WESTERLY — The Granite Theatre will kick off its 19th season with a Ken Ludwig classic and new starting times. Beginning in March, the Granite’s evening performances, which run Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, will begin at 7:30 p.m. Starting times for matinees — Sundays at 2 p.m. — will remain the same. Some times will vary with additional performances.
The 2019 season opens with “The Game’s Afoot,” which has a somewhat local flavor. It takes place in December 1936. Broadway star William Gillette, admired the world over for his leading role in playing Sherlock Holmes, has invited his fellow cast members to his Connecticut castle for a weekend of revelry. But when one of the guests is stabbed to death, the festivities in this isolated house of tricks and mirrors quickly turn dangerous. It is then up to Gillette himself, as he assumes the persona of his beloved Holmes, to track down the killer before the next victim appears. “The Game’s Afoot” opens March 22 and runs through April 7.
Next on the list is Alfred Urhy’s “The Last Night of Ballyhoo,” which takes place in December of 1939 in Atlanta. The Freitags family is concerned with who is going to Ballyhoo, the social event of the season. Beulah Levy is determined to have her daughter, Lala, attend Ballyhoo, believing it will be Lala’s last chance to find a socially acceptable husband. There’s competition for the eligible males when her cousin comes home for the holidays. The family gets pulled apart and then mended together with plenty of comedy, romance and revelations along the way. The play opens on April 26 and runs through May 11.
John Patrick’s “The Curious Savage” is next and features Mrs. Savage, who has just been left $10 million by her husband and wants to make the best use of it — in spite of her grown-up stepchildren’s efforts to get their hands on it. The stepchildren commit her to a sanatorium hoping to “bring her to her senses” where she meets various social misfits who need the help Mrs. Savage can provide. In getting to know them, she realizes that she will find happiness with them and plans to spend the rest of her life as one of them rather than go out into a hard world where people seem ready to do anything for money. She leads her stepchildren on a merry chase. The play opens May 31 and runs through June 16.
Next it’s Neil Simon’s perennial favorite, “Barefoot in the Park,” which opens June 28. Paul and Corie Bratter are newlyweds in every sense of the word. He’s a straight-as-an-arrow lawyer and she’s a free spirit always looking for the latest kick. Their new apartment is her most recent find — too expensive with bad plumbing and in need of a paint job. Paul just doesn’t understand Corie, as she sees it. He’s too staid, too boring, and she just wants him to be a little more spontaneous. Running “barefoot in the park” would be a start. “Barefoot in the Park” runs through July 21.
Ernest Thompson’s “On Golden Pond” will be the next production and will feature the Granite’s artistic directors David and Beth Jepson. Ethel and Norman Thayer, who are returning to their summer home on Golden Pond for the 48th year. He is a retired professor with a failing memory — but still as tart-tongued as ever. Ethel, 10 years younger, delights in all the small things that have enriched their life together. They are visited by their daughter and her fiancé, who leave his teenage son behind for the summer. The son quickly becomes the “grandchild” the elderly couple have longed for, even as he proves to be a handful. In the end Norman, Ethel and the audience will hope that perhaps another summer on Golden Pond still awaits. “On Golden Pond” runs Aug. 2-25.
Agatha Christie’s “The Hollow,” follows with a Sept. 6 opening. An unhappy game of romantic follow-the-leader explodes into murder one weekend at the home of Sir Henry and Lucy Angkatell, arguably Christie’s finest comic grande dame. Dr. Cristow, the Harley Street lothario, is at the center of the trouble when we find his wife, Gerda, his mistress and prominent sculptor Henrietta, and his former lover and Hollywood film star, Veronica. Also visiting are Edward and Midge, whose romantic assertions are likewise thrown into the mix. As the list of romantic associations grows, so does the list of potential suspects when Cristow is shot dead. Nearly everyone has a motive, but only one of them did the deed. The mystery runs through Sept. 29.
“Man of La Mancha,” by Dale Wasserman, music by Mitch Leigh, and lyrics by Joe Darion is next. Inspired by Miguel de Cervantes’ 17th-century masterpiece Don Quixote, “Man of La Mancha” is one of the most successful musicals in Broadway history. Powerful, brutal, hilarious, and heartbreaking, the musical celebrates the perseverance of a dying old man who refuses to relinquish his ideals or his passion. The celebrated score includes “The Impossible Dream,” “I, Don Quixote,” and “Dulcinea.”Man of La Mancha” opens Oct. and runs through Nov. 10.
The season ends with Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” which opens Nov. 29 and runs through Dec. 22.
Tickets for comedies are $20; $17 for seniors 62 and older; $12 for children 12 and younger. Musicals are $25, $22 seniors 62 and older; $22 and $15 for children 12 and younger. Gift certificates are available year-round and season subscriptions are available through April 8. For information or to reserve tickets, call the box office at 401-596-2341 or choose seats online at www.granitetheatre.com.