Melodrama and musicals are planned for the 1986-87 season at Orange County community theaters, college drama departments and dinner playhouses.
It promises to be a season heavy on mystery and multiple musicals. Three different productions of "A Chorus Line" will play back-to-back dates this fall, while "My One and Only" will make its county debut in a big way, with three local productions planned. "The Music Man" will march through Orange County at least twice this season, dodging two versions of the airborne "Peter Pan."
Not surprisingly, there will be plenty of Sondheim, Shaffer and Simon.
Here's a look at what lies ahead:
A musical parable of young love, "The Fantasticks," heads up Ana Modjeska Players' fall season at the Anaheim Cultural Arts Center, with November play dates still to be announced. The musical adventures of the quintessential showman "Barnum" opens Buena Park Civic Theatre's three-show season Oct. 17-Nov. 1, followed by "Arsenic and Old Lace," Jan. 9-31, and Lerner and Loewe's "Brigadoon," July 31-Aug. 31.
Brea TheatreLeague plans a season heavy on humor, featuring the spooky spoof "Dracula: The Musical?" Oct. 8-18; Neil Simon's "Come Blow Your Horn," Feb. 19-March 7; and a stage version of "MASH," June 11-27. Noel Coward's "Hay Fever" started off the new season at Costa Mesa Civic Playhouse and will play through Oct. 11. Up next will be two comic mysteries, "Whodunnit" by Anthony Shaffer, Nov. 6-29, and "Murder at the Howard Johnson's," Jan. 22-Feb. 14. The season concludes with the courtroom drama "Nuts", March 19-April 11, and "Baby," a contemporary musical about three couples facing parenthood, June 4-22.
"Flower Drum Song" leads off the Cypress Civic Theatre lineup Oct. 10-Nov. 1, followed by "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," Nov. 28-30; a variety show, "Front Row Center," Feb. 6-7; "Arsenic and Old Lace," April 3-25; "Enter Laughing," June 5-27; and "Egad, What a Cad!" July 24-25 as part of the Cypress Community Country Festival.
"A Chorus Line" steps into the spotlight Oct. 17-Nov. 2 as the first entry in Fullerton Civic Light Opera's new season, which also features the early Tim Rice-Andrew Lloyd Webber collaboration "Jesus Christ Superstar," Jan. 16-Feb. 1; Meredith Willson's endearing look at small-town America, "The Music Man," Feb. 13-March 1; and the enduring Sigmund Romberg operetta "The Student Prince," May 15-31.
Drama, comedy and mystery are represented in the five productions planned by Garden Grove Community Theatre: "The Rainmaker," Oct. 24-Nov. 15; an evening of Jules Feiffer monologues, "Hold Me," Jan. 9-31; Michael Cristofer's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama set in a hospice for the terminally ill, "The Shadow Box," Feb. 27-March 21; a double bill of comedy headed by Peter Shaffer's "Black Comedy" and a one-act yet to be announced, April 17-May 9; and Anthony Shaffer's tangled thriller, "Sleuth," June 5-27.
The Grove Theatre Company opens its second year as a professional company with "Quilters," a musical exploration of the settling of the West as seen through the eyes of women pioneers, through Nov. 1, followed by a musical version of Dylan Thomas' "A Child's Christmas in Wales," Nov. 14-Dec. 20; "True West," Sam Shepard's look at brotherhood, Jan. 16-Feb. 14; George Kelly's amiable comedy "The Show Off," Feb. 27-March 28; "Devour the Snow," a drama based on the ill-fated Donner party attempt to cross the snowbound Sierras, April 10-May 9; and David Mamet's "A Life in the Theatre," May 29-June 27.
Huntington Beach Playhouse debuts Nov. 21-Dec. 20 with an old favorite--"Life With Father"--in a new location: Gisler School, 21141 Strathmoor Lane in Huntington Beach. Melodrama, mystery and a musical will follow: "Dirty Work at the Crossroads," March 6-April 4; an Agatha Christie mystery yet to be announced, May 15-June 13; and "Dames at Sea" July 11-Aug. 8.
Irvine Community Theatre veers from contemporary drama to contemporary comedy with "The Shadow Box," through Oct. 25; "The Girl in the Freudian Slip," Feb. 20-March 14; "Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean," April 3-25; "Play It Again, Sam," Aug. 7-29; and "Never Too Late," Oct. 2-24, 1987.
The ribald Larry Gelbart comedy "Sly Fox," running through Sunday, opened the season at Laguna Moulton Playhouse, and rounding out the year will be Jean Kerr's comedy "Lunch Hour," Oct. 30-Nov. 23; "Quilters," Jan. 15-Feb. 8; "Sleuth," March 12-April 5; and "The Music Man," May 21-June 14.
"The Miracle Worker," the story of Helen Keller and the young teacher who rescued her from a dark, silent world, is the first offering at La Habra Community Theatre through Oct. 18 in a season that includes "Bus Stop," Nov. 21-Dec. 13; George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart's "George Washington Slept Here," April 24-May 16; and the romantic musical "She Loves Me," June 5-27.