For its 80th season, a theatrical adventure awaits patrons at the Mountain Playhouse in Jennerstown.
The playhouse will produce six shows that will bring laughs, romance, drama and musical numbers to the stage.
“Our focus always has been to offer the best mix of quality entertainment for as many people as possible,” said Patty Carnevali, the playhouse’s executive director. “We always try to do a farce, which is a signature for the theater company, musicals, comedies and dramas if we can find a good one. This season we have hit that mark.”
She calls this a “gem of a season,” and once you come and see a show, you’ll be hooked and want to return.
“It really is an unique experience in that we’re housed in a gristmill that was built in 1805, and it’s surrounded by beautiful gardens, paths, a lake and wildlife, so it’s a unique setting and not like going to any other theater in the area,” Carnevali said. “It’s rustic and quite charming.”
Frank McCourt’s musical “The Irish and How They Got That Way” will kick off the playhouse season June 18 to 30.
The production is a celebration of all things Irish as told by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Angela’s Ashes.” McCourt’s trademark wit and turn of word are on display in this love story to the Irish people.
The setting is McCourt’s Pub and the stories are blended with song – traditional to contemporary – along with some heartache, joy and a bit of blarney.
“This features actor musicians, so what you’re hearing they are playing; there’s six musicians playing 17 different instruments,” Carnevali said. “The music is beautiful and we can’t wait for everyone to hear it. It’ll be a beautiful experience.”
The farce “Don’t Dress for Dinner,” written by Marc Camoletti Bernard, will be performed July 9 through 21.
Bernard is hoping to entertain his chic Parisian mistress for the weekend.
He is sending his wife off to visit her mother, has a gourmet chef coming to cook and his best friend is going to provide an alibi.
Suppose the best friend doesn’t know why he’s there and he’s secretly the wife’s lover? And the cook is mistaken for the mistress? And the mistress can’t cook?
It’s the perfect recipe for hilarious confusion.
“This is a classic farce where people are misunderstanding conversations, catching the tail end of conversations, slamming doors and hiding in closets,” Carnevali said. “It’s fast-paced with that rapid fire of dialogue, so there’s an absolute need for perfect comedic timing.”
Katherine DiSavino’s comedy “Things My Mother Taught Me” will be staged July 23 through Aug. 4.
Olivia and Gabe are moving into their first apartment together.
They’ve packed up all of their belongings and driven halfway across the country to start a new life in Chicago.
Moving day doesn’t go exactly as planned, and things become really complicated when both sets of parents show up to help.
“This is a wonderful show, and if people saw ‘Nana’s Naughty Knickers’ a couple seasons ago, this is by the same playwright,” Carnevali said. “This is a romantic comedy, but it’s also comedy about family relationships. It’s a nice set of laughs running from the giggles to the all out belly laugh.”
The musical “Mid-Life2! #WhatDidIComeHereFor?,” book, music and lyrics by Bob Walton and Jim Walton, will be presented Aug. 6 to 18.
The show is the follow up to “Mid-Life! The Crisis Musical,” which was presented during the playhouse’s 2014 season, and takes audiences back into the middle ages with a hilariously tuneful look at the aches, pains and joys of getting older.
From ever-increasing trips to the doctor’s office, to the horrifying moment when one qualifies for a senior discount, the growing legion of aging baby boomers and beyond are sure to see their lives reflected in this new, witty musical revue.
“This is a musical journey through the aging process that all of us, regardless of what age we are, can relate to,” Carnevali said. “It’s a whole lot of fun.”
Rob Barron’s drama “5/31/1889: The Flood” will be performed Sept. 17 through 29.
On May 31, 1889, America’s most devastating loss of life from a natural disaster occurred when a dam broke and unleashed a wall of water which swept everything in its path down upon the city of Johnstown. A total of 2,209 lives were lost.
The fact-based fictional account was commissioned by the theater in 2004, and is being presented during the 130th anniversary of the tragedy.
“The first act follows several different characters from the wealthy, to the immigrants to the town’s workers on the day of the flood,” Carnevali said. “The second act is the aftermath and recovery, and it is a love story to the people of Johnstown. It address the resilience of the people who live here.”
The season with close out with the musical “Million Dollar Quartet” Oct. 1 to 13.
The show is back by popular demand, and is inspired by the famed recording session that brought together rock ’n’ roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins together for the first and only time on Dec. 4, 1956.
The musical brings to life that night, and features hit songs such as “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “That’s All Right,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Walk the Line,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Matchbox,” “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Hound Dog.”
“We had to bring it back because people loved it, and toward the end of the run last season, we were packing the house,” Carnevali said.
“This is a show with actor musicians and people love the music. It’s all done very well.”
‘Gem of a season’
Mountain Playhouse has scheduled the following productions:
• “The Irish and How They Got That Way,” June 18-30.
• “Don’t Dress for Dinner,” July 9-21.
• “Things My Mother Taught Me,” July 23-Aug. 4.
• “Mid-Life2! #WhatDidIComeInHereFor?,” Aug. 6-18.
• “5/31/1889: The Flood,” Sept. 17-29.
• Million Dollar Quartet,” Oct. 1-13.
Curtain times: 7 p.m. Tuesdays, 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesdays, 2 p.m. Thursdays, 2 p.m. Fridays,
8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays.
Tickets: $15 to $40. Youth and student tickets are available for $10 and $8 on Wednesdays. Groups with a minimum of 10 guests qualify for discounts. Season subscriptions, minisubscriptions and FlexPasses also are available.
Reservations: 814-629-9220, or www.MountainPlayhouse.org.