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Curtain Rises: Civic 2019-20 season has two mystery musicals

It’s like this: Civic Theatre has announced its 2019-2020 season. However, as with theater companies across the country, it’s restricted from announcing shows that are still uncertain.

The two shows in question for Civic’s seasons are two well-known musicals, which may or may not still be on national tour or might be presented at another regional theater.

Civic Theatre Artistic Director William Ross Sanders teased those at the March 15 season annnoucement reception at Civic514 with puzzles, references and rhymes, but no titles.

The first musical to be announced is for October. The second musical to be announced is for May 2020. That’s all Sanders could say.

The 2019-2020 Civic season that can be announced is: “Cabarets And Concerts: Movie Musicals,” August; “Rockin’ Broadway”; “Bridges Of Madison County”; “A Christmas Carole” and “Who’s Holiday,” both December; “The Humans,” February 2020; “Silence: The Musical,” March 2020; Civic Theatre Students’ “Frozen, Jr.,” April 2020, and “Significant Other,” June 2020.

“We try to keep a balance and do as many premieres as possible,” Sanders said.

As the title might indicate. “A Christmas Carole” provides a gender twist with JoAnn Wilchek Basist playing Scrooge.

Civic’s 2018-2019 season continues with Civic Theatre School’s production of “The Lion King, Jr., 6 p.m. April 4 and 5; 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. April 6 and 7; “Fun Home,” May 3, 4, 9-12 and 16-19, and “Constellatons,” June 21-23 and 27-30.

Civic’s ninth annual “Tonys & Tapas” fundraiser is 3:30-6:30 p.m. June 9, 19th Street Theatre and Theatre514. This year’s event honors Sanders’ 25th season as Civic artistic director.

There will be a music performance by the Civic Theatre Company, tapas from Lehigh Valley restaurants, a cash bar and a silent auction.

Salon services: Pennsylvania Playhouse presents its production of “Steel Magnolias,” April 5-7, 12-14 and 19 and 20, just in time for the 30th anniversary of the movie version of the play.

The 1989 film adaptation of Robert Harling’s 1987 play of the same title starred Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis, Julia Roberts, Tom Skerritt, Dylan McDermott, Kevin J. O’Connor and Sam Shepard.

The comedy is set in Truvy’s beauty salon in Chinquapin, Louisiana, where “all the ladies who are anybody have their hair done.”

According to the Playhouse press release, “helped by her eager new assistant, Annelle (Danielle Tempier), the outspoken, wise-cracking Truvy (Tracie DeMaria) dispenses shampoos and free advice to the town’s rich curmudgeon, Ouiser, (Vickie Montessano); an eccentric millionaire, Miss Clairee (Carole Silvoy), and M’Lynn, (Syd Stauffer) whose daughter, Shelby (Stephanie Walsh), is about to marry a good ole boy.”

The Playhouse release describes the play as “alternately hilarious and touching with six female characters as delicate as magnolias yet as strong as steel.”

The Playhouse production is directed by Gary Boyer.

“Curtain Rises” is a column about theater stage shows. Email: Paul Willistein, Focus editor, pwillistein@tnonline.com

PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL WILLISTEINCivic Theatre Artistic Director William Ross Sanders, left, and Civic Theatre Associate Artistic Director Will Morris, right, announce Civic Theatre of Allentown's 2019-2020 season during reception at Theatre514, Allentown.