BOALSBURG — Nittany Theatre at the Barn is celebrating two significant anniversaries in 2019, as it marks both the fifth season of summer stock theatre produced by Nittany Theatre and the 60th year of theatre in the historic 1890s Boalsburg barn.
As they approach opening night, producing artistic director Dave Saxe reflected on the significance of what they are calling their “Gala Anniversary” season: “When we were starting something new and looking for a new audience, who knew we’d make it this long? And now we’ve done over 30 productions. We’ve accomplished so much. It’s been so enriching.”
This year’s celebratory season will include a mix of comedy, drama, and musical shows.
“We did all comedies last year, and that was very, very popular,” Saxe said. “But there were some folks who missed the musicals, and there were some folks that wanted us to do another drama.”
Saxe offered a preview of this year’s productions:
* “Over the River and Through the Woods” by Joe DiPietro, May 23-31. “We wanted to start with a really funny one. It’s set in New Jersey in an Italian family. Two sets of grandparents are trying to keep their grandson in town. They conjure up an idea to get him a wife to keep him in town, and it doesn’t work out so well. We try to capture the flavor of these Italian families — they’re loud and gregarious and so fun-loving. It’s a crowd-pleaser.”
* “Office Hours” by Norm Foster, June 13-21. “The whole story takes place on one set and it’s done in vignettes. It’s all in the same office, but we switch out the furniture and the pictures on the wall. Each vignette is a separate story, but they all tie together. Five people play about 14 different characters. It’s a comedy, and it’s hysterical.”
* “Mamma Mia!” the musical based on the songs of ABBA, July 11-20. “I’ve been itching to do this for years… We can’t wait to bring it in. We’re bringing in Drew Baker from the Iron Bridge Theatre (in Tyrone) to direct it. This will be a real crowd-pleaser.”
* “A Man for All Seasons” by Robert Bolt, Aug. 1-9. “This is a Tony award-winning play and an Oscar winning movie for Best Picture. It’s a historical drama, and we have never done one, so this will be something new for us. It’s the story of Henry the VIIIth and his troubles … It’s really exciting.”
* “Boeing Boeing” by Marc Camoletti, Aug. 22-30. “This is a comedy set in Paris, France. Another award-winning play, it’s the story of a kind of a cad who has three girlfriends who are all airline hostesses in the days of prop planes. He has a schedule of when each one would come to his Paris apartment because he knew how long the prop planes took, but suddenly they introduce jet engines and all of a sudden the women are all arriving at the same time. Chaos ensues.”
Season tickets and individual show tickets are available now on the company’s website www.nittanytheatre.org.