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Playhouse announces spring 2021 season

Youngstown Playhouse has three big musicals scheduled for its planned return to live theater in spring 2021.

According to board President Dr. John Cox, “I believe adversity can create opportunity. Although our stages are dark during the COVID-19 public health crisis, there is an incredible amount of work occurring behind the scenes. We are using this time to improve all aspects of the theater and to position the organization for long-term, sustainable growth as we anticipate our forthcoming 100th anniversary season in 2024.”

Mainstage musicals will include “The Color Purple” in May, “The Producers” in September and “Elf: The Musical” as the 2021 holiday production.

“The Color Purple” is based on Alice Walker’s best-selling novel and won the Tony Award for best musical revival in 2016. The Playhouse production will be directed by Trevail Maurice, who will be joined by much of the creative team that worked with him on the 2019 sold-out production of “Dreamgirls.”

David Jendre will direct “The Producers,” a musical adaptation of the Mel Brooks movie comedy of the same name. It ran for six years on Broadway and holds the record for the most Tony awards given to a musical with 12.

“Elf: The Musical,” based on the Will Ferrell hit comedy, will be a collaboration between the Playhouse and its Youth Theatre. No director is attached to the December production.

Youngstown Playhouse Youth Theatre also will stage “The Gone Away Place,” based on a novel by Youngstown author Christopher Barzak and directed by Jim Canacci. It is one of the shows the Playhouse was forced to postpone due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One show currently is planned in the Moyer Room as part of the Playhouse’s Griffith / Adler Series. “Marjorie Prime” is a science fiction tale about an 85-year-old woman with a fading memory who gets a companion programmed to feed the story of her life back to her. Jordan Harrison’s tale explores the complicated nature of familial relationships, the mysteries of human identity, and the limits — if any — of what technology can replace.

“We look forward to welcoming back audiences with an exciting lineup of 5 productions complemented by smaller, to-be-announced special events,” Cox said. “As a doctor, I am firmly committed to ensuring the well-being of our audiences, staff and volunteers. The timing and nature of our re-opening will be informed by scientific and government recommendations. Art is essential and safety is our priority as we prepare for our 2021 opening night.”

Performances will take place at 600 Playhouse Lane, Youngstown.

Flex pass memberships valid for four performances within the 2021 season start at $50 and are available online at www.theyoungstownplayhouse.com. Discounts are available for senior citizens, students and military.

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