It’s official: The Players Centre for Performing Arts has announced a return to indoor live theater this coming season, in a new home unveiled earlier this week.
The longtime community theater has been performing outdoors in venues around the area, due both to the Covid-19 pandemic and the sale (and eventual demolition) of its old home at 838 N. Tamiami Trail. A short, funny video showing artistic director Jeffery Kin and his staff hightailing it from that now empty site to a new, temporary space on South Tamiami Trail kicked off an evening of entertainment and news for patrons, board members and others at that new home: a soon-to-be-renovated former Banana Republic store at The Crossings on Siesta Key, dubbed “Studio 1130” for its suite address.
Kin, Players CEO William Skaggs and several Players performers helped welcome guests to the space, with explanations of how it will be transformed soon via the removal of some pillars, the addition of theater lighting and other changes. The theater’s 92nd season will commence there in October. Meanwhile, the Center Stage Capital Campaign has been relaunched after a quiet year due to Covid, dedicated to raising the funds needed to build a permanent home at Lakewood Ranch’s Waterside Place. (Groundbreaking there is scheduled for June 2023.)
For now, though, much of the focus was on the 2021-22 season, as Kin revealed show titles while performers delivered a song from each of the six shows. Here’s the lineup, which is designed to fit smoothly into the approximately 150-seat space at the Crossings, as compared to the Players’ old 400-seat theater.
Opening the season, Oct. 6-17, will be [title of show], a musical about the creation of a musical that must be put together in just three short weeks. The show follows struggling writers Jeff and Hunter and two of their friends as they work feverishly to meet the deadline.
Falsettos, onstage Nov. 3-14, is a musical by William Finn and James Lapine from 1992 about family, relationships, bar mitzvahs, baseball and AIDS. In announcing the production, Kin emphasized his feeling that it has much to say—including some new things—about life today.
For sheer fun, The Marvelous Wonderettes is up next around the holidays, Dec. 8-19. Audiences will meet Betty Jean, Cindy Lou, Missy and Suzy as they perform hits from the 1950s and 1960s at the Springfield High School prom.
Next, one of the many versions of Gerard Alessandrini’s Forbidden Broadway (Jan. 19-30), takes loving aim as it spoofs some of the Broadway shows and stars we’ve loved over the years. It’s followed by Beehive: The 60s Musical, Feb. 16-27, which Kin says offers more than just nostalgia in the performance of such hits as “Be My Baby” and “”Me and Bobby MGee”; it’s also about female power and rock ‘n’ roll.
The season will close with Some Enchanted Evening, March 16-27, a collection of songs by Rodgers & Hammerstein that will give audiences the opportunity to hear their beloved music without, as Kin says, requiring the theater to present the full-scale, large-cast shows themselves. You can expect lots of memories from South Pacific, Carousel and more.
Subscriptions go on sale July 19 at the Players’ newly redesigned website, theplayers.org. Single ticket sales begin Sept. 1. You can also call (941) 365-2494 for more about ticket options.