The Newport Theatre Arts Center (and yes, they use the old English spelling of “theater”) was born in 1980, in the midst of the 1979-80 season. I remember it well, since my production of “Father’s Day” was part of that initial schedule.
Fast-forward 38 years, and NTAC is still going strong in a building that once housed a church overlooking Newport Harbor. Theater President Rae Cohen has unveiled the lineup of five plays that will comprise the 2018-19 campaign.
The new season begins Sept. 7 with “The Hollow,” a vintage Agatha Christie mystery featuring a deadly crime and a generous assortment of suspects. The whodunit will play weekends through Oct. 7.
Next up is a farcical comedy by Michael Parker in its local premiere. “The Amorous Ambassador” follows an American envoy to Britain through a series of romantic misadventures that will play out from Nov. 9 through Dec. 9.
NTAC will deal the cards from Jan. 18 to Feb. 17 when D.L. Coburn’s “The Gin Game” takes residence in the theater. Two oldsters in a convalescent home square off over the card table to resolve a deck of issues in this witty, dramatic comedy.
A musical about a fellow trapped in a Kentucky cave? That’s the ticket from March 22 to April 21 when “Floyd Collins,” based on an actual 1925 incident, hits the NTAC stage. The musical score won an Obie (off-Broadway) award.
Neil Simon’s memory play “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” will occupy the closing slot, running from May 24 through June 23. It’s a fictional account based on the youthful Simon's experiences writing for Sid Caesar’s TV show.
The Newport Theatre Arts Center is located at 2501 Cliff Drive in Newport Beach. Performances are given Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and weekend matinees at 2 p.m. Reservations and further information can be obtained by calling the box office at (949) 631-0288.