Penn State Centre Stage announces shows for upcoming 2019-20 season

UNIVERSITY PARK — Repeatedly acclaimed as one of the country’s top theater programs, Penn State Centre Stage has unveiled its 2019-20 season.

Rick Lombardo, producing artist director of Penn State Centre Stage, proudly notes that this year marks the 100th anniversary of Theatre at Penn State.

With acknowledged depth and diversity as one of “finest raining grounds for theatre artists in America,” PSCS is producing shows this season which cover a very broad range of genre and style.

Last year’s lineup featured four Centre Stage shows staged on-campus and four Off-Centre productions presented in downtown State College.

That format has been revamped for 2019-20 season, with four Centre Stage shows, including two modern theatrical masterpieces, with two cutting-edge works for staging as Off-Centre productions.



The professional arm of the Penn State School of theatre, Penn State Centre Stage serves as a training ground for emerging theatre professionals. Each theatre production is created from conception to completing at Penn State, using skills taught by its theater faculty.

Each of the four 2019-20 Centre Stage productions will be staged at The Playhouse Theatre on the University Park campus.

“She Kills Monsters”

Oct. 8-17

Billed as a ‘high-octane dramatic comedy laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, and ’90s pop culture,” this comedic romp delves into the world of fantasy-playing games.

After the death of her teenage sister Tilly, a young girl Agnes finds Tilly’s “Dungeons & Dragons” notebook, and stumbles into a journey of discovery and adventure in the imaginary world that was Tilly’s refuge.

“A Little

Night Music”

Nov. 5-15

With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, this infrequently produced musical is set at the turn of the last century.

A lavish reunion is set at a country estate, which interweaves a tangled web of former and current lovers among the upper crust elite of Sweden.

A series of couplings and uncouplings from a blushing bride, a former flame and fading actress, a married host, and other assorted colorful characters lead to plenty of complications and more than “A Little Night Music.”


In America”

Feb. 25-Mar. 5

Tony Kushner’s politically incendiary play celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Still “hilariously irreverent and heartbreakingly humane,” this contemporary drama tackles Reaganism, McCarthyism, immigration, religion, climate change and AIDS against the backdrop of New York City in the mid-1980s.

This production runs three and a half hours, with two 15-minute intermissions.

“Monty Python’s Spamalot”

Mar. 31-Apr. 10

With book and lyrics by Eric Idle, this hilarious musical comedy won the 2005 Tony Award as “Best Musical.”

In the show, which is based upon the iconic 1975 film, King Arthur and his misfits encounter many challenges and characters in their quest to find the Holy Grail.

“Spamalot” is a crazy glimpse into a society that seems to exit simultaneously in the Medieval Period as well as 2020.


Off-Centre productions provide an opportunity for School of Theatre students to stage smaller-scaled shows that are compelling, thought-provoking and entertaining.

With a limited run, the 2019-20 Off Centre productions will be staged at the Downtown Theatre Center, 146 S. Allen St., State College.

“Hooded Or Being Black For Dummies”

Sept. 14-18

Two 14-year-old black boys from Baltimore exist in totally different worlds.

This poignant play explores the differences between a book smart prep-schooler living in an affluent suburb, and a street-savvy kid from deep within the inner city.

Their worlds overlap one day in a holding cell when after some debate and wrestling , the street-smart kid decides to pen a how-to manual titled “Being Black for Dummies.”

“The Lucky Boy”

Feb. 18-22

This commissioned work for the New Musicals Initiative is based upon the Brothers Grimm fairy tale “The Devil With Three Golden Hairs.”

When an illegal alien baby is predicted to grow up and surpass King Ambrose in adorability, the baby is thrown into a nuclear waste bin, but rescued by rogue scientists.

Eighteen years later, the baby, having grown to manhood and called “Lucky,” falls in love with the King’s daughter.

Sparks fly and the music soars when the King consents to the pair’s marriage — if Lucky can bring the King three golden hairs from the Devil’s head.


Cheri Sinclair, the School of Theatre’s marketing director, confirms that Penn State Centre Stage will hold a Sneak Preview Celebration from 5:30-8:00 p.m. Sept. 4 on the Olsan-Slone Terrace of the Playhouse Theatre.

PSCS theatergoers are invited to catch a snippet or two of the 2019-20 shows, and meet the directors, designers and students who will producing the season attractions.

There is a cost, and advance sales are required. The “Celebration” includes liquid refreshments, hors d’ouevres, and desserts. Parking is free on Lot Green (behind Palmer Museum).

For more information, call 814-863-0255.