ORLANDO — It’s been said that variety is the spice of life.
Even William Shakespeare, in his play “Antony and Cleopatra,” wrote that “Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale Her infinite variety.”
Perhaps with that logic in mind, the Orlando Shakespeare Theater is touting its 27th season as quite likely to become one of its very best, and certainly one that offers a wide variety of topics — from Monty Python to Charles Dickens’ ghosts to elephants mixing with piggies, to — yes, of course — Shakespeare.
“Glorious musicals, re-imagined classics, bold new hits, and laugh-out-loud comedies,” is how the Orlando Shakes team is billing the 27th season, which launches on Sept. 9 with “Monty Python’s SPAMALOT,” the highly irreverent musical by Eric Idle.
In the current Shakes season, they opened with the Broadway favorite “Les Miserables,” a local smash as well that sold out every performance, followed by intimate dramas that explore issues of race and prejudice on the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act, “The Best of Enemies” and “To Kill a Mockingbird”.
For the upcoming season, the Shakes is aiming to start off with some laugh riots through the show that was the winner of three Tony Awards including “Best Musical,” based on “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” As the Shakes team put it, the show “elevates silliness to an art form.”
Then on Oct. 14 comes “Bakersfield Mist,” a new comic drama, followed by a holiday show starting on Dec. 2, still to be determined. In December, the Shakes produced a new version of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” as its holiday show.
Then in 2016, the list of productions includes “Dancing Lessons” (Jan. 6-Feb. 7), a romantic comedy by Mark St. Germain, who also wrote “Best of Enemies,” and two Shakespeare productions: the fantasy “The Tempest” (Feb. 10-March 27), which Shakes last produced in 2002, and “Pericles” (Feb. 24-March 26), which marks the first time the Orlando Shakes has ever produced this grand adventure saga.
The 2015-2016 season concludes with “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” (March 30-May 1), the winner of the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play.
As usual, the upcoming Shakes season also includes their 2015-2016 Children’s Series, which begins this summer. On June 16, the Shakes is producing “The Frog and the Princess,” a fairy tale adventure, followed by “Magic Tree House: A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens” (Oct. 22-Nov. 20), about the two kids, Jack and Annie, who conjure up the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.
Then on April 16, 2016, it’s time for “Elephant and Piggie’s: “We’re in a Play!”, which the Shakes team bills as “Two unlikely besties take to the stage in a rollicking adventure perfect for young audiences.”
Season subscriptions are now available, while single tickets on sale June 16.
Orlando Shakespeare Theater also offers flexible “Choose Your Own” Packages start at $99. To learn more or to subscribe, call the Box Office at 407-447-1700, Ext. 1.
Of course, the Orlando Shakes’ current season isn’t over yet, and their productions of two Shakespeare plays — the comedy “The Merry Wives of Windsor” (playing through March 7) and the war saga “Henry V” (which opens on Wednesday and runs through March 22) — are now in production, as well as “To Kill a Mockingbird” through March 8.
The Orlando Shakespeare Theater is located inside the Lowndes Shakespeare Center at 812 E. Rollins St. in Orlando.
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