stunning “A Raisin In The Sun,” presented by Theater To Go Oct. 19 to 28. Audiences will meet the Youngers, a black working class family struggling to achieve the American Dream in the face of racial tensions and economic disenfranchisement in 1950s Chicago. A tale as old as time will be told next, filled with romance, intrigue and a gorgeous musical score. The Yardley Players present the beautiful, magical Disney classic, “Beauty and the Beast,” Nov. 2 to 11.
As the holiday season approaches, Kelsey Theatre is ready to deck the stage. M & M Stage Productions’ “A Christmas Story, the Musical” will touch the heart and the funny bone as an Indiana family counts down to Christmas Nov. 16 to Dec. 2. Other special holiday shows for the whole family are “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” presented by The Kelsey Players Dec. 7 to 9; “The Nutcracker,” a performance by The Dance Connection Dec. 14 to 16; and MPOnstage’s “Snow Day,” an interactive live radio show presented in afternoon matinees Dec. 22 and 23.
Audiences will ring in the New Year with plenty of laughs as Maurer Productions OnStage presents “Noises Off” Jan. 11 to 20. It’s a play-within-a-play where everything that can go wrong backstage does. After the laughter comes “Zorro, The Musical,” presented by PinnWorth Productions Jan. 25 to Feb. 3, featuring spectacular sword-fighting, flamenco dance, and dazzling magic – enhanced by the red-hot music of the Gipsy Kings.
February says romance and M & M Stage Productions is ready to deliver with “Love Letters” Feb. 8 to 10. It’s a poignant story comprising a lifetime of letters between a free-spirited artist and a dutiful lawyer. Romance takes a decidedly hilarious turn in “Four Weddings and an Elvis,” presented by The Yardley Players Feb. 15 to 24. Getting hitched in a Vegas wedding chapel is about to get crazier than usual.
Fans of old-time rock and roll will be ready for the return of Reock & Roll Revue as they present the double album “Chicago II.” The event is part concert and part rock history lesson. There are two shows only, March 2 and 3, so get your tickets early. This band has loyal fans!
The Pennington Players will revisit the tale of Peter Pan in “Peter and The Starcatcher,” a funny, fantastical backstory of Peter Pan And Captain Hook March 8 to 17. Then the hills come to life with the world’s most beloved musical as Pierrot Productions presents “The Sound of Music” March 22 to 31. The grandeur of old Hollywood gets hauntingly close and personal in “Sunset Boulevard,” the Tony Award-winning musical presented by Playful Theatre Productions April 5 to 14.
Next up is a trip to outer space when MCCC’s Academic Theatre and Dance Program presents “Return To Forbidden Planet” April 26 to May 5. A B-movie vibe combined with rock and roll hits from the ’50s and ‘60s delivers a fun-filled show loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest and the classic sci-fi film “Forbidden Planet.” Students are once again center stage as The Mercer Dance Ensemble presents a collaborative concert May 11 and 12. In addition to current students, the show features alumni, faculty members, and community choreographers and dancers in a spelling-binding performance that incorporates multiple genres.
Forté Dramatic Productions takes on evolution versus creationism circa 1920 in “Inherit the Wind” May 24 to June 2. The clash between lawyer William Jennings Bryan, who believes only what he reads in the Bible, and lawyer Clarence Darrow, who defends science and open intellectual inquiry, is a history lesson that still resonates today.
Then it’s time for fun, fun, fun as Maurer Productions OnStage presents “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” June 7 to 16. An eclectic group of tweens signs up for the competition – and so do their parents! It all adds up to the spelling contest of a lifetime and a hilarious theater experience. (Be warned – only the matinees are family friendly.)
Something truly wicked this way comes as Shakespeare ’70 presents “Macbeth” June 21 to 30. When three witches tell Macbeth that he is destined to occupy the throne of Scotland, he and his wife choose to become the instruments of their fate. Buckle your seatbelt as all hell breaks loose in Inverness.
Into the summer we go with “Crazy For You,” an exhilarating tap dance spectacular presented by M & M Stage Productions July 12 to 21. This Ken Ludwig comedy features plot twists and physical farce, plus classic George and Ira Gershwin music. “Tom Sawyer” is perfect summer fare for the whole family July 26 to Aug. 4. Join The Yardley Players for this highly imaginative adaptation of the Mark Twain classic that celebrates all that is grand and glorious about childhood.
Kelsey Theatre also offers a special series of productions just for the younger set. In addition to “Twas,” “The Nutcracker,” and “Snow Day,” the Kelsey Kids Series features five original musicals presented by traveling professional companies: “Nugget & Fang,”presented by ArtsPower National Touring Theatre Sept. 29;”Rapunzel,” presented by Kaleidoscope Theatre Feb. 23; “A Sick Day for Amos McGee,” presented by Virginia Rep on Tour March 16; “Jack and the Beanstalk,” presented by Virginia Rep on Tour April 13; and “The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System,” presented by Theatreworks USA May 4.
Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking available next to the theater. Most family shows include Saturday and Sunday matinees; some children’s shows are scheduled for daytime performances on Fridays to accommodate school groups. For more information or to request a printed copy of the brochure, call the Box Office at 609-570-3333. Online at www.kelseytheatre.net
Theater/Organization Kelsey Theatre
Theater/Organization Website: http://www.kelseytheatre.net
Theater/Organization Address: 1200 Old Trenton Rd. W. Windsor, New York 08550 (Map It)
Theater/Organization Phone: (609) 570-3333