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‘Return to the Forbidden Planet’ lands at Kelsey Theatre

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It’s time to blast off for a good time as Mercer County Community College’s Academic Theater and Dance program presents the campy jukebox musical “Return to the Forbidden Planet.”

This cult classic comes to the college’s Kelsey Theatre on April 26 and May 3 at 8 p.m., April 27 and May 4 at 8 p.m. and April 28 and May 5 at 2 p.m.

Kelsey Theatre is on the college campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road, West Windsor.

The community is invited to an opening night reception with the cast and crew on April

26, according to a press release.

In “Return to the Forbidden Planet,” a spaceship with Captain Tempest at the helm makes an emergency landing on the uncharted planet D’Illyria. The only residents are the mad scientist Dr. Prospero, his daughter, Miranda, and their retro robot, Ariel.

They were banished into hyperspace when Miranda was just a baby, and she has known no other world than this one. This tale of unrequited love, a scary space monster, dialogue in iambic pentameter and fun songs adds up to a groovy show, according to the press release.

Loosely based on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and the 1956 science fiction film “Forbidden

Planet,” the show parodies 1950s science fiction, while paying homage to Shakespeare and much-loved rock ’n roll classics such as “Great Balls of Fire,” “The Monster Mash” and “Good Vibrations,” among others.

“We decided to celebrate springtime with some good fun,” said Jody Gazenbeek-Person,

coordinator of the Theater/Dance program and the show’s producer/choreographer.

“The actors are really enjoying rehearsals and our production team is large and

enthusiastic. We expect audience members of all ages to enjoy themselves as much as

we are,” she said.

The cast stars Jeff Rosenthal of Dayton as Captain Tempest; Darrell J. Watts of Ewing as

Dr. Prospero; Kate Bilenko of Philadelphia, Pa., as Miranda; Sonia Perez of Princeton as

Science Officer Gloria; Kristin Purdy of Clarksburg as Ariel; Diego Montealegre of

Lawrenceville as Cookie; Natalie Bogach of East Windsor as Navigation Officer; and

Tyler Fowler of Millstone as Bosun.

Members of the shuttle crew are Eva Hargis of Hamilton (Chief Protocol Officer),

Krystan Ellis of Hamilton, Samir Kirkland of Ewing, Tina Kulick of East Windsor, Ereaunna La Cava of Ewing (dance captain), Sam Marquez of Ewing, Anna Perno of

Hamilton, and Cerina Pocino of Hamilton.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $16 for students/children and may be

purchased at or by calling 609-570-3333. Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking next to the theater.


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