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Collaborative Theatre Project announces 2020 season

Collaborative Theatre Project’s upcoming 2020 season promises to be packed with thrills, humor and memorable characters as it brings eight full-length productions to the stage.

With the new addition of Todd Nielsen as associate artistic director, the theatre looks to expand its growing repertoire and continue its tradition of working with local directors. CTP began in 2016 with a holiday production of “The Snow Queen — A New Musical” and has grown steadily over the past three seasons. Nielsen recently directed the musical “Death Takes a Holiday” for CTP and currently is shaping the “Saturday Series,” a program of live theatre for young children — a fun and engaging way to introduce small children to the joy and excitement of a live performance.

The first production of the season will be Ken Ludwig’s zany “Sherwood — The Adventures of Robin Hood,” directed by Rick Robinson, managing director of Oregon Cabaret Theatre in Ashland.

Packed with thrills, romance, laughter and immortal characters, eight actors re-create the swashbuckling saga of Robin Hood. The story that follows is the ageless tale of the hero who takes on the ruthless powers that be. Opening mid-January, the show runs Jan. 16 through Feb. 16, 2020.

The next play to take the stage, “Our Town,” is Thornton Wilder’s iconic portrait of small town America in 1900. It runs from March 12 through April 12.

“Our Town” is memorable, poignant and humorous — a loving valentine to the past but also a clear look at what makes us human. Wilder’s play marked an incredible advancement in theatrical history. No large set pieces, only simple props and a few ladders define the world of Grover’s Corners. Written in 1938, “Our Town” won the Pulitzer Prize and continues to enchant audiences with its profound wit and wisdom. CTP’s production is directed by Susan Aversa-Orrego and features OSF veteran Russell Lloyd as stage manager.

The first musical event of the season, “Amélie,” is based on the 2001 romantic comedy film with music by Daniel Messé, lyrics by Nathan Tysen and Messé, and book by Craig Lucas.

The musical premiered at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in September 2015. It’s the story of a lovely, warm-hearted young woman who wants to change the world around her by doing one good deed after another. In the process, she finds love and joy for herself. Directed by Lauren Blair, with musical direction by Alex Boyles, “Amélie” is filled with wonderful musical numbers and is a joyous romp through Paris — the City of Lights. The show opens May 14 and runs through June 14.

CTP will also continue its popular Radio Days programming, though the actual titles have yet to be announced. In the Radio Days program, director Daniel Sessions Stephens brings his love for the genre and his artistry to produce shows that hope to be a delightful addition to the 2020 season. The Radio Days actors present a full-length radio-drama using only the tools of radio with a visual assist and a live sound effects table to unleash your imagination. The final Radio Days production of 2019, “War of the Worlds — The Panic Broadcast,” is set for

1:30 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday, Sept. 22 to Oct. 1, and at 7:30 p.m. Sundays, Sept. 22 and 29. Tickets are $15.

The theatre’s summer musical will be the production of “Triumph of Love,” with music by Jeffrey Stock and lyrics by Susan Birkenhead, and book by James Magruder.

Directed by Nielsen, this chamber musical is based on Marivaux’s 1732 French play. The heroine, a very brainy and emboldened Princess Leonide, falls madly in love with Agis, a young man who is the rightful heir to the throne. Agis has two exacting “gatekeepers,” his philosopher guardians. “Triumph” is an intriguing mix of musical styles that will set your toes tapping and your heart to smiling, and offers proof positive that in the end, love does conquer all. The musical will run July 16 through

Aug. 16.

In late May and early June of 2019, CTP produced Lauren Gunderson’s spellbinding “Silent Sky” to audience and critical acclaim and delight.

For its 2020 season, it will again include another Gunderson work, “Ada and the Engine.” Set in Victorian England at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, Ada Byron Lovelace (daughter of poet Lord Byron), envisions a whole new world where art and information converge — a world she might not live to see. It’s a music-laced story of love, friendship and the edgiest dreams of the future. According to a CTP press release, the poignant pre-tech romance heralding the computer age is very much a Jane Austen meets Steve Jobs production. Directed by Aversa-Orrego and running for three weekends only — Sept. 3 through Sept. 20, 2020 — CTP says it’s certain to be one of the highlights of the season.

Rather than the typical scary show for the autumn performance, a musical production of “The Addams Family” will be staged.

“The Addams Family,” a musical comedy with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, is based upon “The Addams Family” characters created by Charles Addams in his single-panel gag cartoons, which depict a ghoulish American family with an affinity for all things macabre. Directed by Rebecca Campbell, “Addams Family” is perfect for the Halloween season. Campbell recently appeared in “Mamma Mia!” at Oregon Cabaret Theatre and is a long-established Rogue Valley actor and director. The musical will run Oct. 8 through Nov. 8, 2020.

The final production of CTP’s 2020 season will be contributed to by all of the theatre’s directors, designers and choreographers in a true collaboration designed to enchant and delight the young and the young at heart. Based on C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’”as adapted by Joseph Robinette, CTP’s holiday offering is full of music, dance, fantasy and magic. The show will utilize the talents and skill sets of talented artists to craft a never-before-imagined version of this beloved tale. Life-sized puppets, stunning visual effects and more surprises will be sure to delight audiences. The show will run from Nov. 27 through Jan. 3, 2020.

For more information, see ctpmedford.org.

Austin Ewing and Grace Peets appear in Collaborative Theatre Project's 2019 production of "Death Take a Holiday," directed by Todd Nielsen, who is OCT's new associate artistic director.{ }Photo by Mike Kunkel