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Millbrook Playhouse retains Leidholdt, announces season

MILL HALL — Millbrook Playhouse is the bearer of good news.

David Leidholdt is returning to Clinton County’s old barn theatre for a seventh season as its producing artistic director.

During his tenure, the genial Leidholdt has seen the professional theatre draw new, appreciative audiences, expanded Millbrook’s Youth Ensemble, scheduled successful special events, and presented “summer stock” shows in the fall.

LAST SUMMER SEASON

2019 ‘s attractions certainly seemed to have drawing power. From an appeal viewpoint, “Mamma Mia,” which often played to sell-out crowds during its three-weekend run, probably could have been booked for a fourth weekend.

Leidholdt was somewhat surprised at the drawing power of “Disney’s Newsies,” and audiences were no doubt surprised to see an unannounced cameo appearance by David Leidholdt in one of the musical’s last scenes.

The downstairs Cabaret also drew well. As Leidholdt said, “If the audience doesn’t know the play, they will still come if there is a catchy title.” This may be one of the reasons why the 2019 Cabaret offerings of “Sexy Laundry” and “The Fox On the Fairway” attracted good-sized audiences.

Then, too, by extending “summer stock” into the fall, Leidholdt oversaw a rousing reprise of “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” followed by the Millbrook Youth Ensemble’s successful runs of both “Kid Frankenstein” and (with heat in the upstairs Main Stage) “Elf the Musical, Jr.”

Leidholdt conceded that, “The most difficult thing of running Millbrook is that every year you have to start from scratch.”

There are many musicals which Leidholdt would like to see presented on the old barn theatre stage, but are often by-passed either because of their size or the mere uncertainty of drawing power, or simply because required royalty and rentals make them financially impractical.

Millbrook’s dynamic artistic director is always looking for “something new and perhaps a bit controversial.”

Here is Millbrook’s upcoming 2020 summer season:

POORMAN CABARET

THEATRE

“Same Time, Next Year”

(June 12-21)

Millbrook’s 57th season kicks off with Bernard Slade’s classic comedy. An affair that goes on and on, but only once annually, is the focal point of this popular comedy. An extra attraction is that the two-person cast stars husband and wife acting duo, Aaron White and Nina White.

“Deathtrap”

(June 26 – July 12)

Often dubbed a “play within a play,” Ira Levin’s thriller has a popular author of mysteries, suffering from a dry spell, suddenly more than willing to kill a young writer, who visits him with a new surefire hit of a manuscript.

“The Cake”

(July 17-26)

One of two “newer” offerings, this comedy focuses on a North Carolina legendary baker’s efforts and desperate need to bake the perfect wedding cake — for two brides! The baker’s life — but hopefully not the icing on the cake — is turned upside down in this offbeat comedy.

“Popcorn Falls”

(July 31 – Aug. 9)

Another unfamiliar, newer comedy focuses on the sleepy town (whose citizens are known as kernels), which faces bankruptcy and destruction unless a play can be written and staged in a single week. Reportedly, two actors play all 20 roles in this over-the-top, looney comedy to “save the town.”

RYAN MAIN STAGE

THEATRE

“Shrek: The Musical”

(June 19 – July 3)

The Main Stage opener has the little green ogre looking for fun, frolic, and finding even a little romance. Based upon the animated movie, this is the Tony Award-winning fairy tale adventure that Millbrook is adapting as this summer’s family fare musical.

“The Wedding Singer”

(July 10-19)

There’s more sorrows than joy for this wannabe rock singer, who is left at the altar. That is, until he becomes a one-of-a-kind professional singer at nuptials in an upbeat musical production. Based upon the 1998 movie, singing and dancing (among the audience) is almost a sure thing!

“The Great American Trailer Park Musical”

(July 24 -Aug. 8)

There’s a new tenant in Florida’s most exclusive trailer park known as Armadillo Acres. She happens to be a stripper on-the-run who wreaks havoc throughout the trailer park in this over-the-top musical, populated with silly, stereotyped but very colorful characters.

“Grand Legends”

(Aug. 27-30)

Join Millbrook on a wild ride through pop, rock, country hits and show tunes! Grand Legends will treat you to an evening of unforgettable live music, and excitement, starring Brandon Fillette, who wowed audiences as Jerry Lee Lewis in last year’s “Milliion Dollar Quartet.”

Featuring songs from the Grand Ole Opry to the Great White Way, this energetic musical celebration of American favorites will have you dancing in the aisles.

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