B Street’s beyond

A sneak peek at the theater’s 2016-17 season

Jack Gallagher will return to the B Street Theatre in February for a new one man show.

Jack Gallagher will return to the B Street Theatre in February for a new one man show.

Photo courtesy of B Street Theatre

Learn more about the B Street Theatre’s current and upcoming seasons by visiting www.bstreettheatre.org or by calling (916) 443-5300.

Patrons of the B Street Theatre are in for an unusual treat for the upcoming 2016-17 season—this year they actually know what shows they are going to see. Typically, the theater’s faithful buy season tickets with no clue as to what shows will be presented because the shows are chosen during the season’s run.

“We have built a very good relationship with our patrons,” said Buck Busfield, the theater’s producing director.

“We don’t announce our season ahead of time because we like to be flexible,” he adds. “If a hot new play suddenly becomes available, we can present it right away instead of waiting until the next season. Our patrons trust us.”

But with the prospect of a new theater, currently under construction at 27th Street and Capitol Avenue, the company is planning ahead.

“We’re going to become a little less nimble,” Busfield said.

That, in turn, means more advance planning. While exact dates have yet to be announced for most of the productions, the season’s itinerary is set.

“We actually already have the rights to all the shows for our upcoming season,” he said.

And what a season it is. The Mainstage series kicks off in October with The Lion in Winter, the 1966 James Goldman tale that inspired the hit TV series Empire. The year is 1183 and the location is the court of Henry II, hosting his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, their children and his mistress for Christmas dinner. What could possibly go wrong? Expect the B Street version to be comedic in tone and dramatic in action.

October will also see a new play by Joseph Rodota. Chessman is the story of robber, kidnapper and rapist Caryl Chessman 12-year battle to avoid execution, and Gov. Pat Brown’s moral struggle as to whether to grant him clemency. It is scheduled to run October 13-22.

December brings back, not surprisingly, A Christmas Carol, as seen through the twisted mind of Busfield, wearing his playwright hat. In this version, Ebenezer Scrooge is tired of the whole “redemption” story and wants to free himself from the role he has been forced to play for the last 173 years.

In 2017, Becoming Dr. Ruth debuts in January and tells the incredible story of the world’s best known sex therapist, from fleeing the Nazis as a young girl, becoming a sniper for the Haganah in Jerusalem, then an immigrant to America and having to make it as a single mother, and finally a pioneering radio and television sex therapist.

One of Sacramento’s favorite funny men, Jack Gallagher, is set to return for another original play in February. Concussed discusses, in humorous fashion, the effects concussion injuries have on the brain.

In April, rounding out the Mainstage productions, comedians Stephanie Altholz, Amy Kelly and Tara Sisson will present the world premiere of Treatment.

The theater’s Family Series has some promising options, too, starting with October’s staging of The Garden of Rikki Tikki Tavi an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s story of the lovable mongoose. The production opens October 1 and is recommended for kids ages 6 and up.

Robin Hood, adapted by B Street regular Jerry Montoya, is also recommended for ages 6 and up and opens November 19.

For older kids—ages 10 and up, to be exact—there’s Going West: The Story of the Transcontinental Railroad, set to open February 25.

Finally, the kids’ season closes with Junie B. Jones is not a Crook. It opens April 22 and is suitable for kids ages 5 and up.