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PCPA Theaterfest Stages Hot Summer Lineup

From the classic to the contemporary, the season's selections are sure to be crowd pleasers.

Heat it up with PCPA Theaterfest this summer. The Central Coast’s only resident professional theater company is proud to present six productions, including an epic musical, a world premiere drama and an original adaptation of a classic farce. This season celebrates a wide spectrum of theater, from the classic to the contemporary.

Solvang starts to heat up with Godspell, the longest-running off-Broadway musical that just completed a successful run in Santa Maria. This rock musical plays June 6 through July 27 with a live band on stage and features a playful and poignant score by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked). It includes such songs as "God Save the People," "All Good Gifts" and the international hit "Day By Day."

The next four shows of the season will open in Santa Maria, then transfer to the outdoor Festival Theater in Solvang, beginning with the world premiere drama The Heart’s Desire by José Cruz González. This work offers an untold story about a World War II Mexican-American veteran and the struggles he faces as returns home to California with a new bride and dreams of a new life. This powerful play investigates the myth of the American dream: those who have it and those who don’t. It also explores the cost of war on those who have survived it and who must now learn to find peace in their newly adopted country. (Contains adult language.)

The Heart’s Desire plays in the Marian Theatre June 12-28, then performs in rotating repertory with Godspell in Solvang July 3-26.

Next up is Ragtime, the musical, an epic tale of a young America played out in song and dance. It paints a nostalgic and powerful portrait of life at the turn of the 20th century. It intertwines three distinct stories that poignantly illustrate history’s timeless contradictions of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, hope and despair, and love and hate. Ragtime will be in the Marian Theatre July 10-26, then in the Festival Theater Aug. 1-24. (Contains coarse language.)

When audiences want a good laugh, they need look no further than a Molière farce, and PCPA Theaterfest accommodates with its next production, The Imaginary Invalid. PCPA literary manager Patricia Troxel has newly adapted this French classic, a scintillating satire on the medical profession. Poor hypochondriac Silas Argan hatches a plot to combat his soaring medical costs, including having his daughter marry a physician so he will always have a doctor on call. But his daughter has fallen for someone else and her stepmother wants her in a convent. The Imaginary Invalid plays Aug. 7-23 in Santa Maria, then Aug. 28 through Sept. 7 in Solvang.

Cranking up the heat is Hot Mikado, a big-band rendition of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado, only this version is like getting a generous dash of cayenne pepper with your order. Cultures glide and collide in this hilarious 1940s-style updating of the perennial classic. This tap-dancing, zoot-suited show is certain to provide the ideal evening out for the whole family. It will play the Marian Theatre Aug. 29 through Sept. 7, then Solvang’s Festival Theater Sept. 12-28.

The summer season closes with Conor McPherson’s The Weir. Step into an Irish pub where the centuries-old tradition of storytelling is alive and well. A woman who has just moved into the neighborhood comes in from a cold, windy night as locals trade ghost stories. However, it is this young woman from Dublin who shares the most horrifying tale, one of love, loss and longing. The Weir plays only in the Severson Theatre on the Allan Hancock College Campus in Santa Maria, Sept.12 through Oct. 5. (Contains adult language.)

Tickets are on sale now. Call 805.922.8313 between 1 and 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, or click here to purchase tickets online. For information about sales for groups of 12 or more, e-mail [email protected] or call 800.727.2123. The Solvang Festival Theater Box Office opens June 4. Regular hours are 2 to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Craig Shafer is publicity director of PCPA Theaterfest.

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