The Great Plains Theatre will celebrate its 25th anniversary with three musicals, a musical revue, a world premiere play and a Kansas premiere play.

The 25th Anniversary Season promises to have something for everyone as GPT returns to a six-show season, including the premier of “Empires Fall” by Marlin Fitzwater.

The season opens in June with “The Pirates of Penzance” which won the Tony Award in 1981 as Best Revival of a Musical. The music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert and is full of some of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most famous and beloved musical moments.

This is a truly funny Victorian romp that provides many opportunities for rambunctious physical comedy with a soaring musical score that delights audiences of all ages.

July brings the fresh-from-Broadway musical spoof “Disaster!”

Set in the wild decade of the 70s it delivers earthquakes, tidal waves, infernos and unforgettable 70s hits like “Knock On Wood,” “Hooked On A Feeling,” “Sky High,” “I Am Woman” and “Hot Stuff.”

The book is by Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick, radio hosts, writers and comedians obsessed with all things Broadway.

Audiences and critics are wild for this hilarious homage to the era of bell-bottoms, platform shoes and the hustle. From the moment the glitter ball starts spinning, the audience will be dancing in their seats and rolling in the aisles.

The summer wraps up in August with “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, the much-loved musical with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The show is almost entirely sung through and its family-friendly story, familiar themes and catchy music has made it a very popular choice for theatres throughout the world. Artistic Director Randal K. West found his own way of staging Joseph many years ago when he created a version that spoofs the Broadway dance styles of 14 iconic Broadway choreographers.

West’s version of Joseph has broken the box office records at four different theatres in California and he is very excited to share it here in Kansas.

The season continues in October with “Empires Fall,” a world premiere of a new play by the only press secretary in United States history to be appointed by two presidents.

Few are better qualified to comment on the presidency than the legendary Marlin Fitzwater who served for almost a decade as Press Secretary to Presidents Reagan and Bush.

“Empires Fall” is about the relationship of President George H.W. Bush and USSR General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in the two years between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Both men attempt to bring an end to the cold war in a fashion that, while being in the best interest of their own countries, also protects the world. In today’s environment of Russian meddling and involvement in American affairs, this is a play that not only examines the end of the Soviet Union but also points toward things that were to come, all provided by a playwright who lived firsthand through much of it. It should create a theatrical event not to be missed by anyone.

The winter will be ushered in with “Makin’ Magic - 25 Years of Fun” a newly crafted revue of music, dance, narrative and song that celebrates the 25 years that Great Plains Theatre has been an Equity Theatre in Abilene.

Arranged mostly in medleys, a group of six performers backed by a pianist recreates the magical musical moments from GPT’s past productions and looks forward to music it hopes to bring to Kansas in the future.

The season concludes in the spring of 2020 with “Alabama Story” playwright Kenneth Jones’ new six-actor play inspired by real events that touch on Civil Rights and censorship issues in “the Deep South of the imagination.”

The play introduces the world to the little-known true story of a librarian named Emily Reed who was persecuted by politicians for protecting a children’s picture book in the Jim Crow South.

The controversial children’s book is called “The Rabbits’ Wedding” and it depicts a black rabbit marrying a white rabbit.

Playwright Kenneth Jones bills the play as “a humor-laced social-justice drama that’s a sort of vest-pocket cousin to ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’”

The very best “early-bird” season ticket special begins Thursday and runs through Jan. 15, 2019.

Those choosing to get their tickets early will not only have access to first-choice seating in our intimate 150 seat theatre but they will enjoy the best price of the year.

Patrons wishing to secure their season packages can go to www.greatplainstheatre.com, call us at (785) 263-4574, or visit us at 215 N. Campbell Street.

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