HARRISBURG - Open Stage of Harrisburg, a professional regional theater, has just embarked on its 26th season.
The intimate theater tucked away in the Walnut Street Parking Garage since 1992 offers four plays focused on "Life-Changing Experiences" for its 2011-12 season, all "recommended for mature audiences."
Dubbed the "Theatre Just 180 miles off Broadway," Open Stage of Harrisburg has evening performances at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. for this season's shows:
"A Lie of the Mind" (Now through Saturday) - Sam Shepard's intense drama explores the psychic as well as the physical damage suffered by a dysfunctional family as the aftermath of living with alcoholism and domestic violence.
Newly composed music and a guitar-based score sets the mood in the iconic playwright's powerful play.
"The Santaland Diaries" (Nov. 25 through Dec. 17) - Theatregoers who prefer their holiday entertainment to be naughty rather than nice will laugh heartily at David Sedaris' true adventures as Crumpet, a beleaguered elf at Macy's one fateful Christmas shopping season. This funny one-man show will also be presented by Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble Dec. 8 through 11.
"Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" (Feb 3 through 25) - This riveting play with music set in a rundown Chicago recording studio is August Wilson's searing and salty story as singer Ma Rainey encounters rage and racism. This is the 1920s installment of the acclaimed playwright's "Century Cycle" that chronicles the black experience in America.
"Talk Radio" (April 3 through May 4) - Eric Bogosian's drama about a controversial talk show host who continually insults the "pathetic souls" that call in his after-midnight program produces unexpected results as he plans to sell his "Talk Radio" show for national syndication.
Annual productions and admission
Beginning in 2000, Open Stage of Harrisburg initiated its annual production of Wendy Kesselman's adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning production of "The Diary of Anne Frank."
Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" was added to its annual production in 2001. Both shows are staged in the spacious Whitaker Center in downtown Harrisburg. The cost of admission is $29 and $21 for students with ID. Season 26 continues its "Thrifty Thursdays" admission with $15 tickets available at the box-office one hour before each Thursday performance. For more information, call 717-232-1505 or 717-232-OPEN.