Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Area Premieres Highlight New Season | Get Ready for Song, Dance -- and Some Drama, Too

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Area Premieres Highlight New Season | Get Ready for Song, Dance -- and Some Drama, Too

Article excerpt

MANATEE PLAYERS

BRADENTON -- The Manatee Players will present several area premieres in a busy 2017-18 season, while expanding partnerships with other nonprofits through a series of challenging dramas in its intimate second stage.

With the exception of one show that can't be announced until mid- March, all of the musicals scheduled in the theater's mainstage Stone Hall will be new to the Manatee Players, even the Jerry Herman hit "Mame."

"I can't believe we've never produced 'Mame' after all these years," said artistic director Rick Kerby, who unveiled the season to donors at a special announcement ceremony Monday afternoon.

The new season will kick off Aug. 10 with the Mel Brooks hit "The Producers," about two greedy Broadway producers trying to make extra money by staging what they think will be a sure-fire flop. It will be followed by "Mame," and Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music," a musical about romantic entanglements involving an actress, her former lover, his wife and

various friends.

The season also includes "Nine," Maury Yeston's musical based on a Federico Fellini film about a movie director struggling to come up with an idea for his latest project and the women who guide him on the way. Women also are the focus of the musical version of Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women," which is on the schedule for March.

The Manatee Players will be one of the first theaters in the country to present a new stage version of the Disney animated hit "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," with a score by Alan Menken and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. It also will present the area premiere of "Nice Work if You Can Get It," a new musical comedy built around hit songs by George and Ira Gershwin.

Kerby has planned a more serious and emotionally challenging season for the plays (and one musical) scheduled in the Kiwanis Studio Theatre. …

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