Chance Theatre, Anaheim’s official theater company, has announced its 2023 season, which includes four musicals, three plays and five staged readings of new productions. This exciting season includes two world premieres (both developed under the Chance New Works Program), a California premiere, and a Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical that defined a generation of musical theater.
Launching in January at the Bette Aitken Center for the Performing Arts, Chance Theater’s 25th mainstream series will feature the generation-defining off-Broadway musical Cyclone Ride Rent, two world premieres of Colonialism is Terrible, but Pho is Delicious. and Matinicus: The Story of Abigail Burgess, as well as the Tony-award-winning mystery Dog Mystery in the Night. The Chance’s hit family series TYA will return with “Fancy Nancy, The Musical” and the Holiday Series will feature the return of “The Secret Garden, The Musical” on the Cripe Stage and the return of the family to be announced soon. musical on the stage of Fida-Mar.
The entire 2023 season is being produced by community leaders Bette and Wiley Aitken, with the Mary Kay Fida-Mar family serving as associate producers for the season.
First, in 2023, the California premiere of the film “Riding the Cyclone” will take place. Fasten your seat belts and embark on a fun, extraordinarily inventive musical journey that has more twists and turns than a wobbly roller coaster that sends six teenagers prematurely into the afterlife. Now trapped in a fantasy carnival purgatory, a mechanical fortune teller invites teenagers to tell their stories from a life interrupted by the promise of an unseen prize – a chance to come back to life. Considered a contemporary musical masterpiece, this quirky, witty and darkly hilarious show unleashes the resilience of the human spirit through riveting music that expertly blends cabaret, hip-hop, gospel and Broadway.
This extraordinary musical received multiple nominations at both the Lucille Lortel Awards and the Drama League Awards, including both for Outstanding Musical. The New York Times also named it one of the best shows of 2016, with Charles Isherwood stating that the “supremely witty book” delivered “the thrill we look for in all musical comedies.” This charming eccentric exudes warmth and wit. from a terrible beginning to a surprisingly deplorable ending. If purgatory were really that fun, I’d be happy to spend my whole life there.”
Chance, directed by Associate Artistic Director Jocelyn A. Brown (Lizzie, the Musical), a musical directed by Lex Lee (Bright 12) and choreographed by Miguel Cardenas (Green Day’s American Idiot), will run from January 27 to February. February 26, 2023 at the Cripe Stage at the Bette Aitken Performing Arts Center. Robert Berman is the show’s executive producer. Laurie Smits Stoud, Elizabeth Jones, Susan Bowman and Freddie Greenfield are its associate producers.
This is followed by the world premiere of Dustin H. Chinn’s film “Colonialism is terrible, but pho is delicious.” This poignant comedy spans centuries, continents and cultures in its three-part vignette. Since the 1880s Hanoi, the capital of French Indochina, where a Vietnamese cook finds herself in the kitchen of aristocratic French settlers. Then, in 1999 in Vietnam, American visitors got their first taste of authentic local cuisine. And finally, in modern gentrifying Brooklyn, you’ll witness a simmering debate over culture, ownership, and authenticity when it comes to simmering.
Chance Theater Artistic Director Oan Nguyen (Skylight) will direct all three productions featured in this continuous world premiere. Nguyen also directed a virtual staged reading (co-production with the Aurora Theater Company) which took place on February 13, 2021, in the midst of the theater’s closure. Reading rehearsals took place entirely via Zoom, with talent from across the country (including New York-based playwright Dustin H. Chinn). The response was so positive that Nguyen had just completed a production at the Aurora Theater Company in Berkeley, California. Reviews called the show “an edgy and delightful three-part play … a layered comedic medley of genius ideas, great acting, and fine direction.” (Berkleyside)
“Colonialism is terrible, but pho is delicious” runs from March 31 to April 30 at the Cripe Stage at the Bette Aitken Performing Arts Center. Laurie Smits Stoud is executive producer and Susan Bowman and Freddie Greenfield are associate producers. Following the production of Chance, the final stage of the world premiere will take place at the Oregon Contemporary Theater in May 2023, directed by Nguyen.
In the next slot, Chance will feature another world premiere, Matinicus: The Abigail Burgess Story. Following a popular OTR dramatized reading in 2022, the world premiere of a one-woman play commissioned by Chance is based on the true legend of Abigail Burgess, the young daughter of a lighthouse keeper who has inspired several books and is a standout heroine. in the village of Mayak. Chance’s 2016 playwright in residence Jenny Connell Davis was commissioned to adapt this powerful story for the stage.
“Matinicus: The Abigail Burgess Story” starring Aubrey Saverino (“Cry Out”) will run from May 5 to June 4, 2023 on the Fida-Mar Stage at the Bette Aitken Performing Arts Center. Rachel Menaker and Eddie Schuller are executive producers of the production.
This summer, Chance will present an intimate revival of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Rent. Set in New York’s East Village, Rent is about falling in love, finding your voice, and living in the moment. Winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical and numerous other awards, Rent remains a pop culture phenomenon, with songs that rock and a story that continues to resonate with audiences of all ages. Based on Puccini’s La bohème, the musical follows a year of impoverished young artists and musicians who struggle to survive and create on New York’s Lower East Side. This is theater at its best – exuberant, passionate and joyful.
The Rent will be directed by Matthew McCray (Beside Normal) and will run from July 21 to August 20, 2023 on the Cripe Stage at the Bette Aitken Theater Arts Center. Linda and Tod White are executive producers, with Laurie Smits Stoud, Rachelle Menaker and Eddie Schuller as associate producers.
The 2023 main series concludes with the Tony Award winner for Best Play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night. The story follows fifteen-year-old mathematician Christopher Boone, who is falsely accused of killing a neighbor’s dog. Christopher is great, but struggling to cope with the sounds and stresses of everyday life – he decides to investigate a crime. The secrets he reveals prompt him to leave his trusted teacher and the familiar streets of his hometown for a life-changing train journey to London. Based on Mark Haddon’s 2003 best-selling book, Mysterious Nighttime Dog Incident is a gripping and moving adventure story about an unforgettable young hero.
Directed by Darryl B. Hovis (A Wrinkle in Time), the play will perform at the Cripe Stage at the Bette Aitken Theater Arts Center from September 22 to October 22, 2023. Linda Maggard is an executive producer and Elizabeth Jones is an executive producer. Associate Producer.
Holiday favorite Chance Theater returns with a revival of The Secret Garden – The Musical. Based on the popular children’s book of the same name, The Secret Garden tells the story of Mary Lennox, a young British girl born and raised in colonial India. When an 11-year-old girl’s parents die from a cholera outbreak, she is sent to Yorkshire to live with her reclusive uncle, his disabled son, and the many ghosts, spirits and lost souls that haunt Mary’s new home. With the help of spirits, Mary and a young gardener uncover the secret of the manor’s magical garden, bringing the abandoned manor to life as Mary’s own personality blossoms along with the flowers. Filled with amazing music, elegant choreography, and a touching story of forgiveness and renewal, The Secret Garden is the quintessential holiday musical for all ages.
Directed by Casey Long and KC Wilkerson alongside Casey Long and KC Wilkerson, Secret Garden – The Musical will captivate Chance audiences from November 24 to December 23, 2023 on the Cripe Stage at the Bette Aitken Performing Arts Center.