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On Theater: Playhouse announces 2011 schedule

For the second consecutive year, the Huntington Beach Playhouse will offer a season of new productions — not “new” in the chronological sense, but plays that haven’t yet been performed in the history of the Huntington Beach theater, which dates back to 1963.

Playhouse Executive Producer Stephen Reifenstein, who’s adding the title of artistic director this year, announced the 2011 season that, unlike other community theaters, operates on a calendar year schedule.

The playhouse usually kicks off its season with a musical, and the 2011 season will be no different. Arriving Jan. 7 and running through Jan. 30 will be Lionel Bart’s “Oliver!”, the musical version of Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist.”

“This will be the same team as our season openers for the past three years,” Reifenstein noted, adding that Larry Watts will direct and choreograph the show and Mike Walker will serve as vocal director. They also teamed for “Gypsy” and “The Sound of Music.”


“Run for Your Wife,” a British farce about bigamy from Ray Cooney, will occupy the second slot in the season, from March 18 through April 10. Directing will be Gigi Fusco Meese, whose production of “Moonlight & Magnolias” is the current playhouse attraction.

Mathematics takes center stage in “Proof,” David Auburn’s involving drama about the daughter of a departed numbers genius who may have inherited both his talent and his troubled mind. James Rice will direct the show, which will play from May 20 to June 12.

The kids will be out of school from July 8 to Aug. 7, the perfect time to stage “Seussical,” the musical based on the writings of Dr. Seuss. Arthur Ross will direct and choreograph the lighthearted exercise.

Beth Henley’s works are familiar to South Coast Repertory fans, but this year she’ll be featured at the Huntington Beach Playhouse. Stephen Gomer will direct a production of Henley’s “The Miss Firecracker Contest,” which will run from Aug. 26 through Sept. 18.


When you think of “Treasure Island,” you imagine Robert Louis Stevenson’s epic drama of pirates in conflict. But the author of this one is Ken Ludwig, best known for fast-moving farces such as “Lend Me a Tenor” and “Moon Over Buffalo.” Bob May is directing this production, which will be on stage from Oct. 14 to Nov. 6.

Reifenstein noted that the playhouse has a new president, Jolyn Turner. He added that “The current board of directors is small but mighty. However, we are looking for volunteers to join the board.”

Performances of the Huntington Beach Playhouse are given in the Library Theater at the Huntington Beach Public Library, 7111 Talbert Ave., Huntington Beach. More information on the theater is available at (714) 375-0696.

TOM TITUS reviews local theater for the Independent.