From modern cult comedy, to the classically familiar, to the pomp and pageantry of a beloved Disney classic, the Garfield Center’s exciting 2023 season will provide audiences with all the feelings we expect from live theatre. The season opener, “Psycho Beach Party” by Charles Busch, continues weekends through February 26.
An instant cult hit that resulted in its 2000 film version, imagine the fun of living in 1962 Malibu Beach, where we might rub elbows, surf and dance with Frankie and Annette at a beach party. Chicklet Forrest is your average tomboyish Gidget with one crazy secret: she is living with several hilarious split personalities. Meanwhile, dark and mysterious murders seem to be happening to the people around her and let’s just say her mother is a complete “drag.” Her most dangerous personality is the vixen Ann Bowman, who loves to command the stage to get what she wants. A colorful array of supporting characters tackle everything from friendship to sexuality in a parody spoof that keeps the laughs coming.
The director of the production is Michael Moore, who directed last season’s Garfield production of “The Laramie Project.” His casting embraces the switched gender aspect of most of Charles Busch’s plays. Chicklet will be played by J.W. Ruth, most recently seen as Joseph in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” this past December on the Garfield stage, and scene-stealing Max in “The Play That Goes Wrong” in the opener of the 2022 season at the Garfield.
Patrick Pearce, also seen in “Joseph” and “The Play That Goes Wrong” plays Yo-Yo. Dominic Delcoco, who played Gingy in “Shrek” in 2021 and one of the brothers in “Joseph,” plays Star Cat. Dylan Lyles, who appeared in “Shrek,” “The Laramie Project” and “The Good Doctor” at the Garfield plays Provoloney. The Great Kanaka is played by Garfield favorite Brad Chaires, most recently seen in “Joseph” playing Potipher, the Elvis-like Pharaoh and one of the brothers. Brianna Johnson, last seen in “The Good Doctor” and “The Laramie Project,” plays Berdine. Minnie Maloney, last seen on the Garfield Stage in “The Good Doctor,” plays Marvel Anne, Connie Fallon, last seen in “Shrek,” plays Mrs. Forrest, and newcomer Cassi Pinder plays Bertina Barnes.
Michael is assisted in the production by costumer Connie Fallon, with props by Wendy Sardo, lighting by Butch Clark, sound design by Nic Carter, motion graphic projections by Steven Arnold, sound board execution by Jordan Dixon, photography by Steven Arnold, and print graphics, playbill and marketing by Francoise Sullivan.
The show runs weekends through February 26, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Purchase tickets at www.garfieldcenter.org or by calling the Box Office at 410-810-2060 on Wednesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Next up is “Prescription: Murder” by William Link and Richard L. Levinson. Performances will run weekends from April 14 through 30. With its characters and style providing the inspiration for the TV series “Columbo,” its theatrical predecessor “Prescription: Murder” tells the story of a brilliant psychiatrist and his mistress who hatch a plot to murder his neurotic, possessive wife. The execution of their plan and the creation of their perfect alibi depends on a bizarre impersonation. Lieutenant Columbo must engage the psychiatrist in a duel of wits until the doctor succeeds in having Columbo removed from the case. However, it is the mistress who proves to be the weak link that leads to a trap and a surprising climax. Nic Carter will direct the production.
Short Attention Span Theatre (SAST) returns to the Garfield Stage on June 23 for yet another annual installment of trailblazing new short plays that always features a cast of lovable local GCA favorites. Typically premiering new 10-minute plays, many times by local playwrights, SAST is a local, well-loved tradition. Performances will run weekends through July 9. Mark Sullivan will once again produce SAST.
September brings us Kate Hamill’s critically lauded adaptation of “Little Women,” running weekends from September 22 through October 8. The Wall Street Journal called it “an ingenious compassion of Alcott’s novel that is by turns funny and painfully poignant…it touched me to the heart.” The story brings fond familiarity: Jo March isn’t your typical Victorian lady. She’s indecorous and headstrong, and one day she’s going to be a great American novelist. As she and her sisters grow up in the middle of the Civil War, they strive to be brave, intelligent, and imaginative young women. But as adulthood approaches, each sister must negotiate her private ambitions with society’s expectations. In a war-torn world defined by gender, class, and personal tragedy, Jo March gives us her greatest story: that of the March sisters, four dreamers destined to be imperfect little women. The production will be directed by Hester Sachse.
And closing the season will be Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, with new songs by Alan Menken and Tim Rice. Running weekends from November 24 through December 10, step into the enchanted world of the Broadway and international sensation that has been produced in 37 countries worldwide. Based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature, the original Broadway production ran for over 13 years and was nominated for nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The classic story tells of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is actually a young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end, and he will be transformed into his former self. But time is running out: if the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity. With its wonderfully colorful characters and infectiously memorable songs, the Garfield Center’s production is sure to put a smile on your face, a song in your heart and an exclamation point on another wonderful season. Jennifer Kafka Smith will direct the production.
For further information, visit www.garfieldcenter.org.