Every year, the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse brings professional musical theater productions to the banks of Owasco Lake. But next summer, the theater company will extend its reach to downtown Auburn.
Merry-Go-Round announced this week a plan to produce a show in July and August at Auburn Public Theater at the same time as it runs productions at the theater in Owasco.
Representatives from both Merry-Go-Round and the APT say the season’s schedule will introduce regular theatergoers to downtown Auburn while serving as a test run for a larger musical theater festival scheduled to launch in 2012.
“This is another step in Auburn’s revival,” said Ed Sayles,
producing manager with Merry-Go-Round.
According to the schedule released Friday, the season at the Owasco playhouse includes productions of “Hairspray” from June 29 to July 20 and “42nd Street” from July 27 to August 17.
During part of that stretch, from July 13 through Aug. 6, Merry-Go-Round will also present “Cooking with the Calamari Sisters: Mangia Italiano!” at the downtown Auburn Public Theater.
The dual productions will serve as a sort of precursor to an annual musical theater festival planned for Auburn. According to proposals for the festival, multiple productions would run through the summer in venues that include the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse and Auburn Public Theater, as well as the Cayuga Museum carriage house and a new venue proposed for downtown.
Sayles, who is also one of the festival organizers, said next summer will be an opportunity to work out possible issues that come with running a multiple-venue operation. Some challenges could include working with multiple box offices, coordinating rehearsals and making sure all shows run efficiently, Sayles said.
“We’ve really got to plan this,” he said.
For the Auburn Public Theater, it could mean showing off the 200-seat theater to new patrons. Angela Daddabbo, the theater’s artistic director, said on Friday the extra show is already having an impact.
Merry-Go-Round offers initiatives to some subscribers, allowing them to purchase season tickets early. Daddabbo said they’re already getting calls about next summer.
“It just does so much to legitimize our efforts here,” she said. “It’s the kind of publicity you can’t pay for. You can’t invent it or create it.”
Daddabbo also said the collaborative effort will be a smaller version of the proposed festival, which will bring together even more venues and producers on a larger scale. Whenever people launch something like the festival, there are questions about how things will run and how people will interact.
She said she’s “thrilled” so far about how these events are coming together.
“In a way, it’s sort of a baby step toward that collaborative process,” Daddabbo said.
Staff writer Christopher Caskey can be reached at 282-2282 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at CitizenCaskey.