Nittany Theatre at the Barn will open its summer stock season on April 25 with the comedic musical “Church Basement Ladies.”
Director Dave Saxe said the Happy Valley premiere is a funny, down-home musical about a group of women in Minnesota. He compared it to “Fargo with song and dance instead of blood and gore.”
“The show is ideal for the Barn’s intimate staging,” Saxe said. “We are thrilled to introduce the CBL to Happy Valley; there are four additional CBL spin-offs.”
While the production may be themed from the “old school,” Saxe said modern audiences will enjoy it all the same.
“The show is a musical-comedy, featuring a throwback to family values circa 1964,” Saxe said. “It’s a great opportunity to explore small cast musicals at the Barn, especially one that offers our audiences an introduction to the family of CBL musicals.”
The show stars Tara Mattes, Alicia Rodriguez, Katie Rimmer, Sandi Rockwell and Rod Egan.
Saxe thinks the arts are important, specifically live theater. He thinks that people concerned with defunding of the arts on a national scale should get involved locally.
“In a world where the theater arts stand in peril, live theater at the Barn — in one of America’s most charming summer stock theaters — provides a vibrancy to our community not found anywhere,” Saxe said. “Live theater offers those intangibles of life that feed the soul. These exciting sorts of arts, where music and drama mix with laughter, and fun are fragile and cannot survive without nurturing support.”
After “Church Basement Ladies” concludes its run, Nittany Theatre at the Barn will be ready to tackle the remainder of its packed season. It has six shows on tap for the summer stock season, including two world premieres and four regional premieres. World premieres include “Treasure Island,” starring Broadway’s Alex Santoriello and “Mae,” starring Nashville’s Shawna Harrington.
Next up is “Greater Tuna,” which runs May 23-June 10.
“CBL will be followed by ‘Greater Tuna,’ where two actors take on the hysterical challenges of introducing some 20 zany inhabitants this tiny piece of small-town America,” Saxe said.
The experience of seeing a show in the historic Barn setting melds the past and the present of theater arts, Saxe said.
“The Barn experience: driving out to the country on a warm summer eve, parking on the lawn under the stars, picking up tickets at the old silo ticket booth, then taking your seat in an 1890 hay-barn, in comfy seats rescued from a 19th century vaudeville house, in a space transformed by LED lights and state-of-the-art sound systems,” Saxe said. “That experience, that part of Americana has largely disappeared.”
IF YOU GO
▪ What: Nittany Theatre at the Barn’s “Church Basement Ladies
▪ When: April 25-May 13
▪ Where: Nittany Theatre at the Barn, Boal Estate Drive, Boalsburg
▪ Info: www.nittanytheatre .org