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Up Stage

Theaters offer variety of plays, musicals before holiday season.

September 28, 2000|TODD EVERETT | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Nothing opened last weekend, so--since we're caught up with plays still running--there's an opportunity to let you know what's coming up at local companies.

Some groups have already announced their seasons well into 2001; others don't let anybody know what they're doing until opening week. So expect this to be just an idea of schedules.

Although several plays will open before Nov. 3, that's the first day of the typical year-end onslaught, as producers try to wedge one more play in before Christmas. On that date, four musicals will begin their runs: "Crazy for You" (an updated Gershwin musical) at the Conejo Players; Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Carousel" at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center; Cabrillo Music Theatre's "Anything Goes" (an updated Cole Porter musical) at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza; and an original vaudeville revue at the Camarillo Community Theatre.

Not enough? The next weekend, three plays will open: an original dealing with computers at Cal Lutheran University; the year's second "Into the Woods," at Moorpark College; and the year's first Christmas-oriented play, "Kringle's Window," at the Elite Theatre Company in Oxnard.

Other Christmas-oriented shows announced so far include "Miracle on 34th Street" at the Santa Paula Theater Center on Nov. 17 (moving to Simi Valley in early December); the Theater League's professional touring production of "Annie" at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza beginning Nov. 28; and the Santa Susana Repertory Company's annual presentation of "A Christmas Carol," beginning Dec. 1 at the Civic Arts Plaza's Forum.

Add the other plays not mentioned here (but which will be reviewed as they come along) and you can be grateful that the local talent pool is as deep as it is.

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So far, only one Shakespeare production has been announced for next year, the Kingsmen Shakespeare Company's February staging of "Romeo and Juliet" at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza--but, as most Shakespeare is performed in the summer, look for more. Neil Simon is thus far represented by "Chapter 2," at the Camarillo Community Theatre in January, and "Barefoot in the Park" at the Marquie Dinner Theatre in August--again, look for more to be announced.

Musicals scheduled for 2001 include (in order of appearance) "Leader of the Pack," a Theatre League production of a revue of songs by lyricist Ellie Greenwich at the Civic Arts Plaza Forum in January; that group's production of the Frank Wildhorn musical "Jekyll and Hyde" at the Civic Arts Plaza in March; Cal Lutheran University's "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" at the Civic Arts Plaza in April; "They're Playing Our Song" at the Marquie Dinner Theatre and "The Secret Garden" by the Camarillo Community Theatre in May; and Cabrillo Music Theatre's "The Sound of Music" in July.

The Camarillo Community Theatre has "Carnival" scheduled for October, with the Marquie Dinner Theatre presenting a Jerry Herman revue, "Jerry's Girls," the same month. And in November, the Conejo Players will produce "Big--the Musical," a Broadway adaptation of the nonmusical hit film comedy.

More plays are already scheduled; we'll try to get to them in the future. In the meantime, our annual invitation is extended to producers: If you don't want to check with the competition directly before selecting your plays, ask us and avoid duplications like those three near-concurrent productions of "Godspell" last year or this year's two editions each of "The Fantasticks" and "Into the Woods."

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Todd Everett can be reached at teverett@concentric.net.

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