The Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival's 2016 season will be its fifth — and it finds the festival making big moves.
Producing Artistic Director Brett Smock announced the season's eight shows at the premiere of "Saturday Night Fever" Wednesday at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse in Owasco. Leading off will be the festival's second-most requested show: the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic "Oklahoma!"
Next will be "From Here to Eternity," adapted by renowned lyricist Tim Rice from the Academy Award-winning 1953 film. The musical opened on London's West End in 2013, and is making a developmental path to Broadway, Smock said.
From there will be the George and Ira Gershwin's Tony-award winning "Crazy For You" and then "Treasure Island," a new adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic novel.
Following that will be "Million Dollar Quartet," a show based on recording sessions that brought together Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis, then "Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical." Through an arrangement with Theatrical Rights Worldwide, it will be one of the first U.S. runs for the show based on the life of the legendary singer, Smock said.
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The holiday programming starting this year with "Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings" will become permanent next December with "Smokey Joe's Cafe," featuring pop standards by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller like "Hound Dog," "Jailhouse Rock" and "Stand By Me."
Last, the festival will produce "Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice: A Musical" at Nazareth College in Rochester as part of a new partnership between the two institutions. The show began as a concert at the city's Eastman School of Music, Smock said, and authors Lindsay Warren Baker and Amanda Jacobs hail from the area.
With that addition comes a subtraction. For the first time, the festival won't produce a show at Auburn Public Theater in 2016. Smock told The Citizen that he couldn't find a show that fit right, and that the door remains open for the festival to work with APT again in 2017 and beyond. The festival will, however, return to Theater Mack next summer for a seven-show run of The Pitch, its series of stripped-down musicals in progress.
For more information about the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, call (315) 255-1785 or (800) 457-8897, or visit fingerlakesmtf.com.