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A Little Princess, The Music Man, and Shrek the Musical Will Hit Berkeley Playhouse

Family-friendly shows, including Broadway hits, will dominate the stage in Berkeley's 2013-2014 season.

Cast album cover for A Little Princess.
A family-friendly lineup comes to Berkeley Playhouse for their 2013-2014 season with A Little Princess, The Music Man, and Shrek the Musical, among others, at the Julia Morgan Theatre. Additionally, the company will present winter, spring, and fall YouthStage productions. YouthStage gives students the opportunity to mount full-scale, youth-only productions under the direction of professional directors, choreographers, and designers in the Bay Area, as well as receive training in acting, voice, and movement. The YouthStage productions will be announced soon.

"Berkeley Playhouse aims to create works that are multilayered, where an adult and a child see the same show and have both shared and unique experiences where stories feel important and represent the diverse audiences that make up the Bay Area and the world," Berkeley Playhouse founding Artistic Director Elizabeth McKoy said.

Kicking off Berkeley Playhouse's sixth season is Andrew Lippa and Brian Crawley's A Little Princess, running October 24-December 8. Based on the Frances Hodgson Burnett novel, the play follows the once-luxurious life of Sara Crewe, daughter to a wealthy gentleman. After her adventurous father is reported to have been killed in action, Sara is forced to work as a servant at a London boarding school. With the help of her imagination, Sara is able to transform her hard new life into one of magic and mystery. McKoy directs this musical.

"Seventy-six trombones led the big parade" and The Music Man onto the MainStage from February 13, 2014-March 23, 2014. With music, lyrics, and a book by Meredith Wilson, the five-time Tony Award-winning The Music Man depicts a small town in turn-of-the-century America where the fast-talking traveling salesman "Professor" Harold Hill attempts to con the good people of River City, Iowa into buying instruments and uniforms for a boy's band, which he promises to organize. Will his plan be foiled, though, when he falls for Marian the librarian, who vows to turn him into an honest man? Marissa Wolf makes her MainStage directorial debut with Berkeley Playhouse's production of The Music Man. Opening in 1957, The Music Man has charmed audiences for years with two successful Broadway revivals in 1980 and 2000, a hit movie musical in 1962, a 2003 TV adaptation, and numerous regional productions. The Grammy Award-winning music is sure to have audiences marching out of the theatre with joy.

Winner of the 2005 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical, Broadway's The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee opens on April 5, 2014 and is set to run through May 4, 2014. With music and lyrics by William Finn and a book by Rachel Sheinkin, Spelling Bee chronicles the experiences of six adolescent outsiders competing for a spelling championship. Directed by Kimberly Dooley, this comedy epitomizes the significance of growing up, the fact that winning isn't everything, and that losing doesn't necessarily make you a loser. The family-friendly show features audience interaction suited for everyone. Since its inception, Spelling Bee has been performed around the world, including South Korea, Australia, and the Philippines, as well across the United States.

Berkeley Playhouse's season ends with their "freak flag" flying in Shrek the Musical from July 10, 2014-August 24, 2014. The tuner, based on the DreamWorks Animation motion picture and the book by William Steig, is directed by Elizabeth McKoy. Shrek follows an ogre of the show's title on his quest to save a princess named Fiona and his swamp from an infestation of displaced fairy-tale characters. With a wise-cracking donkey by his side, Shrek learns about real friendship and true love. With catchy music by Jeanine Tesori and a satiric book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, Shrek the Musical has had successful runs on Broadway, in London's West End, and internationally due to its visually eye-catching sets and Tony Award-winning costumes.

Tickets for Berkeley Playhouse's 2013-2014 season will go on sale August 1, 2013. Subscriptions will be on sale starting March 23, 2013. For more information about Berkeley Playhouse, click here.