In anticipation of community theater season

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In the avalanche of announcements of upcoming arts seasons for 2022-23, it’s time to catch up with community theaters in our region.

No surprise: musicals, perennial favorites of the public, predominate for the coming year. But there is a drama or two in the mix, as well as several productions aimed directly at families.

First, the venerable Player Centerkicking off its 93rd season, with a lineup of six shows at Studio 1130 at The Crossings at Siesta Key. Side by side near Sondheim, a revue celebrating the work of the masterful Stephen Sondheim, bows September 8-18. Then audiences can return to Skid Row and that man-eating plant with the musical Little Shop horrors, on sale October 6-16. Get into the Christmas spirit with Miracle on 34th Street: A Live music radio adapted from the 1947 Lux Radio broadcast, marking the upcoming holidays of December 1-11.

David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize Winner Proof, follows a woman struggling with multiple issues following the death of her brilliant father, takes the stage from January 12-22, followed by perennial favorite, the two-woman show Always… Patsy Cline, based on the friendship between the great late country singer and her biggest fan (February 2-12). And Stephen Schwartz’s musical account of the Gospel of Matthew, divine spell, will close the season from March 9 to 19. Learn more by visiting theplayers.org, or call (941) 365-2494.

Let’s take a look at Venice Theater73rd season. For 2022-2023, VT has lined up its shows this way: The Jervey Five (five shows in the 432-seat Jervey Theater), The Stage 2 Four (four in the 90-seat Pinkerton) and the simply “More offers in both theaters. Here we go, in that order.

From September 16 to October 16. 2 in the Jervey will be Lauren Gunderson The revolutionaries, in which four “corporal” women lose their minds (literally) in a tragicomedy set during the French Revolution. This is followed by a hit Broadway musical, from October 21 to November 21. 20, the title of which has yet to be announced, but if you know a lot about Broadway shows, you can figure it out from these clues: it’s based on a British film, and it won six Tonys in 2013, including Best Score for a certain 1980s icon. Got it?

A new show conceived by local musicians Scott Keys and Michelle Kasanofsky, tentatively titled You have a friend, promises a tapestry of songs that will move the earth beneath your feet. Sounds like Carole King, okay.

Next is the long-running superhit Gypsy (February 24-March 26), with music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, more or less telling the true story of young Gypsy Rose Lee and her Mama Rose. Then We Get Serious With Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer Winner The death from a seller, April 28-May 14.

In the Stage 2 lineup is the theatrical docudrama about those dedicated to revolution against the U.S. government, God’s country by Steven Dietz, September 9-25. Ivan Menchell’s popular romantic comedy The Cemetery Club, about three Jewish widows meeting once a month before visiting their husband’s grave, takes the stage from January 20 to February 20. 12. Things get topical with Lisa Loomer deer, March 3-19, which may have additional relevance at this time; and Lydia R. Diamond’s Lizzie Strantona more contemporary version of the old Lysistrate, in which the women threaten to end the war by refusing to have sex. I hope it works. May 5-28.

Now on to those other deals: July 19-24, The Fantastic; August 4-7, divine spell Jr.; October 7-16, Arabian nights; 18 Nov-Dec 20, Xanadu; December 9-20, A Christmas Carol; March 30-April 2, performances by The Silver Foxes volunteer troupe; and to top it all, Little womanthe Broadway musical version of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved story, from March 31 to April 23.

Subscription packages are on sale now, at venicetheatre.org or by calling (941) 488-1115.

On the other side of Bradenton County, the Manatee Performing Arts Center also announced its season, an all-music season that kicks off in August with Frank Loesser’s How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. This is followed by, guess what, another production of Gypsy (so take your pick between MPAC and VT, or go to both!) in October. Meredith Willson’s Beloved Show The music man arrives in December, with the newest, most serious Next to Normal, about a family struggling with the effects of mental illness, taking the stage in January.

Stephen Sondheim’s first hit musical, Companyabout a bachelor surrounded by married friends, is slated for March, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s version of Billy Wilder’s film sunset boulevard will be presented in April and May.

No specific closing date has yet been given, but subscription renewals must be renewed by June 1 and new subscribers can also book by then. Single-show ticket sales begin July 1. Find out on manateeperformingartscenter.comor call (941) 748-5875.

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