The Jewish Community Center in 1977 held a nationwide search to hire someone to build a community theatre program at its then-new Brighton campus. Over the next nearly 30 years, Founding Artistic Director Herb Katz created CenterStage, a successful program that he would leave in the hands of current Artistic Director Ralph Meranto in 2005. Meranto during the last decade has upped the ante at CenterStage even further, and has made an indelible mark in the local theatre scene with world premiere plays, professional actors, and even original works.
The 2016-17 season -- CenterStage's 40th -- will pay homage to its legacy with five productions and three special events. The season will open with the world premiere of "Church & State," a new dramedy by Jason Odell Williams ("Handle with Care"), which was developed in conjunction with CenterStage and the National New Plays Network. And March 2017 brings Broadway hit (and winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama) "The Flick" by Annie Baker. As a new tradition, last year's "Coney Island Christmas" will return for a limited run in December.
CenterStage's 40th season also coincides with a multi-million dollar renovation of the JCC Brighton campus, including an expanded theater lobby, a new, separate entrance, and a VIP lounge.
The 2016-17 season will consist of:
"Church & State" (October 22 through November 6)
"My Son the Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy" (December 1 through 11)
"The Hit Makers" (February 4 through 19)
"The Flick" (March 4 through 19)
"Titanic, the Musical" (May 6 through 21)
Special events include:
"Time Passages" (September 8)
"Coney Island Christmas" (December 15 through 18)
"The Great DuBois" (June 3 through 4)