With the curtain about to rise on the fall season, lots of Lancaster County theaters are opening new productions.
This month will mark the reopening of Fulton Theatre, as part of the new Ed and Jeannie Arnold Performing Arts Center — completed during the pandemic closure — with its first mainstage production since March 2020.
And several other venues are busy rehearsing a variety of plays and musicals that are about to begin their runs.
Here’s a roundup of live theater that’s opening, and continuing, in September.
— “The Guys” at Ephrata Performing Arts Center, 320 Cocalico St., Ephrata, through Sept. 11. This two-person play is about a fire captain who’s called upon to eulogize the firefighters he lost in the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and the editor who helps him find the words. See the Lancaster Online preview story about the show at lanc.news/TheGuysEPAC. Tickets are available at ephrataperformingartscenter.com or by calling 717-733-7966.
— “Fun Home” at Fulton Theatre, Sept. 7-Oct. 17, with the official opening night Sept. 9. Based on the autobiographical graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, a native of Beech Creek, Clinton County, this musical shows the artist Alison processing, drawing and captioning the events of her life, including coming out as a lesbian and dealing with a complex relationship with her family. Alison is played at three different ages, child, college student and adult, in a show that moves back and forth through time. “Fun Home” won the 2015 Tony Award for best musical. For tickets, call Fulton Theatre, 12 N. Prince St., at 717-397-7425, or order online at thefulton.org.
— “Penthesilea: The Woman Who Killed Achilles,” a play by local playwright Tyler Joseph Rossi, will be performed outdoors at Historic Rock Ford, 881 Rockford Road, in Lancaster County Central Park from Sept. 9 to 12. The production is a collaboration among Orpheus Theatre Company, Theater of the Seventh Sister and Historic Rock Ford.
The play, set against the Trojan War, concerns the Amazon Penthesilea and a quest to avenge the death of her sister, Hippolyta. Expect to see some exciting outdoor stage combat as part of the play.
For tickets for the four 7:30 p.m. performances, visit lanc.news/PenthesileaTix.
— “Mamma Mia!” at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre, 510 Centerville Road, Sept. 9 through Nov. 6. The music of famed pop group ABBA fuels this popular musical — which has spawned two feature films — about the wedding of a young woman named Sophie on the Greek island where her mother, Donna, runs a taverna. Without Donna’s knowledge, Sophie invites to her wedding the three men who might be her biological father. Donna and her two middle-aged pals are game for a brief reprise of their former lives as an ABBA tribute group. The show features such ABBA classics as “SOS,” “Super Trouper,” “Dancing Queen” and, yes, “Mamma Mia.”
For tickets, call the box office at 717-898-1900 or visit dutchapple.com.
— “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” at Susquehanna Stage, 133 W. Market St., Marietta, Sept. 10-25.
In this frenetic farce, three actors attempt to tackle all of William Shakepeare’s plays in one past-paced evening.
With the three actors parodying, shortening and merging bits and pieces of the plays, the evening will turn into the craziest theatrical version of Cliffs Notes you’re likely to see this year.
Send some extra energy in the direction of the three actors who’ll break the Fourth Wall and put the Bard of Avon in the audience’s face: Timothy Riggs, Alexander P. Bannon and Madeline Ruth Pickens. They’re going to need it.
For tickets, visit susquehannastage.com or call 717-426-1277.
— “Radium Girls,” presented by students of the Lancaster Bible College Music, Worship & Performing Arts Department, on two weekends, Friday and Saturday Sept. 10-11 and 17-18. The play will be performed at Trust Performing Arts Center, 37 N. Market St., in downtown Lancaster.
The show is based on the true story of the female factory workers who painted watch dials with radioactive paint, and suffered the health consequences, in the early part of the 20th century. In the play, a dial painter named Grace Fryer fights for her day in court against U.S. Radium Corp., working against both her boss and the reservations of her family and friends.
One night only
A real estate agent's quest to find the perfect woman — and the very different women he finds — is the subject of a new romantic musical comedy, "Strictly Platonic," which will be presented as a reading at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10, at the Tabernacle in Mount Gretna.
The presentation is a collaboration among Gretna Theatre, Mount Gretna Summer Concerts and the Mount Gretna Heritage Festival.
Book and lyrics for "Strictly Platonic" are by Larry McKenna, with music by Chris Dougherty. The show's musical arranger, Vince DiMura, will be accompanying on piano for this reading.
Mount Gretna Tabernacle is at Third Street and Glossbrenner Avenue in Mount Gretna.
— “The Best of Me” at Bird-in-Hand Stage, 2760 A Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird-in-Hand, through Oct. 20.
In this musical comedy, Rachel Miller, a young Amish woman who works in a bakery, lets telenovelas on TV inspire her to travel to New York City to become an actress. A handsome fellow student and an aging, out-of work actress help her see that maybe the acting life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
For tickets, call 717-768-1568 or visit bird-in-hand.com.
—“Queen Esther” at Sight & Sound Theatres, 300 Hartman Bridge Road, Ronks.
The show tells the biblical story of Esther, a woman who initially hides her Jewish heritage when her husband, the Persian King Ahasuerus, makes her his queen. The play tells the story of how Esther saves the Jewish people from death by order of the Persian official Haman. It’s the foundation of the story behind the religious observation of Purim.
For tickets, visit sight-sound.com or call 800-377-1277.