Arts & Theater

Fascism to fantasy, familiar to fresh, new Sacramento Theatre Company season offers variety

Matt K. Miller will reprise his role as Ebenezer Scrooge for Sacramento Theatre Company’s production of “A Christmas Carol” during the 2017-18 season.
Matt K. Miller will reprise his role as Ebenezer Scrooge for Sacramento Theatre Company’s production of “A Christmas Carol” during the 2017-18 season. Special to The Bee

Plays filled with hope and aspiration bookend the upcoming seven-play season at Sacramento Theatre Company: “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “Man of La Mancha.”

Casey McClellan will direct the season opener in September. The play, based on one of the most famous books of all time, dramatizes the diary Jewish teenager Anne Frank kept for two years while her family hid from the Nazis during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II.

While the Frank family dealt with the very real danger of fascism in 1942, the STC season ends in May 2018 with the fantasy and illusion of the popular musical adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes’ novel “Don Quixote.”

“This is the year to do both those shows,” STC executive producing director Michael Laun said. “This is the year of the 75th anniversary of Anne Frank receiving her diary, and the message of ‘Man of La Mancha,’ I think, is a particularly appropriate message to be sharing at this time.”

Other highlights of the season include the 30th-anniversary production of Richard Hellesen and David de Berry’s “A Christmas Carol,” Shakespeare’s tragedy “Macbeth” and the Sacramento premiere of Terrence McNally’s “Mothers and Sons,” which was on Broadway in 2014. STC also will produce the world premiere of local playwright Sean Patrick Nill’s “Kings of America” and bring the comic parody “The Musical of Musicals – The Musical.”

Locally based playwright Hellesen and the late composer de Berry adapted “A Christmas Carol” specifically for STC. The thoughtful, heavily musical version receives numerous productions throughout the country each year. Matt K. Miller will reprise his interpretation of Ebenezer Scrooge for the production.

STC also will revisit the chamber musical “The Musical of Musicals – The Musical,” which it produced in 2011. Written by Joanne Bogart and Eric Rockwell, the five-act comedy parodies and pays homage to classic musical theater tropes. Rockwell and musical partner Margaret Rose also have written “The Little Princess” and “The Donner Party” for STC. Rockwell will write additional material for the Sacramento production of “Musical.”

“We’ve had quite a relationship now with Eric Rockwell,” Laun said. “That show was very popular about seven years ago, and I had wanted to bring it back.”

STC will continue its commitment to Shakespeare with “Macbeth,” bringing back William Elsman (“Sherlock Holmes”) in the title role.

“I’ve always wanted to do ‘Mackers’ (‘Macbeth’) and feel the quality of our Shakespeare productions has increased each year. Particularly with ‘The Tempest,’ we had a lot of people who really did enjoy it,” Laun said.

The production of McNally’s “Mothers and Sons” will be the Sacramento premiere of the play, which debuted on Broadway in 2014 with Tyne Daly playing a woman who lost her son 20 years before the play begins and visits her son’s former longtime companion, Cal, who is now married. The veteran master playwright has received nearly all major playwriting awards, including the Tony for Best Play for both “Love! Valour! Compassion!” and “Master Class.”

“Terrence McNally is not somebody we always get a chance to do,” Laun said, “and we’re excited about its subject matter.”

Nill’s “Kings in America” explores a teenager’s recurring dreams that are peopled by various former U.S. presidents. Lyndsay Burch will direct.

“I think it’s a full, rich season,” Laun said, “a season that looks at some important historical periods of America and the world.”

Marcus Crowder: 916-321-1120, @marcuscrowder

Sacramento Theatre Company 2017-18 Season

  • “The Diary of Anne Frank” by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett (Sept. 27-Oct.); Main Stage
  • “Kings of America” by Sean Patrick Nill (Nov. 1-Dec. 10); Pollock Stage
  • “A Christmas Carol” by Richard Hellesen and David de Berry (Nov. 29-Dec. 24) Main Stage
  • “The Musical of Musicals – The Musical” by Eric Rockwell and Joanne Bogart (Jan. 3-Feb. 11); Pollock Stage
  • “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare (Feb. 21-March 18); Main Stage
  • “Mothers and Sons” by Terrence McNally (March 21-April 29); Pollock Stage
  • “Man of La Mancha” by Dale Wasserman, Joe Darion, and Mitch Leigh. (April 18-May 13, 2018); Main Stage

Cost: Subscriptions for a six-show season (the holiday show is not included in the subscription package) are $138 to $192. Subscriptions on sale July 1, 2017; single-show tickets on sale Sept. 1. Discounts available for seniors and students.

Where: Sacramento Theatre Company, 1419 H St., Sacramento

Information: 916-443-6722;