Summer theater returns to PSU with three fantastic productions

STATE COLLEGE — Summer theater is returning to Penn State.

After concluding his first season as Director of Penn State’s School of Theatre, and Artistic Director of Penn State Centre Stage, Rick Lombardo acknowledges hearing how many people missed the school’s summer productions.

Lombardo is therefore enthusiastically announcing that Penn State Centre Stage is returning to summer theatre this June and July.

“We’re rebooting with three very different productions in two venues,” Lombardo says.

Penn State University’s summer season of renewal and rebirth:

“The Last Day”

(8 p.m. June 12-15, 19-22 at the Penn State Downtown Theatre)

Not only is this commissioned piece the world premiere of a powerful new musical, but it is written by Mike Reid, Penn State football star and Grammy Award winning composer.

When a university student is dismissed from a music theater-training program because he is overwhelmed by a deeply hidden secret which he has never shared, his peers rally around him in an attempt to show him the value of his life over one fateful day.

“A Year With Frog and Toad”

(10 a.m., 3:30 p.m. July 10-13 at the Playhouse Theatre)

This revival of one of the most treasured children’s productions follows the unlikely friendship between a cheerful frog and an often grumpy toad.

Traveling during four fun-filled seasons, they learn life lessons along the way in this acclaimed family musical. (Millbrook Playhouse kicks off its 2019 season of professional summer theater with its own adaptation of “A Year With Frog and Toad.”)

“Albatross”

(8 p.m. July 10-13, 17-20 at the Penn State Downtown Theatre)

This captivating tale is based upon “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”

Rick Lombardo directs this one-man adaptation in which the Mariner defies nature, showing tenderness and mercy, eventually accepting that there is a price associated with how we live our lives.

“Albatross” is rough and uncouth, funny and harsh, iconic and unforgettable.

Lombardo promises that each show this summer will take the audience on a special journey.

But in drumming up interest for Penn State’s resumption of summer theatre faire, he still may have had tongue-in-cheek when exclaiming “Sunglasses are optional.”

For more information, call 814-863-0255.

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