capital-rep.JPGMichael Bush and Kevin McGuire return to join Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill in the director's chair Albany, N.Y. - Capital Repertory Theatre announces its 34th season, which balances world premieres and popular musicals with comedies and classics. Producing Artistic Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill says, "with this season we reaffirm our commitment to bringing new work to the stage, while not forgetting our ties to theatre history. I love music and I love literature, so bookending the slate with the musical fun of Smokey Joes Café and the serious drama of Hamlet makes perfect sense to me." "I'm especially excited that our NEXT ACT! New Play Summit has become a way to grow developing work, as well as a way to introduce our audience to new voices in the American theatre." They say the neon lights are bright on North Pearl Street, and Smokey Joe's Café- The Songs Of Leiber & Stoller opens theREP's 2014-2015 season (July 11-Aug. 10) with a dazzling selection of Brill Building pop, rock and R&B chestnuts. Tunes like "On Broadway," "Hound Dog," "Jailhouse Rock," "Fools Fall In Love," "Love Potion #9" and "Stand By Me" fueled the careers of The Drifters, Elvis Presley, The Coasters and Ben E. King, and have made Smokey Joe's Café a perennial favorite and the longest-running revue in Broadway history. Michael Bush (A Christmas Carol, The Sisters Rosensweig) returns to direct Jon Robin Baitz's dramedy Other Desert Cities (Sept. 26-Oct. 19). Baitz made his bow at theREP with The Substance of Fire in 1993; and Other Desert Cities, which the New York Times called "one of the most satisfying grown-up plays of the decade," marked his Broadway debut in 2011. A family clashes at the holidays over politics, memory and dark secrets in this Pulitzer Prize-nominated dazzler.  NEXT ACT! New Play Summit 3 (Nov. 1-3) will offer another round of exciting new as-yet-to-be-determined works. This mini-festival gives theREP's dedicated patrons an inside look at what's happening now in the world of theatre. The three-day event, split between spaces at Proctors and theREP, is fast becoming a buzz weekend as well as a proving ground for plays destined for theREP's regular season. Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill will helm the Classics on Stage holiday production of The Secret Garden (Nov. 21-Dec. 21). Librettist/lyricist Marsha Norman and composer Lucy Simon breathe new life in to Francis Hodgson Burnett's timeless tale of a spurned orphan girl turning a dead and wasted garden into a loving paradise and sanctuary for love. The 1991 Broadway production, lifted by Simon's soaring score, took home three Tony Awards. Need proof of the power of NEXT ACT? Sherry Kramer's How Water Behaves was the hit of last year's hoedown. Now, it's making its World Premiere (Jan. 16-Feb. 8) in a production sure to launch it on the regional theatre circuit. Kramer's zany comedy-directed by Mancinelli-Cahill-focuses on Nan and her unemployed husband, Steve, who create a fictitious charity in order to keep up with their family's extravagant gift giving. When Steve whips up a fake web site for the family to view, everything spins out of control. Variety calls Steven Temperley's Souvenir "a comic jewel with a heart." Florence Foster Jenkins couldn't sing a note, but that didn't stop her from becoming the eccentric doyen of New York high society. Too bad she didn't realize that her annual sold-out recitals were popular for their comic effect, not their art. Souvenir (Feb. 27-March 22) chronicles the side-splitting journey of Mrs. Jenkins and her compassionate accompanist Cosme McMoon from the rehearsal room to Carnegie Hall. Based on a true story, Souvenir will have you laughing-till you cry! Kevin McGuire. Hamlet. Enough said. Broadway star and Capital Repertory Theatre favorite Kevin McGuire returns to direct the Bard's towering classic of murder, betrayal and treachery. This fast-paced Classics on Stage production of Hamlet (April 17-May 10) is ripe with ghosts, political intrigue, romance and sword fighting swagger. McGuire, noted throughout the region for his brilliant stagings of Shakespeare at Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, will leave you breathless with his vision of the Danish prince. Smokey Joe's Café                                            July 11-Aug. 10, 2014            Other Desert Cities                                           Sept. 26-Oct. 19, 2014 NEXT ACT! New Play Summit 3                   Nov. 1-3, 2014 The Secret Garden                                            Nov. 21, 2014-Dec. 21, 2015 How Water Behaves                                        Jan. 16-Feb. 8, 2015 Souvenir                                                               Feb. 27-March 22, 2015 Hamlet                                                                  April 17-May 10, 2015 New subscriptions, starting at $120, will be available beginning late March. Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 N. Pearl Street, Albany, N.Y. For tickets and information, call TICKETS BY PROCTORS, (518) 445-SHOW (7469) or visit