-Courtesy of Act II Playhouse
Act II Playhouse in Ambler, PA announces its 2021-2022 season. “We are ready to go!” said Tony Braithwaite, Artistic Director. “We are producing a five-show season of two fresh new comedy cabaret-style shows – one including Jennifer Childs – plus a play, a musical, and an Act II Playhouse Premiere. We could not be happier.”
“We’re all in,” continued Braithwaite. “Subscription renewals have begun and audiences are ready to return to the theatre. Of course, we’re tracking local and national guidelines on the return of live theatre, and will respond accordingly as we get closer to November.”
Productions run November 30, 2021 through August 7, 2022. Renewal subscriptions are available now by phone, mail, or in-person, and new subscriptions go on sale Sept. 16, 2021. The Playhouse continues its policy of offering seats to renewing subscribers first. The physical Box Office is open and hours are Mon – Sat, 2PM to 6PM. Located in the lobby of the theatre at Act II Playhouse, 56 E. Butler Avenue, Ambler, PA 19002, the Box Office is following safety practices. Phone is 215-654-0200. Subscribers can create their own 5 or 4-show package. Single tickets go on-sale Oct. 1, 2021. Full-priced subscriptions start at $128, with discounts for early renewals and seniors. Single tickets start at $35. Visit https://act2.org/ to purchase.
The mainstage season opens with Really Good Tidings and previews Nov. 30, 2021 – Dec. 2, opens Dec. 3, and runs through Dec. 30. Oh what fun it is to return…with this hilarious variety show! We’re throwing open our doors to Tony Braithwaite and a chorus of Act II favorites to welcome you back to the Playhouse. We promise to make your spirits bright with sketches, songs, and improvisation, as we deliver a festive holiday show that will keep you laughing all the way. You’d better watch out though – you may be part of the show! “We wanted to open with a new variety show that we think our audiences deserve this holiday season,” said Braithwaite. “We’re writing and will be performing as an ensemble, so we’re all gearing up for festive hilarity, songs, sketches and improv. Every performance will be unique!”
A Couple of Swells previews Jan. 11 – Jan. 13, 2022, opens Jan. 14, and runs through Jan. 30. The wildly popular, sell-out team of Tony Braithwaite and Jen Childs is back on the Playhouse stage this season! This new comedy cabaret features classic double-act routines from the best of the best – The Carol Burnett Show, Nichols and May, Burns and Allen and, of course, Tony and Jen’s hilarious cruise ship lounge act, “T.B. and Jenny.” Featuring Owen Robbins at the piano. Braithwaite added, “Jen Childs and I have been creating shows together for many years, and she is my favorite on-stage partner. Comedy couples have a special place in our hearts and we want to offer audiences an homage to these celebrated duos.”
Buyer and Cellar previews Mar. 1 – Mar. 3, opens Mar. 4, and runs through Apr. 3. Written by Jonathan Tolins. Picture this. Barbra Streisand builds a fake mall in the basement of her Malibu home and fills the shops with an astounding personal collection of costumes, shoes, dolls, and antiques. This part is true. “Instead of just storing my things in the basement, I can make a street of shops and display them.” -Barbra Streisand to Harper’s Bazaar. Enter our fictional character, Alex, a struggling actor, who becomes the only employee hired to staff the “shoppes” and work the frozen yogurt machine. With his riotously sharp wit and sales persona at the ready, Alex awaits a visit from the ultimate customer – the “Funny Girl” herself! Buyer and Cellar is an outrageous comedy about diva-land, the price of fame and the oddest of odd jobs. Braithwaite noted, “This show was inspired by a coffee table book Barbra Streisand wrote, A Passion for Design, that included the display of her collections in an actual avenue of stores. Tolins imagined what would happen if someone were hired to work there. The character is fictional, but the show reflects everything we can imagine about the talented and famous.”
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change previews May 3 – May 5, opens May 6, and runs through June 12. Book and Lyrics by Joe DiPietro and Music by Jimmy Roberts. This hilarious musical pays tribute to all of us who have ever failed at love and to those who refuse to fail. From dating and waiting to love and marriage, through in-laws and infants to pick-up tips for seniors, the mating game is celebrated in all its glorious pain and joy. I Love You… is everything you know about relationships – but will never admit. Braithwaite added, “We’re thrilled to bring a musical back to our stage, especially one that set a record as the second-longest running Off-Broadway musical.” He noted, “Relationships have always been a goldmine for writers and we love the idea of this show as we all navigate a so-called “new normal.”
The Playhouse closes its 2021-22 season with an Act II Premiere, Together Off-Broadway, Merman and Martin that previews July 5 – July 7, opens July 8, and runs through Aug. 7. Join us for an upbeat toe-tapper that shares the lives and careers of show biz luminaries and legends, Ethel Merman and Mary Martin. Merman and Martin were off-stage friends, theatre royalty, and iconic personalities. Peek behind the Broadway curtains at their personal lives and the challenges of friendship, especially as women in their time, while celebrating an acclaimed song list including “I Got Rhythm,” “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” “Cockeyed Optimist,” and “Hello, Dolly.” Braithwaite concluded, “Ethel Merman and Mary Martin were iconic stars, but had lives away from the spotlight – including a friendship. We love this story of real women with enormous talent, plus we can’t wait to share a legendary song list!”
Act II Playhouse is committed to creating and producing new, classic, and contemporary plays and musicals that reflect the highest artistic standards, and presenting in a venue whose intimacy draws audiences and actors into dynamic interaction. Act II is committed to theatrical work that is both accessible and entertaining. Act II Playhouse was founded in 1998 and in 2012, Tony Braithwaite became the third Artistic Director in the Company’s history. The Company has received 39 Barrymore nominations and six Barrymore Awards, two in 2010 for Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical (Tony Braithwaite & Jim Stanek in The Story of Life) and the Independence Foundation Award for Outstanding New Play, Bruce Graham’s Any Given Monday (a co-production with Theatre Exile). Act II also received the 2006 Charlotte Cushman Award for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Play (Susan Riley Stevens in Bad Dates), the 2005 Best Actor in a Musical Award (Tony Braithwaite in The Big Bang), the 2004 Outstanding Lighting Design Award (James Leitner, Mary’s Wedding), and the 2003 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play Award (Kraig Swartz in Fully Committed, a co-production with Philadelphia Theatre Company).