Gaslight Theatre Company recently announced its 15th anniversary “Year of the ‘Speare,” a year-long celebration of William Shakespeare laced with original concepts and titles, but will be simultaneously preparing to relocate its theater this fall.
“It is with great sadness that Gaslight departs from our home at the East End Centre in Wilkes-Barre this September,” said Gaslight’s president Brandi George.
“We are so very thankful for the wonderful opportunity that Joe Amato Properties gave us two years ago and for their continued support throughout our stay in East End. We enjoyed building our home within this budding arts complex alongside KISS Theatre, Rockology Music Academy, and our great restaurant neighbors. While we will temporarily return to our original roaming theatre operations, we very much look forward to an exciting future in a new, yet-to-be determined location; something our company has succeeded in doing for our first 13 years.”
Gaslight will begin its season with the seventh annual Playroom: Dining Room on August 17 at their theater in the East End Centre. The remainder of the season, which includes performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), The Santaland Diaries, and a new original concept, KidScripts, will be performed at a space to be determined in advance of Midsummer in October. Presently, all announced performance dates in 2018 remain tentative.
Gaslight continues to build on its past two seasons by expanding its line up of main stage productions, original works, and special events with its biggest season in the Company’s history.
“Even with a change in venue, it’s beyond inspiring to build on the past few years by presenting more titles, even more original works, and smaller, engaging events,” said George.
“We look forward to entertaining audiences while still on the hunt for a new home. It’s an incredible undertaking, but the wonderful responses we receive from the community -- especially those in Downtown Wilkes-Barre -- justify our decision to keep growing and presenting underproduced and educational works. Year of the ‘Speare is perfectly representative of our founding mission, our renewed mission we adopted two years ago, and our future aspirations.”
The 2018-19 Season
Year of the ‘Speare begins when Gaslight presents its seventh installment of the original one-act series, Playroom, August 17-19 and 24-26, 2018. Created by playwright Matthew S. Hinton, Playroom uses the same set design to inspire writers to craft individual one-acts around the same space, resulting in an evening of short-form theatre that quickly ebbs and flows through provoking and laugh-out-loud moments. This year, the Company moves to the Dining Room for six captivating stories written by some of the region’s most talented playwrights, including Dane Bower, Emily Halbing, Matthew S. Hinton, Michael Pavese, B. Garret Rogan, and Rachel Luann Strayer.
Following Playroom, Gaslight is scheduled to present A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare October 19-21 and 26-27, 2018. One of Shakespeare’s most famous comedies is now adapted to introduce youth audiences to the Bard for the first time. Directed by Christina Reynolds and performed by a cast of adult actors with children as assistant designers, A Midsummer Night’s Dream tells the classic story of Theseus and Hippolyta, the adventures of four young Athenian lovers, and a troupe of amateur actors who are all caught in the crossfire of the King and Queen of the fairies.
In December, Gaslight is scheduled to present a new original concept just in time for the holiday season: KidScripts: Very, Merry, Happy, Holiday Tales on December 7-9 and 14-15, 2018. Conceptualized and directed by Dane Bower, the Company sits down with kindergarten and first grade classes and asks them for their help crafting a series of holiday stories. Later, a company of adult playwrights and actors turn the stories into plays, which are staged live, prefaced by the classroom recordings.
During the second weekend of KidScripts, Gaslight will run a late-night, limited engagement of The Santaland Diaries directed by Dave Reynolds. Written by David Sedaris and adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello, The Santaland Diaries is a brilliant evocation of what a slacker's Christmas must feel like. Out of work, our wonderfully-snarky narrator takes a job as one of Santa’s elves at Macy’s for the Christmas season. As the season goes on, hilarious accounts of the exploits of children, parents, and co-workers combine to make our narrator battle weary and bitter.
March 1-3 and 8-10, 2019, Gaslight presents shakesBEER’s Romeo + Juliet directed by Brandi George. What happens when the Bard’s most famous tragedy meets a pint (or three) of ale? Inspired by other popular productions and the Comedy Central series Drunk History, Gaslight’s shakesBEER features a small cast of actors, one of which will consume extra libations at the top of the show, who drink and attempt to perform an abridged version of this classic tale of star-crossed lovers.
To close out Year of the ‘Speare, Gaslight will revive their 2006 production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) on June 14-16 and 21-23, 2019. Written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield (Reduced Shakespeare Company) and directed by Dave Reynolds, Complete Works is a saucy, fast-paced play that parodies Shakespeare’s tragedies, comedies, and histories with comically-shortened pieces. By breaking the fourth wall, actors, director, crew, and audience become one for a side-splitting evening of madcap, improv-filled knavery.
Like last season, audiences can also anticipate dates for Gaslight’s special events. The Company is thrilled and honored to return to the River Commons for Shakespeare on the River 2019 presented by the Riverfront Parks Committee (more information about this event will be released in the spring). In addition, Gaslight currently has select, scheduled dates for their Readers Theatre series and Trivia Nights online but more may be added throughout the season.
Tickets for Playroom will go on sale in August and can be purchased online at www.ticketfly.com. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students, seniors, and veterans. Seating is general admission and limited so advanced purchases are highly recommended. For more information about the season and updates on our new location, please visit www.gaslight-theatre.org and follow us on Facebook.
Gaslight Theatre Company was founded in 2003 with the mission to create impactful, innovative, and high-quality theatre that enriches the lives of our artists and community.