Bristol Riverside Theatre announces lineup

Bristol Riverside Theatre will offer three musicals, a comedy and a contemporary drama for its 2017–2018 season.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, with music and lyrics by William Finn and book by Rachel Sheinkin, opens the season from Sept. 19 to Oct. 15. The show is directed by Amy Kaissar and features six quirky and awkward adolescents facing off.

It’s showtime: Bristol Riverside Theatre will offer productions of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Quartet and Time Stands Still, among others, during the 2017–2018 season. TIMES FILE PHOTO

Next up from Oct. 31 to Nov. 19 is Quartet, a comedy directed by Susan D. Atkinson that celebrates life, love and music. Cecily, Reggie and Wilf live in a home for retired opera singers, where they take part in an annual concert to celebrate Italian opera composer Giuseppe Verdi’s birthday. When opera great Jean Horton arrives just in time to sing at the concert, she’s asked to perform for the first time in over 20 years, and two friends and her ex-husband will do anything to make sure Jean takes the stage.

Atkinson will also direct Donald Margulies’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play Time Stands Still, from Jan. 23 to Feb. 11. Photographer Sarah and writer James work together as war correspondents. When a car bomb injures Sarah, she comes home to recuperate in the loft they share. It’s soon clear that she is eager to return to the action, while he’s relieved to be away from the terror and bloodshed.

The season will close with back-to-back musicals, both directed by BRT artistic director Keith Baker.

The Producers will play from March 6 to April 1, 2018. It’s based on the book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, with music and lyrics by Mel Brooks. The show won 12 Tony Awards. It’s the story of scheming producer Max Bialystock and his mousy accountant Leo Bloom. They discover that, under the right circumstances, they could make more money producing a flop than a hit, never anticipating that their sure-to-offend musical will become a surprise sensation. The show spoofs grand, old-fashioned Broadway musicals while paying tribute to them at the same time.

BRT closes the season with Triumph of Love, which features music by Jeffrey Stock and lyrics by Susan Birkenhead. It runs May 1–20, 2018. Set in the 18th century, this tongue-in-cheek musical follows the ruthless Princess Leonide as she literally wears the pants so her beloved Agis can return to his rightful throne. With her confidante, Corine, by her side, Leonide must rescue her man before his stuffed-shirt uncle and sourpuss aunt find out who’s really beneath those ever-changing clothes.

There will be post-show discussions on the first Tuesday and Wednesday of each run; a post-performance reception on the first Thursday of each run; a guest speaker on the first Friday of each run; pre-show desserts and wine on the second Wednesday of each run; beer from local breweries on the third Thursday of each run; and a post-show discussion on the religious themes and issues in the production on the third Sunday of each run.

For information, visit brtstage.org ••

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