RiverStage Community Theatre will begin its 2019-20 season with the classic comedy “Our Miss Brooks” by Christopher Sergel, based on the popular radio and TV sitcom.
Performances will be held over two weekends, Friday and Saturday Sept. 20-21 and 27-28 at 7:30 p.m., and one Sunday matinee on Sept. 29 at 2:30 p.m., at Greenspace Center, 815 Market Street in Lewisburg.
All seating is general admission, tickets are $15 for adults or $8 for students, with group discounts available, and they can be purchased by calling 570-989-0848, at the door, or at www.riverstagetheatre.org.
“Our Miss Brooks” by Christopher Sergel, based on the scripts by R.J. Mann, follows the comedic adventures of a 1950’s high school English teacher, Miss Connie Brooks, as she handles her students, her job and her love life, all with trademark style and humor.
This three-act extended “episode” of the show starts with Brooks pressured into directing the school play. When the class diva doesn’t get the leading role, life gets more complicated for her, and things only get crazier as a fight over the basketball team’s star player and the gymnasium put her at odds with the attractive basketball coach, Mr. Longacre.
Filled with snappy jokes and high-school hijinks, “Our Miss Brooks” is a comedy that’s appropriate for all ages. The CBS radio show broadcast from 1948 to 1957 was an instant hit, the TV series from 1952-1956 was a four-time nominee for the Emmy for Best Comedy, and star Eve Arden won the 1954 Emmy for Best Female Star.
“We are thrilled to be starting our fourth year at Greenspace in Lewisburg, and eighth season overall,” said RiverStage board president Jove Graham, “and we wanted to kick things off with a great comedy everyone could enjoy. Whether you remember the radio and TV show or not, ‘Our Miss Brooks’ is such a classic, hilarious character, and we love how much of the small-town school politics in the show are still funny and eerily familiar today. We’re also proud to be able to put on a show that pulls together so many young people from all over the region alongside more seasoned actors to create a diverse, strong, and entertaining production!”
Director Maggie Able added: “This cast is great and has been so much fun to work with. ‘Our Miss Brooks’ was groundbreaking for showing a working woman in the 1950s who was strong and self-sufficient, and that just adds another special element to such a light, funny show. Come on out and you will have a great time with us!”
The production will feature a diverse cast of adult and teen actors from Williamsport, Turbotville, Lewisburg and Selinsgrove, to name a few, who have performed in shows at RiverStage, Community Theatre League, Christ Wesleyan, Millbrook and a variety of area schools.
Ashli Starks of Milton, who appeared last year as Elizabeth Proctor in YATP’s “The Crucible,” plays Miss Brooks. Her confidante, Miss Finch the librarian, is played by Laura Hartranft of Dewart who was recently seen as Corrine in CTL’s “Glitter Girls.”
Also playing the school faculty members are Jordan Adams (as the basketball coach Mr. Longacre), Brittane Strahan (as the music teacher Miss Audobon) and Melissa Fast (as the school board president Mrs. Allen), all of whom are kept under the watchful eye of the principal Mr. Wadsworth, played by RiverStage veteran Glenn Wilson.
The three students at the center of the story are portrayed by Ramsey Uhter (Rhonda), Isaac Schriner (Ted) and Taija Figard (Jane), with a cast of comedic classmates played by Lindsay Miller (Doris), Lexi Marshall (Elsie), Lea Waltman (Elaine), Orissa Reed (Faith), Katie Kelley (Marge), Logan Adams (Martin), Mason Clark (Stanley) and Kelsey Shrawder (Sylvia).
The show is directed by Maggie Able, with stage management by Tammy Uhter, production design by Peter Wiley, lighting and sound design by Stefan Eisenhower, and costume design by Cynthia Shaffer.
Following “Our Miss Brooks,” the season will continue with a new adaptation of “Anne of Green Gables,” followed by “A Lewisburg Victorian Nutcracker,” “Cyrano de Bergerac,” “Twelve Angry Men” and Monty Python’s “Spamalot.”
For more information, visit riverstagetheatre.org or follow riverstagecommunitytheatre on Facebook and Instagram.