Isabella Corsaro (Heidi), Kate Jaeger (Gretl), Jonas Winburn (Günter) and Kevin Vortmann (Hansel) were set to star in Village Theatre’s production of “Hansel Gretl Heidi Günter” — but the show was canceled because of the pandemic. (Mark Kitaoka / Village Theatre)

Isabella Corsaro (Heidi), Kate Jaeger (Gretl), Jonas Winburn (Günter) and Kevin Vortmann (Hansel) were set to star in Village Theatre’s production of “Hansel Gretl Heidi Günter” — but the show was canceled because of the pandemic. (Mark Kitaoka / Village Theatre)

Village Theatre back in 2022 with lineup that includes ‘Raisin’

The four-show season, which begins in February 2022, is intended to reflect perseverance and the road to recovery, Village’s artistic director says.

EVERETT — Village will be back next year.

More than a year after COVID-19 dropped the curtain, Village Theatre has announced a four-show 2022 season.

The lineup is “Songs for a New World,” “The Book Club Play,” “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and “Raisin.”

Village artistic director Jerry Dixon said the season is made up of small-cast musicals and plays to ease the Everett area back into theater-going during the pandemic. As the season progresses, the number of performers on stage will increase.

“It will be great to fling the doors open,” he said. “I want to get those Hollywood lights that go back and forth.”

The season kicks off with “Songs for a New World,” which is neither a musical nor a song cycle. It can best be described as a series of songs all connected by a theme: “The moment of decision.” It opens Feb. 18, 2022, in Everett.

“It speaks to getting over hard times, coming up against obstacles and pushing through them and celebrating moments of real pain where you’ve pressed against it and you’ve healed,” Dixon said. “If that’s not a message for this time, I don’t know what is. It’s a wonderful show about the celebration of endurance and perseverance of the human spirit.”

The Off-Broadway show features a collection of songs that explore life, love and the choices that we make. There are just four actors in the cast.

“The Book Club Play,” with six performers, will follow. The hit comedy is as much about connection as it is about books.

The play, opening April 8, 2022, is about what happens to the dynamic of a book club when its five members become the focus of a documentary film.

“It’s a comedy about community,” Dixon said. “It’s really that version of when we were sitting in the winter of COVID and figuring out who belongs in our pod. There’s six of us in our pod, and we’re comfortable with that, but what if someone wants to invite a seventh and an eighth?”

“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” is next in the lineup. The musical, based on Charles Schultz’s iconic Peanuts comic strip, opens in Everett on May 27, 2022. It has nine in the cast.

It explores a day in the life of Charlie Brown as he goes from wild optimism to utter despair. Through the ups and downs of growing up, the Peanuts gang learns that a dose of sunlight and positivity can be the best medicine.

“I don’t have children, but I have seen the effects of isolation on children,” Dixon said. “Children really have a hard time expressing their fears and anxieties, so I wanted to find a show that spoke to that. ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’ has kids going through kids’ stuff and trying to go at it in an adult way.”

The season concludes with “Raisin,” a musical based on Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking 1959 play, “A Raisin in the Sun.” “Raisin” won a 1974 Tony Award for Best Musical. It opens July 15, 2022.

The story follows a proud Black family that motivated by a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to move out and move up. There are 14 performers in all.

“They get this opportunity for the American dream,” Dixon said. “A house with a picket fence in a beautiful neighborhood. They seize on it — and then they get politely uninvited from that neighborhood. From the first downbeat of the overture, it’s the family decision of whether they take the money and go to a neighborhood that will welcome them or they push through and say, ‘I belong anywhere I decide I belong.’”

The four shows were carefully selected to fit with challenging times, Dixon said.

“This season embraces the perseverance and road to recovery that we see in our world through stories of connection,” he said in a press release. “The productions in our 2022 season reflect that there is hope and rising anticipation of a better tomorrow. While our communities continue to find ways to create new connections, embrace honesty and acceptance, and recognize that there can be joy in overcoming adversity or challenges as we face them together, we will bring that spirit and hope to the stage.”

Three musicals from Village Theatre’s 2019-2020 season were canceled because of the pandemic. This includes all performances of “Hansel & Gretl & Heidi & Günter” and “The Wedding Singer,” as well as the last two weeks of “She Loves Me.”

A 2020-2021 season also had to be scrapped because of COVID-19. That lineup was “Mamma Mia!,” “Hello, Dolly!,” “Deathtrap,” “Making Tracks” and “Ain’t Misbehavin.”

Village’s shutdown resulted in an 80% loss in revenue. The theater company had to lay off or furlough 176 employees to mitigate its losses. Nineteen staffers worked reduced hours and 10 operated on salaries reduced by 10% to 30%, with higher-paid positions taking larger percentage pay cuts.

But the show will go on — next year. After receiving a $3 million donation, Village Theatre in March brought back some of its production staff for the 2022 season.

Season tickets for all four shows are $104-$312. Go to www.villagetheatre.org/everett/subscribe.php or call 425-392-2202 for more information. Performances will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays at Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave., Everett.

Sara Bruestle: 425-339-3046; sbruestle@heraldnet.com; @sarabruestle.

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