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Center Players announces lineup of shows for 2019-20 season

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Center Players announces lineup of shows for 2019-20 season

Center Players Dessert Theater has announced the lineup of shows that will be performed during the 2019-20 season at Center Playhouse, 35 South St., Freehold Borough.

Performances generally run Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets for most productions are priced at $26 to $28 and are available at www.centerplayers.org or by calling 732-462-9093. Season ticket subscriptions are available by calling the box office by Dec. 15, according to a press release.

Kicking off the 2019-20 season will be a production of Ken Ludwig’s farce, “Lend Me a Tenor,” directed by Michael Tota, and running Oct. 18 through Nov. 10.

In this high-energy play of mistaken identity, world-renowned tenor Tito Merelli has signed on to play Pagliacci at a Cleveland opera company in the fall of 1934. He arrives late and, through a set of crazy circumstances, passes out after mixing wine with a huge dose of tranquilizers.

Next up at Center Playhouse will be “A Year with Frog and Toad,” a musical written by brothers Robert and Willie Reale, based on the Frog and Toad children’s stories written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel.

The musical follows the year-long woodland adventures of two amphibious friends, a worrywart toad and a perky frog, with their assorted colorful hopping, crawling and flying companions. The play will run from Dec. 6-15 and will be directed by Center Players’ Artistic Director Bernice Garfield-Szita, while Mafalda Cavanaugh will serve as assistant director.

“Same Time Next Year” by Bernard Slade will follow, running from Feb. 14 through March 8, and will be directed by Anthony Marinelli.

This 1975 romantic comedy focuses on two people, married to others, who meet for a romantic tryst once a year for two dozen years. Over the course of the next 24 years, they develop an emotional intimacy deeper than what one would expect to find between two people meeting for a clandestine relationship just once a year.

“California Suite” by Neil Simon will run from May 15 through June 14 and will be directed by Dave McGrath. This 1976 play is similar in structure to Simon’s earlier “Plaza Suite,” and the comedy is comprised of four unconnected scenes set in Suite 203-04, which consists of a living room and an adjoining bedroom and bath in The Beverly Hills Hotel.

An original musical, “Coyote,” will run from July 17-26, directed by Bernice Garfield-Szita. Creator, composer and lyricist Tim McCorry brings the audience on an inspirational journey from Guadalajara, Mexico, to Lopez Island, Wash.

Inspired by a true story, “Coyote” is a modern American tale of love, magic and adventure. Pedro and Bernadice are young lovers, determined to be reunited, who turn to a mysterious figure known only as Coyote to help them make a perilous crossing from Mexico into the United States.

Rounding out the season will be “Jitney” by August Wilson, running from Aug. 21-30 and directed by Darrell Willis. The drama takes place in Pittsburgh in 1977, in a gypsy cab station, during Pittsburgh’s period of so-called “urban renewal.”

As the city tries to shut down businesses – including the cab station – to make way for new building, five gypsy cab drivers struggle to survive. The play examines the tumultuous relationship between father and son, husband and wife, black and white Americans, and the interactions between the jitney station regulars.

“We are pleased to offer another well-rounded season of award-winning plays, featuring outstanding local actors and directors,” Center Players President Sheldon Fallon said. “We look forward to supplementing the season with play readings, acting classes and other special events.”

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