By Grant Golson, producing artistic director at La Crosse Community Theatre  

La Crosse Community Theatre is excited to announce our 56th season of magical productions. With three big musicals, three youth productions, two thrillers, a hilarious comedy and plenty of family-friendly entertainment, there is truly something for everyone! On top of that, seven of our shows are LCT premieres. You won’t want to miss any of these new and exciting productions!

It all kicks off with the haunting and beautiful musical “The Secret Garden,” which opened to critical acclaim in the 1991-1992 Broadway season. Young Mary Lennox has lost everything and everyone she loves to the cholera outbreak in colonial India. Forced to move in with her estranged uncle, Mary is haunted by the ghosts of her past until she discovers a locked garden on the estate. Once inside, Mary sets her mind to bringing the garden back to life, and in doing so, revitalizes the lives of those around her. 

Our season continues with the thriller “Bad Seed,” based off the 1954 novel and subsequent 1956 film of the same name. Perfect Rhoda Penmark is scorned when she loses the penmanship medal to a boy in her fourth-grade class. When the boy mysteriously drowns at a school picnic, Rhoda’s mother starts to question whether or not Rhoda was involved. It all leads to a fantastic climax that had audiences fainting in the aisles 70 years ago. Don’t miss the shocking conclusion of “Bad Seed.”

Next up in our season is a wonderful contemporary holiday classic. LCT is proud to premiere “Elf the Musical,” based off the popular Will Farrell movie. It’s the story of William “Buddy” Hobbs, a young orphan who mistakenly crawls into Santa Claus’ bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Raised amongst Santa’s elves, Buddy finally realizes that he’s a human being and heads off to New York City in search of his father. When he discovers that his dad is on the naughty list, Buddy is determined to win over his birth family and help NYC remember the true meaning of Christmas. Hilarious and heartwarming, be sure to bring the
whole family!

The new year will bring the sequel to “Boeing Boeing” when LCT produces “Don’t Dress for Dinner.” The two male leads return for a hilarious farce you have to see to believe. Bernard is planning a romantic weekend with his chic model mistress in his charming converted French farmhouse whilst his wife, Jacqueline, is away. He has arranged for a Cordon Bleu cook to prepare gourmet delights, and has invited his best friend, Robert, along to provide the alibi. It’s foolproof; what could possibly go wrong? Everything. An evening of hilarious confusion ensues as Bernard and Robert improvise at breakneck speed.

The next show in our season won the Pulitzer Play for Drama in 2001 and the Tony Award for Best Play that same year. “Proof” tells the story of Catherine, the daughter and primary caretaker of her father, Robert, a mathematical genius struggling with mental illness. Upon Robert’s death, his ex-graduate student Hal discovers a paradigm-shifting proof about prime numbers in Robert’s office, but Catherine claims to have written it. Can Catherine prove the proof’s authorship? Has she inherited her father’s mathematical genius, or only his madness? If Hal doesn’t believe her, will their budding relationship come to a sudden stop? With a prevalent theme of mental illness, the show remains gripping and incredibly provoking. 

We’ll close our season with the Broadway classic “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” Benjamin Barker is a prominent barber in London in the 1800s. When a corrupt judge takes a liking to his wife, he sends Barker away for 15 years on a false charge. Barker returns to London rechristened as Sweeney Todd to exact his revenge on the judge. Renting his old apartment above a down-and-out pie shop, Sweeney begins a partnership with the proprietress of the shop. Together they devise a plan to woo the judge into his barber shop where Sweeney waits ready with his razor to give the judge the closest shave of his life. Thrilling, chilling and with a great sense of humor, many consider “Sweeney Todd” to be Stephen Sondheim’s magnum opus.

Join us for thrills, chills, laughs and love as we proudly present our 2019-2020 season!