Surflight Theatre Announces Packed 2018 Lineup

Season Will Stretch Into Autumn
By RICK MELLERUP | Nov 22, 2017
File Photo by: Ryan Morrill Surflight Theater's Producing Artistic Director Steve Steiner in June announcing the opening of the 2017 season with "Footloose." See below to find out what the 2018 season has in store.

Surflight Theatre has announced its shows and concerts for the 2018 season, its second year back after emerging from bankruptcy under new ownership.

The first year, 2017, saw a successful summer season, with the theater selling out 35 of its 77 performances and its actors performing in front of 86-percent capacity crowds overall, according to management.

That success continues this fall, with a second show to be added for a New Year’s Eve performance by the band The Rave On, headed by popular Surflight performer Todd Meredith (“Buddy,” “The Million Dollar Quartet”), due to selling out the first.

Meanwhile, management is hard at work fixing up the theater complex, spending $150,000 for roof repairs to stop leaking, patio work to repair flooding damage and new doors. But, on with the show! Make that shows!

The 2018 mainstage season will open with “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” a screwball comedy set in the Prohibition era built around songs by George and Ira Gershwin such as “Nice Work …,” “Fascinating Rhythm” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.” It will run from June 12 through June 24.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s “Jesus Christ Superstar” will follow from June 26 through July 15. Loosely based on the Gospels, “JCS” follows the last week of Christ’s life with a 1970s rock score featuring songs such as “Superstar” and “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.”

Up next, from July 17 through Aug. 5, is a show with a New Jersey connection. The year is 1985. The place is the Garden State. The show is “The Wedding Singer,” about Robbie Hart, a rock star wannabe who has only made it as far as singing at nuptials. Based on the Adam Sandler movie, “The Wedding Singer” features songs such as “It’s Your Wedding Day,” “Someday” and “Right in Front of Your Eyes.”

Just about every night will be Saturday night from Aug. 7 through 26 at Surflight next summer with the show based on the 1977 film that rocked – well, discoed – John Travolta to stardom, “Saturday Night Fever.” Almost all of its songs, many by the Bee Gees, come from the movie, including “Stayin’ Alive,” “How Deep Is Your Love” and “More Than a Woman.”

Surflight’s final musical of the summer, “Bright Star,” will run from Aug. 28 through Sept. 9. It is pegged as a “sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ’40s, all propelled by an ensemble of onstage musicians and dancers.” This is the show’s New Jersey premier, so a little bit of information about the storyline is in order. When literary editor Alice Murphy meets a young solider just home from WWII, he awakens her longing for the child she once lost. Haunted by their unique connection, Alice sets out on a journey to understand her past – and what she finds has the power to transform both of their lives.

The theater’s restored fall lineup will feature straight shows.

From Sept. 12 to 16 “The 39 Steps” will leave audience members rolling in the aisles. It is a mixture of Alfred Hitchcock and “Monty Python,” a two-time Tony winner that is packed with laughs and characters, over 150 characters played by just four performers!

“Souvenir,” which will run from Sept. 19 through 23, sounds like it will provide an actress with an unforgettable role. It tells the true story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a wealthy society eccentric who was convinced she was a great coloratura soprano when, in fact, she’d get kicked off of the first episode of “The Voice.”

The young actors of Surflight’s Education Department will perform “Zombie Prom” from Oct. 12 to 14. This show combines America’s current infatuation with zombies with its 1950s infatuation with nuclear power.

Finally, Surflight’s 2018 Christmas show will be “Elf, the Musical,” a modern holiday classic that is sure to make everyone embrace their “inner-elf.” It will run from Dec. 7 to 16.

Much of the 2018 Surflight concert series has already been set as well. It will kick off on May 26 and 27 with “Sail On, The Beach Boys Tribute,” followed by “Forever Motown” on July 9.

If you like impersonators mark July 23 on your calendar. The Edwards Twins, considered by many to be Las Vegas’ number one impersonators of all time, will present two shows titled “An Evening with Cher, Elton, Bette Midler and Streisand,” which may also include “appearances” by Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, Lady Gaga, Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Tom Jones and who knows who else.

“We’ve Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered” will be the attraction on July 30. “Songs in the Attic: The Music of Billy Joel” will take the stage on Aug. 20.

There will also be a number of comedy nights, the dates to be announced later. Finally, the children’s theater lineup has yet to be determined.

Subscriptions will go on sale Jan. 2, 2018; online ticketing will be available in late March. Advance ticket orders may be placed now at the box office or by calling 609-492-9477.

— Rick Mellerup


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