Batavia Players prepare final season at Harvester 56 Theater

Nov 17, 2018

The Batavia Players face the grandest, most difficult production they’ve ever attempted in the coming year: moving.

Thanks to a $700,000 Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant the Players’ received in July, they will be dropping the curtain on the Harvester 56 Theater, and moving to a new theater that will be constructed inside the City Centre.

That means the recently announced 2019 season will be the Players’ final one at Harvester.

“It’s incredible, we’re out on this side street in an industrial facility and the Batavia Players and Harvester 56 Theater keeps growing and growing each year,” said Pat Burk, the Players’ executive and artistic director when the grant was awarded. “Can you imagine what it will be like when it’s downtown and in more of a state-of-the-art facility than where we are now? To me it’s just amazing.”

With the impending move hovering over everything they do this year, the Players have forgone a theme to the 2019 season. While previous seasons have featured shows interconnected with similar messages or styles, this year will mark several firsts and lasts. For instance, the popular On Broadway production, when the Players present scenes from various Broadway shows, will end with its 10th installment in February. The Players will also say goodbye to longtime member and prolific actor and director Norm Argulski after his turn as the title character in April’s production of “King Lear” (Argulski has said this will be his final role). New this year are a pair of shows that haven’t been made available to community theater groups until this year: “Mamma Mia!” and “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.”

Here’s a breakdown of the 2019 season:

Gala & Harvie Awards ‘An Afternoon in an English Garden’ Jan. 5, 7 p.m.

The annual gala kicks off each season with an awards show to honor the best performances from the previous year.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in NightTime Jan. 25-26

“Incident” is a stage adaptation of a 2003 mystery novel by Mark Haddon. During it’s initial run in London, it won a then-record seven Olivier Awards. It later won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Play during a two-year Broadway run.

The story focuses on autistic teen Christopher Boone as he investigates the death of a neighbor’s dog.

On Broadway 10Saving the Best for Last Feb. 22-24

The scenes included in this year’s revue come from Tony Award winners “Wonderful Town,” Bye, Bye, Birdie,” “Sweeny Todd,” “Les Miserables,” “Sunset Boulevard,” “Jersey Boys” and “Hamilton.”

Shakespeare in SpringtimeKing Lear April 5-13

This year’s Shakespeare production will include a pair of special engagements at Wyoming Village Hall.

“Lear” is one of William Shakespeare’s best known and most respected tragedies. It follows the title character’s slow, gradual descent into madness amongst a family rift and struggle for power.

Carol Burnett’s Hollywood Arms May 10-12

Based on Burnett’s best-selling book, “One More Time,” the play explores the lives of three women living in poverty. It is based on the early life of Burnett herself and her mother and grandmother.

Mamma Mia! June 7-16

Featuring the music of ABBA, “Mamma Mia” ran for 14 years and became one of the longest running shows on Broadway. The story centers around a soon-to-be married woman, her mother and three possible fathers.

Summer Kids Camp Seussical Kids July 28-29

The two-week summer camp culminates in the production of “Seussical,” a musical inspired by the written works of Dr. Seuss.

Summer Youth TheaterNewsies Aug. 9-11

Based on the 1992 film of the same name, “Newsies” focuses on the Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City. It was nominated for eight Tony Awards, winning two.

August: Osage County Sept. 13-15

Winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and five Tony Awars, “August: Osage County” tells the tale of Beverly Weston, a prized poet whose death reunites his family in Oklahoma.

The Rocky Horror Show Oct. 4-13

Did you know cult film favorite “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” was based on a musical? You do now. And the Batavia Players will present this risque show about newlyweds Brad and Janet seeking shelter from a storm inside the castle of “Sweet Transvestite” Dr. Frank-N-Furter. This is not an interactive show like the film has become, so leave your toast, rice and toilet paper at home.

A Charles Dickens Christmas Dec. 13-21

We all know Charles Dickens’ most famous work, “A Christmas Carol,” and the iconic characters contained within. But “A Charles Dickens Christmas” tells the story of how the young author struggled to write what would become one of the most beloved holiday stories ever told.

By MATT KRUEGER, Batavia Daily News