Despite frustrations the past 13-plus months during the COVID-19 pandemic, Civic Theatre Executive Artistic Director Michael Lasley is optimistic about the future.
“This past year has been a struggle for us and everyone that relies on large groups of people gathering together for the shared experience of live performance, so announcing a season for 2021/2022 is particularly exciting,” Lasley said. “While we are certain there will still be uncertainties for the next several months, we believe that we will be able to return to a kind of normal for the fall and the holidays.”
The 2021-22 schedule includes “The Color Purple,” Oct. 7-23; “Elf the Musical,” Dec. 3-24; “The Diary of Anne Frank,” Feb. 4-19, 2022; “Wait Until Dark,” March 11-26, 2022; and “Matilda The Musical,” April 29 to May 14, 2022
Alongside with the mainstage productions, “The Cat in the Hat” also will return in February 2022. In 2022, the Jr. Civic musical will be “The Little Mermaid Jr.” and the Young Artists Program will perform “42nd Street and “Revue!”
“The Color Purple” was originally scheduled for this spring but with the significant limits on attendance, Lasley said it was best to move it to the opening of the 2021-22 season.
“This story and what it represents for Civic to present a show focused on people of color is an important step for Civic and the community,” Lasley said. “We wanted to do all we could to ensure that as many people as possible can see the incredible performance we are poised to present.”
Civic Theatre had planned to bring “Elf The Musical” back in 2020, but instead it showed the recorded version of the 2019 performance because of gathering restrictions.
“While we know the 2019 production would be successful, we were astounded by the level of success,” Lasley said. “The show broke all previous records for a single show at Civic and we believe it will be a special experience for our patrons as it returns this holiday season.”
Like “The Color Purple” and “Elf The Musical,” both “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “Matilida” were postponed because of the pandemic. “Matilda” was rescheduled twice.
“We feel that this lineup with the addition of the newer Jeffrey Hatcher adaptation of ‘Wait Until Dark’ represents an exciting return to a full season of live, in-person performances for us,” Lasley said. “This season, as whole, is such a great representation of the past, present and future of Civic. It’s a terrific mix of perspectives and they are all stories of struggle, redemption and hope. I don’t think there is better way to bring our patrons home to Civic.”