The Players Theatre is putting some pizazz into its upcoming 80th anniversary season - and that's not just with its new line-up of shows.
In the fall, look for a new sign at its Tamiami Trail location in Sarasota displaying the theater troupe's new logo and a freshly painted mural on the front of its building to kick off a year's worth of shows for 2009-2010.
As far as musicals, the troupe's Broadway series has a little something for every kind of theater-goer with a season that reflects The Players' 80-year history along with its future. There's musical classics, revues and some rock 'n' roll from the past. Artistic director Jeffery Kin, who unveiled the line-up today during a luncheon at the Bijou Cafe in Sarasota, has themed the season"Moving forward and looking back - 80 years of entertainment."
"The theme started it first," said Kin on how he chose the shows. "Moving forward and looking back - it's the kind of energy, love and fun of the last 80 years, but not so much that we get stuck in it because we want to look towards the future too."
The season begins Sept. 24 with the tap-dancing Cole Porter comedy "Anything Goes." It's followed by "Red Hot Operetta" - a musical revue drawn up by Kin that features snippets of 80 years worth of favorite operettas the theater has produced - including "HMS Pinafore," "Mikado" "Pirates of Penzance" and more. For the holidays, there's "A Christmas Carol" that, believe it or not, has never been produced at The Players, Kin said. He plans to stage a new version of the classic.
The Players will welcome in 2010 with "Some Enchanted Evening," a Rodgers and Hammerstein revue showcasing snippets from hits like "The King and I," "Oklahoma!" "Cinderella" and more. That's followed by the non-musical of "Lend Me a Tenor;" Kin's flagship musical of the season - Fiddler on the Roof" - and "The Who's Tommy" - a spicy musical highlighting the rock hits of The Who.
Kin said that despite a bad economy, which has dampened show attendance somewhat for the current season, The Players Theatre will continue to offer great community theater for years to come.
"It's a great environment for people to enjoy themselves," he said.
Season subscriptions are available for $80-$126 and single tickets for $23. For more information, call 365-2494 or visit http://www.theplayers.org/.
- January Holmes