The 2018 summer theater season is set to begin at the Nittany Theatre at the Barn.
This year the company will present a lineup of comic plays sure to tickle your funny bone.
David Saxe, Nittany Theatre producing artistic director, explained the decision to present five comedies this summer.
“All our shows are the number one shows of each author. Audiences will get a chance to laugh all summer,” he said. “Musicals are very expensive to produce. So we will see how a season of comic plays will be received by our audiences.”
First up is “Rumors” by Neil Simon. The show opens on May 23 and closes on June 4. ‘Rumors” is Simon’s first farce and is considered his funniest work.
The play’s story is centered on a New York City cocktail party that goes wrong. Very wrong.
For Saxe, and the entire Nittany Theatre organization, producing theater is a sacred trust.
“A community without theater is missing what is so fundamentally human," he said. “A thriving community will have a thriving theater. We are a community of actors. We want to attract the best performers. Our goal is to provide acting opportunities that may not be available elsewhere.”
On June 20, Nittany Theatre at the Barn will offer a production of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest," adapted by Saxe under his pen name, Sterling Saxe.
“This is not the umpteenth production of Earnest,” Saxe said. “This is an adaptation by Sterling Saxe that is unique and moves quickly.”
“The Importance of Being Earnest” is Wilde’s comic masterpiece. The play follows the escapades of Jack and Algernon who decide to enliven their boring lives.
Nittany Theatre is known for taking risks with their productions.
“For example, we were the first company in the country that used an all female cast for the musical ‘1776,' " Saxe said.
The adaptation of Wilde has garnered interest from publishers and agents.
“Lend me a Tenor” opens July 18 and closes July 28.
Written by Ken Ludwig, "Tenor" is a backstage romp as the cast loses the opera star "Il Stupendo” on the evening of the final dress rehearsal.
The final two comedies are plays that few in the region have seen, according to Saxe.
Opening Aug. 15 is “Funny Money” by Ray Cooney, the British Neil Simon. It follows the travails of a milk toast accountant who accidentally picks up the wrong brief case. “Funny Money” closes Aug. 25.
“The Love List” is the creation of Norm Foster, the Neil Simon of Canada.
The play is an hilarious look at the way two men approach the task of finding “the perfect woman.”
“You can’t beat great comedy,” Saxe said. “We’re taking a risk doing these small cast comedies. But it’s a risk well worth taking.”
If you go
What: Nittany Theatre at the Barn's "Rumors"
When: May 23-June 4
Where: Nittany Theatre at the Barn, Boal Estate Drive, Boalsburg