The Judy Kohn Tenenbaum Argenta Community Theater officially announced its 2023-2024 season. As ACT prepares to open its first show of 2023 next month, "The Producers," the theater is already looking ahead to a lineup filled with iconic stories, hit musicals and explorations of life both near and far.
ACT's season kicks off in June and runs through May 2024, with shows taking place both on the main stage and in ACT II: The Sharon Heflin Performing Arts Educational Center at 315 Main St.
Without further ado, here's what's on the marquee.
"High School Musical 2 Jr."
Production of ACT's student summer camp ACTing UP
The gang is back for an action-packed summer extravaganza as Troy, Gabriella and the rest of the Wildcats finish junior year and blast onto the summer scene in Disney’s "High School Musical 2 Jr." Based on Disney Channel’s blockbuster TV movie, Disney’s "High School Musical 2 Jr." is a favorite for children and their moms and dads.
July 26 - Aug. 5
Contains adult themes. Parental guidance recommended.
Based on Puccini’s beloved opera "La Bohème," "Rent" follows the ups and downs of a year in the life of a group of impoverished, artistic friends living in Manhattan’s East Village. Mark, an aspiring filmmaker, struggles to find his place in the world. His roommate Roger, an HIV-positive musician, wonders how he will leave his mark before he dies. Mimi and Angel look for true love as they face the harsh reality of life as HIV-positive young people, while the businesslike Joanne seeks fidelity from her wild-child performance artist girlfriend Maureen. The group’s dreams, losses and love stories weave through the musical’s narration to paint a stunningly raw and emotional portrait of the gritty bohemian world of New York City in the late 1980s under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.
"Bring It On: The Musical"
Aug. 30 - Sept. 9
"Bring It On: The Musical" tells the story of Campbell Davis, a young cheerleader who dreams of leading her squad to victory at a national competition. The story focuses on the world of competitive cheerleading and the intense rivalries it creates. Campbell’s future is secure: handsome boyfriend, a killer squad and the newly awarded title of cheer captain. Suddenly, however, she is mysteriously reassigned to another school: the inner-city Jackson High, where she hardly knows anyone and worse: they don’t have a cheerleading squad.
On the ACT II stage
The ACT II stage is pleased to present "Doubt" in collaboration with Acansa as part of the annual Acansa Arts Festival of the South. "Doubt," written by John Patrick Shanley, tells the story of an unconscionable accusation leveled against a priest as a sister realizes that the only way to get justice is to create it herself. "Doubt" is an Academy Award-nominated movie starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Tickets for Doubt will be available at acansa.org later this spring once the full festival lineup is announced.
It’s been 65 years since the world was transfixed on Little Rock, Arkansas, as nine African American students, later known as the “Little Rock Nine,” braved a violent mob and the Arkansas National Guard to enter and attend the previously all-white Central High School. "One Ninth" is an exploration of human dignity and racial conflict as seen through the eyes of one of the Little Rock Nine, Minnijean Brown, an ordinary 16-year-old girl. "One Ninth" is written by Brown’s daughter, Spirit (Trickey) Tawfiq. The play deals with universal themes of systematic racism, bullying, silent witnesses, non-violence, peer pressure, social responsibility, community and family. In addition to evening performances, daytime student matinees will be held throughout this production as part of ACT’s commitment to theater education.
"Miracle on 34th Street"
"This is a tale that we want to believe in, that creates a world we seem to desperately desire, free of the blatant commercialism that surrounds us, where love and decency and generosity of spirit are their own rewards — what we want Christmas to be all about, really." So writes the Santa Cruz Sentinel of this most heartwarming holiday story. By chance, Kris Kringle, an old man in a retirement home, gets a job working as Santa for Macy's. Kris unleashes waves of goodwill with Macy's customers and the commercial world of New York City by referring parents to other stores to find exactly the toy their child has asked for. Seen as deluded and dangerous by Macy's vocational counselor, who plots to have Kris shanghaied to Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital, Kris ends up in a court competency hearing. Especially at stake is one little girl's belief in Santa. In a dramatic decision, the court confirms Kris as the true Santa, allowing Susan and countless other children to experience the joy of Christmas morning. The play is adapted by Mountain Community Theater from the novel by Valentine Davies. Based upon the Twentieth Century Fox motion picture "Miracle on 34th Street."
"The Lion in Winter"
On the ACT II stage
ACT’s Dinner Theater Special Production comes to life featuring James Goldman’s iconic play of betrayal, treachery and a knife fight: It’s just another normal Christmas celebration for the royal Plantagenet family of Britain. In "The Lion in Winter," King Henry II throws a Christmas feast for the newly crowned King of France. Also in attendance for the holiday celebrations are Henry’s three plotting sons, each eager to take the throne, and Henry’s manipulative wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, newly released from house arrest (after raising an army against Henry). Even though they need to appear a happy family for the King of France, this doesn’t stop each Plantagenet from secretly plotting to take the others down. While the three sons backstab and squabble to take their place in history, Eleanor and Henry use their offspring as pawns against each other in a dangerous game of cat and mouse. Told in "marvelously articulate language, with humor that bristles and burns" (Los Angeles Times), "The Lion in Winter" is a play that transcends the historical genre to become a bitingly hilarious family drama. The first week of shows will be with dinner while the second week will be theater-style seating.
(Show descriptions provided by ACT.)
Season passes are available now, and individual tickets will go on sale March 1.
For more information and to secure your seat, visit the ACT website and follow along on Facebook and Instagram for the latest.