A new season of comedies, dramas and musicals is coming and this time it’s not on your television screen, it’s real people, live, in your face, and on a stage near you. The Pacific Conservatory Theatre has announced its 2022-2023 lineup of theatrical shows, featuring folktales, classic musicals and English dramas. Three plays by California playwrights and one Southern California premiere will all be performed in three venues in Santa Maria and Solvang.
First up is a new Broadway retelling of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic musical, Cinderella, at the Marian Theatre November 10 to December 23. The family-friendly musical was last performed by PCPA in 2015 and now it’s back with new twists, old friends and the distinctive music of Rodgers & Hammerstein. Families will be able to celebrate the holidays with a show of magic, romance, and villainy.
In February and March the Severson Theatre features The River Bride, a theatrical rendition of an old Brazilian folktale by playwright Marisela Trevino Orta. Legend has it that Amazon river dolphins sometimes take the guise of humans and attempt to seduce women into marrying them. Can a dolphin masquerade as an attractive man? Or will he return to his life as an aquatic bachelor? The lyrical play promises to be full of mystery, romance, and drama; all set in a fishing village on the bank of the Amazon River.
Jane Austen’s classic novel, Emma, makes its theatrical premiere in March at the Marian Theatre, and moves to the Solvang Festival Theater in June and July. The story has been adapted by Joseph Hanreddy, who previously worked on PCPA’s Jane Austen book adaptations of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. The story follows the young Victorian woman Emma, as she comedically fumbles her attempts to marry off her friend Harriet while navigating her own love life.
Next, the Grammy- and Tony-nominated bluegrass musical Bright Star comes to life at the Marian Theatre in April and May before heading over to the Solvang Festival Theater in July. Written by Steve Martin and Eddie Brickell, Bright Star is based on a true story of two love stories in the early 20th century American south. Recreations of the 1920’s and 1940’s will be sure to fill the stage along with heartfelt songs of romance and redemption.
The progressive comedy American Mariachi, by Jose Cruz Gonzalez, plays in July at the Marian Theatre and in the open-air at the Solvang Festival Theater in August. Set in the 1970’s, follow the story of Lucha, who has fallen into the daily routine of taking care of her sick mother when she decides to break boundaries and form an all-girl mariachi band. Lucha’s struggle to find bandmates, confront gender-norms, and help her mother promises to be overflowing with comedy, love, and vibrant music.
In August and September, the Marian Theatre and the Solvang Festival Theater host a creative tribute to the legendary thespian himself, William Shakespeare. The Book of Will, by Lauren Gunderson, depicts Elizabethan London after Shakespeare’s death; where the stages are plagued by embarrassing Hamlet rip-offs and troupes of child actors. Only our heroes can work together to shape Shakespeare’s legacy into one of historical grandeur. Shakespeare lovers and skeptics alike can experience a story of loss, hope and laughter that depicts the playwright from a myriad of different angles.
Tickets go on sale in October. For more information visit pcpa.org.