The Erie Playhouse has released its 2014-2015 season.
The Playhouse held its first ever launch party on March 25 to announce the run of shows that will be performed for the next season.
“Shrek the Musical,” “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” “Elf,” “The Addams Family,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Sunset Boulevard,” “Elvis Has Left the Building” and “All Shook Up” are set to show as part of the Playhouse’s Mainstage Series.
The Playhouse also has many Youtheatre shows and Special Events including “Peter Pan” and “The Civil War in Concert.”
Almitra Clerkin, executive director of The Erie Playhouse, said the Playhouse decided to hold a launch party to announce the season as a mechanism to get people interested in season tickets and to encourage current season-ticket holders to renew theirs.
Clerkin said the event helps the playhouse show its season-ticket holders how important they are and to get performers interested.
“We need to do shows that people will come and see, as well as shows that musicians will play for and actors will audition for,” Clerkin said.
Clerkin said in the process of choosing the shows for the new run, the Playhouse did not put out a survey because not many shows were available at the time that the survey would have been released – November or December.
“We like getting audience input, but we weren’t able to put too much info in front of our audience this year,” Clerkin said.
Clerkin said in October, the producing director orders about 60-80 scripts and the staff will look over them. After reading the scripts, the Playhouse asks season-ticket holders and people who read the newsletter to go and look through scripts and give their input.
After narrowing the shows down, Clerkin said the staff holds a meeting to discuss which shows to do and when to do them. Following a big musical would be a one-set show with a smaller cast, then a Youtheatre show and a Christmas-related event during the holidays.
Clerkin said even though it wasn’t intentional, four out of the five Mainstage musicals were originally movies. Two of the shows are Elvis-based musicals and will be performed during the summer of his 80th birthday. Clerkin said the Playhouse plans to do a package deal for those two shows.
Erika Krenn, a junior psychology major at Gannon University, recently played Mrs. Michealis in “The Great Gatsby.”
Krenn said “Gatsby” was her first experience with the Erie Playhouse and she had a great time.
“I learned a lot about character work and intention in a play,” Krenn said. “You can’t see the audience from the stage, yet your movements and volume have to be twice as big, making it a bit of a challenge coming from a smaller stage.”
Krenn said she loves the new season. She said she thinks “Elf the Musical” will be popular for families and that she’s most excited for “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
“It’s one of my favorite books and I would love to be a part of that production,” Krenn said.
Krenn said she would like to see more plays throughout the seasons of the Erie Playhouse and she thinks that it’d be feasible due to the success of “The Great Gatsby.”
Krenn said that although she’d like to audition for more shows, it’s difficult to balance with being a full-time student.
Clerkin said she would like for students and faculty at Gannon to keep the Playhouse in mind as an entertainment option.
“I don’t think they realize how much a student ticket and a regular admission ticket does for the Playhouse,” Clerkin said. “When we can fill those seats, we don’t have to do 10 special events a year.”
Clerkin said another important thing to remember is to not wait until the last weekend to buy tickets because shows may sell out.
“We have enough shows that are family and youth-friendly, so I hope our GU Gold machine is busy next year,” Clerkin said.