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The Players Centre for Performing Arts' artistic director Jeffery Kin.

Image: Don Daly

The long-running Players theater in Sarasota—now known as the Players Centre for Performing Arts—turns 90 years young this season. And while there will be special events TBA in connection with the anniversary, the community theater and artistic director Jeffery Kin have already announced the popular musicals that form its 2019-20 line-up.

The season, by the way, will continue to be staged at the Players’ home for more than 80 years, north of downtown on Tamiami Trail, as plans (and fund raising) continue for a new theater complex in the Waterside development of Lakewood Ranch. The current Sarasota property has been sold, but the purchaser is allowing the theater to still present at least this season’s shows there.

First up is the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice hit Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which the theater last presented in 1996. The musical about the Biblical Joseph, his father Jacob, his 11 brothers and that unique coat celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019, and will be performed Sept. 18 through Oct. 6.

The Fantasticks, the longest-running musical in the world, features the beloved songs of Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones “(Try to Remember,” for example) and is loosely based on a 19th-century play by Edmond Rostand, about two fathers who trick their son and daughter into falling in love. It’s a contemporary classic that will entertain Oct. 23 through Nov. 10.

For Dolly Levi lovers, the Yonkers matchmaker is back once more with Jerry Herman’s musical adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s original, Hello, Dolly! Recently revived on Broadway with Bette Midler in the title role, Dolly is a perennial hit featuring songs like “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” and “Before the Parade Passes By.” It’s onstage in time for the holidays, Dec. 4-22.

The musical comedy stage version of the movie starring Whoopi Goldberg as a murder witness hiding in a convent, Sister Act, is up next. With songs by Tony and Oscar winner Alan Menken, the musical was nominated for five Tonys; it runs Jan. 15 through Feb. 2.

The Players is still awaiting confirmation of its next show, coming up Feb. 10 through March 8, saying only that it will be “an exciting rock musical.” Hmmm...any guesses?

Finally, the 90th season wraps up with Cole Porter’s Anything Goes, where hits like “It’s De-Lovely,” “You’re the Top” and “Let’s Misbehave” enliven the story of romantic and criminal shenanigans aboard an ocean liner. Last presented by the Players in 2009, this one runs March 25 through April 11, 2020.

For ticket and show info, head to theplayers.org.  

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