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7:56 PM Tue, Sept. 18th

Prescott Center for the Arts raises the curtain on a new season

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier<br>“Annie” cast members sing “It’s a Hard-Knock Life” Saturday during the Prescott Center for the Arts’ 2012–2013 season kickoff and volunteer appreciation event.

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier<br>“Annie” cast members sing “It’s a Hard-Knock Life” Saturday during the Prescott Center for the Arts’ 2012–2013 season kickoff and volunteer appreciation event.

Drama, comedy and musicals - all sure to tug at virtually every human emotion - are on the Prescott Center for the Arts bill of fare for this coming season.

Bruce Thomson, chair of the PCA selection committee for 2012-2013 plays, said each year a call for suggestions for plays goes out to those on PCA's list of people involved with its productions as well as on its Web page. Much study goes into what plays are feasible for the PCA stage and audience appeal, he said.

Most productions will be on the PCA main stage, except for "Annie," which opens in September at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center. Other performances will be on Stage Too, PCA's new acquisition near its Marina Street location.

First on the marquee is "Annie," directed by PCA executive director Jon Meyer. The classic story takes place during the Depression, with the play's namesake stuck in an orphanage run by the hateful Miss Hannigan. Of course, the cast includes Annie's dog, Sandy, and her savior, Daddy Warbucks.

Play times are 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 14, 15, 20 and 21 and at 2 p.m. on Sept. 16 and 22 at the college's Performing Arts Center, 1100 E. Sheldon St.

Meyer said he looks forward to reconnecting the association between PCA and the college, an alliance that began 20 years ago when PCA opened the college's performance hall with "Man of La Mancha."

"Annie is one of my favorite musicals, and I have a stellar cast," Meyer said, adding that PCA is teaming up with the Yavapai Humane Society "to help bring more attention to the plight of stray animals. As we all know, Annie's dog, Sandy, is a stray."

"Rabbit Hole," directed by Jean Lippincott, is the heartwarming, heart-wrenching and often humorous story of Becca and Howie Corbett, whose lives are turned upside-down by a life-shattering accident.

The curtain goes up at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 4, 5, 6, 11, 12 and 13 and at 2 p.m. on Oct. 7 and 13. The 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winning play's content is for an adult audience.

"I was touched by this play and, although the material is considered dark, I think it portrays the resilience of the human spirit and humor and love," Lippincott said in her blog. "I am really excited about directing it."

"Harvey," which Thomson directs, tells the endearing and enduring story of charming eccentric Elwood P. Dowd and his 6-foot-tall invisible rabbit companion. The big question is, "Is normal all that it's cracked up to be?"

The play runs at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 10, 11, 12, 17, 18 and 19 and at 2 p.m. on Jan. 13 and 19.

"Harvey" won a Pulitzer Prize for drama in the 1940s. "It's a classic comedy," Thompson said. "The theme will resonate with modern audiences. It will be refreshing for people to go back in time when things were simpler."

Bruce Lanning directs "Almost, Maine," in which playwright John Cariani explores the mysteries of the human heart in a comedy that takes place during one night - and the Aurora Borealis - in a small mythical town in far northern Maine where residents are falling in and out of love at an alarming rate.

The play runs at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 14, 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23 and at 2 p.m. on Feb. 17 and 23.

"Almost Maine" opens on Valentine's Day and, though the little town doesn't offer much excitement, "something magical happens in each scene," Lanning said.

"A Thousand Clowns," directed by Randy Faulkner, brings to the stage unconventional Murray, uncle to a precocious nephew, who tires of writing cheap comedy gags for a children's television star and finds himself out of a job with plenty of free time to "pursue ... his pursuits." Murray's antagonists include his "conventional" brother and a couple of bickering uptight social workers who want to remove his nephew from his guardianship.

The play runs at 7:30 p.m. April 4, 5, 6, 11, 12 and 13 and at 2 p.m. on April 7 and 13.

The play's story picks up about a year after Murray's sister dumps her son on him and disappears, Faulkner said. He quits his job to look for more distinctive employment. But when child welfare workers find out he is jobless and doesn't have legal guardianship, "they decide to take the kid away and put him in a foster home. Murray struggles with taking a job that's beneath him or losing his nephew," Faulkner said.

Despite the heavy-sounding theme, "it's a comedy," Faulkner said.

"The Producers," directed by Catherine Miller Hahn, is about a hit that was meant to be a flop. The 1968 American satirical comedy cult classic film was written and directed by Mel Brooks and is the story of a theatrical producer and an accountant who plan to take more money from investors than they need and escape to Brazil as soon as the play closes. Sadly for them, their plan backfires.

The play runs at 7:30 p.m. June 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29 and at 2 p.m. on June 16 and 23.

"This play has won more Tony awards than any musical ever on Broadway," Hahn said, adding that it was Mel Brooks' first musical and was based on the popular 1960s movie starring Gene Wilder. "It was a hugely popular movie," she said. Brooks decided to do a musical version, she said, and wrote the dialogue, lyrics and the music. "It's slapstick, crazy and a huge comedy with music," she said.

Fun-loving, nutty people need to show up for auditions, which begin in April, she said. "I want every fun-loving elderly lady in town to try out for it - whoever is ready to have a ball."

Because of suggestive material, the play is for adult audiences.

For more information about performance locations, ticket prices and to order tickets, call the PCA box office at 445-3286, stop in the box office, now in the PCA gallery on Willis Street, or visit www.pca-az.net. The PCA theater is located at the corner of Willis and Marina streets.