On March 7, 2013, the Ephrata Performing Arts Center will open its 2013 season with its most ambitious undertaking ever, the area premiere of the epic theatrical diptych, Angels in America.
Angels, a two-part landmark work by Tony Kushner, screenwriter of the forthcoming film Lincoln, has the historic honor of winning the Drama Desk and Tony awards for both of its chapters: Millennium Approaches (1993) and Perestroika (1994), as well the Pulitzer Prize for Perestroika and sweeping the Emmys with its 2003 all-star television adaptation.
Thus does EPAC uphold its reputation for enriching Lancaster County and its environs with the area’s most expansive and inclusive theatrical programming.
But local premieres of “theater that matters” are just part of EPAC’s artistic outreach. The nonprofit community theater’s 2013 season also embraces prime theater works of broad public appeal, from new mainstream hits to artfully revived classics.
EPAC’s 2013 presentations at the Sharadin Bigler Theatre in Ephrata run an impressive gamut:
Angels in America Part 1:”Millennium Approaches” will be performed March 7-9 and 13-16. Angels in America Part 2: Perestroika will be performed March
The New York Times described this landmark theatrical achievement as “The most thrilling American play in years. An artful blend of historical fact and fictional dramatic elements (that) humanizes our nation’s stormy, tragic struggle against homosexual bias and political agendas to identify and begin treating the rising spectre of the HIV virus.”
Kushner’s potent mix of real and fictional characters (and angels) in a dizzying and often comic fantasia moves from New York to Antarctica, Utah, the Kremlin, Heaven and other places, real and imaginary.
Note: Subscribers get both plays for the price of one.
Avenue Q: (May 2-4, May 9-11 and May 15-18) is a laugh-out-loud winner of the Tony triple crown – Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Book. This heartwarmingly hilarious musical comedy pairs live performers with Muppet-like characters portraying the residents of a shabby New York neighborhood struggling with universal issues ranging from racism and romance to sexual identity and porn. This fancifully delightful musical is recommended for mature audiences.
Brighton Beach Memoirs (June 13-15, June 20-22 and 26-29) This heartwarming coming-of-age comedy by Neil Simon (author of EPAC’s 2011 hit Lost in Yonkers) is inspired by Simon’s own youth in Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach neighborhood during the Depression. Eugene Jerome, the playwright’s alter-ego, shares with us the challenges of puberty, his shaky self-image, and assorted family problems when his recently widowed aunt and her two daughters move in with his family.
Guys and Dolls (July 25-27, Aug. 1-3 and Aug. 7-10). This evergreen musical comedy classic pits colorful Damon Runyon characters – gamblers, gangsters and dizzy dames – against the save-a-soul efforts of a Salvation Army missionary. Bursting with classic Frank Loesser tunes -- “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat,” “Adelaide’s Lament,” “I’ll Know,” “If I Were a Bell,” “Luck Be a Lady” – “Guys and Dolls” won five Tonys in 1951, including Best Musical. Its many revivals include a Tony-winning 1992 production starring Nathan Lane and Faith Prince.
The Glass Menagerie (Sept 5-7, Sept 12-14 and Sept 18-21). Tennessee Williams’ revered memory play is an American classic. In their humble St. Louis apartment, a lovingly domineering mother transfers her own life disappointments, including abandonment by her husband, onto the lives of her two children: Laura, a fragile, painfully shy young woman; and Tom, the play’s narrator, an aspiring writer trapped by responsibility for his mother and sister.
Assassins (Oct 17-19, Oct 24-26 and Oct 30-Nov 2). A smash hit for EPAC in 2000, this 1991Stephen Sondheim stunner frames portraits of multiple presidential assassins and wannabes -- from John Wilkes Booth through Lee Harvey Oswald -- in the garish setting of a carnival shooting gallery. Rather than offend by glorifying these misfits and misguided “patriots,” “Assassins” personalizes them with piercing insight, comedy and pathos. Winner of the 2004 Tony for Best Revival.