A classic comedy, an irreverent take on Shakespeare and one of the most popular musicals of the modern era constitute the 2019 summer theater season for Brainerd Community Theatre.

"This is one of the more ambitious seasons we've yet produced," said director Patrick Spradlin.

Opening on June 25 will be Neil Simon's "The Sunshine Boys." The comedy tells the story of Willy Clark and Al Lewis, two aged vaudeville stars whose act broke up 10 years earlier. The pair hasn't spoken in a decade, but are brought together as part of a television special on the history of comedy.

Spradlin said this marks the 50th anniversary of theater at Brainerd Community Theatre and Central Lakes College.

"Although there was theater being done in the area by various individuals and groups, it was in 1969 that Bob Dryden was hired to start a theater program at Brainerd Community College," said Spradlin. "His first play was a Neil Simon comedy, so we've chosen to return to the roots, so to speak."

As part of the 50th anniversary celebration, ticket prices for "The Sunshine Boys" will be rolled back to 1969 prices.

"Bob told me when he came to Brainerd the cost of admission to a play was 50 cents," recalled Spradlin. "He thought that made for too cheap a date, so he upped the price to $2. He said it gave more value to the product."

Spradlin will be featured in the production alongside veteran actor M.S. Bernard. The play will be directed by Beth Selinger.

Hitting the stage Monday, July 15, will be "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)" by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield.

Director is Laura Marsolek. She will cast three actors of any gender who are ready for high-energy and highly physical comedy. Some improvisation experience is preferred but not required. Auditions will be held Monday, May 6.

The area premiere of the smash hit musical "Mamma Mia!" will conclude the summer season. Featuring the popular music of ABBA, the show will be directed by Amy Borash.

On a small Greek island, Sophie dreams of a perfect wedding - one that includes her father giving her away. The problem? Sophie doesn't know who he is. Her mother, Donna, the former lead singer of the 1970s pop group Donna and the Dynamos, refuses to talk about the past, so Sophie decides to take matters into her own hands.

Sneaking a peek in her mother's old diaries, she discovers three possible fathers: Sam, Bill and Harry. She secretly invites all three to the wedding, convinced that she'll know her father when she sees him. But when all three turn up, it may not be as clear as she thought.

Auditions are scheduled for Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1.

Tickets for all three shows are on sale at the Central Lakes College Theater box office, by calling 218-855-8199 or online at www.clcperformingarts.com.