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Journey the World During 2011-12 Season at MCCC's Kelsey Theatre; Subscription Series Now on Sale


West Windsor, N.J. -- Mercer County Community College's Kelsey Theatre invites audiences of all ages -- from youngsters to senior citizens -- on a theatrical journey around the world and through time during its 2011-12 season set to begin Sept. 9. Nineteen full-length adult and family productions will take audiences to enchanted and mysterious places like Camelot, Oz, Xanadu, and more, while the Kelsey Kids Series offers 12 productions featuring traveling professional companies and local troupes. Kelsey Theatre is conveniently located on the college's West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.

Discounted series packages are on sale now; subscribers will receive savings of up to 47% off regular ticket prices. Current subscribers must renew by August 19 to receive priority seating. New subscribers and tickets for single shows will be processed after August 26. (Based on audience polling, evening shows have been moved back to an 8 p.m. start this year.)

Preparing for a new season are Kelsey staff members, from left, Kate Pinner, Marc Flicker, Tracy Antozzeski, Amy Bessellieu, Dan Spalluto, Marge Maurer, Kelsey Artistic Director M. Kitty Getlik,and Lott Pittman.

Full-length performances are sure to delight with a mix of beloved classics and intriguing new works. Pierrot Productions starts off the season with "Blood Brothers, the Musical," the gripping tale of twin boys separated at birth, only to find their lives inextricably and tragically linked. It's the longest-running musical in London history and it comes to Kelsey Theatre Sept. 9-18. Next up is The Yardley Players' production of "And Then There Were None," based on the classic Agatha Christie murder mystery set on a secluded island. The ever famous whodunit takes place Oct. 7-16.

Next, audiences journey back in time, then forward, then back again. The magical medieval kingdom of "Camelot" comes to life in Playful Theatre's production of the Lerner and Loew classic Oct. 21-30. An unforgettable musical score recreates the majestic reign of King Arthur, Queen Guinevere and the Knights of the Round Table. Next up, the Pennington Players present "Urinetown" Nov. 4-13, a hilarious futuristic musical where a water shortage has forced a government ban on private toilets and citizens are in an uproar. This award-winning Broadway musical skewers civilization with broad strokes as an unlikely hero emerges to fight back. Audiences then travel to ancient Egypt with the award-winning Maurer Productions Onstage, which presents Elton John & Tim Rice's "AIDA" Nov. 18-27. Part Broadway musical, part dance spectacular, and part rock concert, AIDA is an epic tale about the power and timelessness of love.

Kelsey Theatre will celebrate the holiday season with two family events. Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" is presented by the James Tolin Memorial Fund Dec. 2-4 as an live, on stage radio play. A handful of costumed actors will create dozens of characters, while sound effect artists produce clanging bells, crashing ghosts, and ominous footsteps. It's all done live right in front of the audience. "El Sueno" comes to Kelsey Dec. 20 for one day only. Based on the Nutcracker story, the Alborada Spanish Dance Theatre presents this holiday dance spectacular in the Spanish and Latin American tradition at 7:30 p.m. (There is a special daytime performance for groups at 11:15 a.m.)

Kelsey Theatre enters the new year with entertainment for the whole family as PinnWorth Productions presents Gilbert and Sullivan's classic musical "The Pirates of Penzance" Jan. 13-22. Comic cutthroats, bumbling policemen, fair maidens, and a handsome young hero offer up some of the wittiest lyrics ever written for the stage. More comedy awaits when Maurer Productions Onstage presents Neil Simon's "Laughter on the 23rd Floor" Jan.27-Feb. 5. The golden age of television, circa 1953, comes to life with a side-splitting look behind the scenes at those who wrote and starred in the dawning era of a new medium.

Lovers of folk rock will thrill to the sounds of the Reock And Roll Revue, a modern day group that will pay tribute to a classic 1970s band, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and its landmark album, "Déjà Vu," Feb. 17-19. Combining music and video, the show chronicles the paths that brought the four folk greats together, including music from Buffalo Springfield, The Hollies and The Byrds, and a performance of the Déjà Vu album in its entirety.

Next, it's another journey back, this time to the late 1940s. Pierrot Productions presents "Death of a Salesman" Feb. 24-Mar. 4, Arthur Miller's devastating, moving play about the prices paid in pursuit of the American dream. The tempo and times quicken considerably with "Xanadu," a musical mix of Greek muses, 1980s chic, and roller disco. The Pennington Players will have audiences "believing in magic" Mar. 9-18.

Families can journey over the rainbow and down the yellow brick road with Dorothy, Toto and their friends when The Yardley Players present "The Wizard of Oz" Mar. 23-Apr. 1. (Daytime performances for school groups will be presented Mar. 29 and 30.) MCCC Theatre and Dance students present the next musical, "Hairspray," Apr. 13-22. It's the early 1960s and change is in the air when lovable, plus-size heroine Tracy Turnblad takes on the establishment and vows to integrate a popular dance show in Baltimore. The production will benefit from lighting and sound courtesy of MCCC's Entertainment Technology program and a little help from Kelsey Theatre's friends from the James Tolin Memorial Fund.

Next, theater goers are heading for Broadway, where it's all on the line for 17 dancers in "A Chorus Line," presented by Playful Theatre Productions Apr. 27- May 6. Winner of nine Tony Awards, this singular sensation is the longest-running American Broadway musical ever. There's more dance in store when MCCC students return to the stage for the Mercer Dance Ensemble's annual performance May 12-13. "MDE-On The Move!" features dance majors, alumni and community dancers in a performance that combines lyrical movement with impressionistic and symbolic storytelling.

Theater goers have more to look forward to with two additional award-winning Broadway musicals. A show credited with paving the way for modern Broadway is up next. Pierrot Productions presents Stephen Sondheim's "Company" May 18-Jun. 3. Sondheim's wonderful songs shine in this classic about a bachelor with commitment phobias. Maurer Productions takes the stage next with a journey to another era - and to a show within a show - in "The Drowsy Chaperone" Jun. 8-17. When a die-hard musical fan plays his favorite cast album, the fictional show, set in the 1920s, magically bursts to life in a hilarious tale of a celebrity bride and her uproarious wedding day.

The adult season concludes with a tenth anniversary benefit by the James Tolin Memorial Fund. JTMF presents an encore performance of "Jeffrey" Jun. 22-24, the first of JTMF's benefit shows presented in memory of MCCC student James Tolin in 2001. The treacherous HIV/AIDS landscape of 1990s New York is revisited in Paul Rudnick's Obie Award-winning romantic comedy about a gay actor/waiter who has just given up trying to find love when he meets the man of his dreams.

The Kelsey Kids Series also provides plenty of travel destinations for the younger set. This year, children will get their very own Kelsey Kids passport and will receive a sticker every time they attend a show. Special prizes will be awarded at the end of the season. Children's shows run approximately 60 minutes and feature award-winning professional touring troupes and local companies.

The season starts with Kaleidoscope Theatre's "Rapunzel " Sept. 17, a magical musical based on the famous fairytale and the inspiration for the recent hit movie, "Tangled." Up next is another fairytale classic, "Snow White" Sept. 23-Oct. 2, retold in a full-length musical by playwright Marilyn Gerold in the style of the grand musicals of the 1950s. It's on to Oz in "The Yellow Brick Road" Oct. 1 in a new musical from Theatreworks/USA that offers up the familiar story with a modern Latino twist. The irrepressible "Ramona Quimby" returns to Kelsey Oct. 15, courtesy of the award-winning Theatreworks/USA, while "The Gizmo Guys" return Nov. 12, with a new rapid-fire comedy juggling act, including original routines in an entertaining display of the ancient art of juggling.

Children will enjoy two holiday favorites in December. "'Twas The Night Before Christmas" is presented by The Kelsey Players Dec. 9-11, and "The Nutcracker" follows Dec. 17-18 in an hour-long, fully narrated version presented by the New Jersey Youth Ballet.

On to 2012 with "The Kazoobie Kazoo Band" Jan. 21, featuring Rick Hubbard and his interactive antics where everyone receives a free kazoo and performs in the grand finale. Disney's "Camp Rock!" comes to Kelsey Theatre Feb. 10-12. Presented by MCCC's Tomato Patch and The Kelsey Players, this rocking musical is based on the hit Disney Channel movies.

Giant puppets star in "Dinosaur Babies," presented by Dino Rock Mar. 3. It's a musical fossil fantasy with Big Bad Baby Rex, Doris the Stegasaurus, Tina Titanosaurus and more. The traditional fairytale "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" has a surprise ending in Kaleidoscope Theatre's delightful romp through the woods May 5. Concluding the children's season is "Skippyjon Jones" May 19. In this new musical by Theatreworks/USA, an adventurous kitten must prove he can live up to his superhero dreams and defend his neighborhood friends.

Ticket prices for most full-length musicals are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors, and $14 for students/children. Prices for non-musicals are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors, and $12 for students/children. Ticket prices for most shows in the Kelsey Kids Series are $10 for all. Discounted subscriber packages include premium seating, exchanges for performances of the same show, special "add-a-show" rates, and advance sales of single tickets. Group discounts are also available.

E-tickets may be purchased online by visiting the 2011-12 schedule page and printing them out at home. Tickets may also be purchased with a credit card by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333; by mail with checks made payable to MCCC/Kelsey Theatre, P.O. Box B, Trenton, NJ 08690; or by ordering in person at the Box Office. Box Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon; and one hour before show time for in-person purchases only. Gift certificates are available in any amount. To request a print copy of the 2011-12 season brochure, email kelsey@mccc.edu or call the Box Office.

Kelsey Theatre has open auditions for many of its productions and welcomes assistance from community volunteers to usher and work behind the scenes. The theater gratefully accepts donations to cover needed upgrades to the lighting and sound systems. Call 609-570-3581 or visit the website for more information.

The theater is wheelchair accessible and has secure lighted parking. Funding for performances is made possible in part by the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission through funding from the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment of the Arts.

For more on upconing event at Kelsey, visit:

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