Merry-Go-Round Playhouse and Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival have officially merged under the producing umbrella of the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse. The Playhouse is the parent organization, building on its reputation in the community and theater industry. The Merry-Go-Round Playhouse now comprises Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Merry-Go-Round Youth Theatre and Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival.
Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, known as "Broadway in the Finger Lakes," annually produces six large-scale musical performances in the historic carousel building in Emerson Park on Owasco Lake during the summer and fall.
In 2012, the organization held its inaugural Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, a professional musical theater festival in Auburn. It included three different venues offering shows that ranged from revivals of the most storied, award-winning classics to newer favorites, along with a cutting-edge new works series of 20 new musicals, presented in their earliest stages of development. The festival will continue annually as "Merry-Go-Round Playhouse and Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival."
The organization has combined its donor relations and development efforts. Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival will continue to have its own small advisory board and serve as one of the primary financiers of The Schwartz Family Performing Arts Center, expected to open in 2014 in downtown Auburn.
The newly formed board of directors for Merry-Go-Round Playhouse has 29 members with diverse backgrounds. Board members include: Robert Simmons, president; Jan Smolak, vice president; Robert Nethercott, second vice president; Carl Weber, treasurer; and Judy Foresman, secretary. New inductees include: Joseph Bartolotta, Connie Bouck, Menzo Case, Sue Edinger, Joan Grela, Adam Winslow, Philippe Schwimmer and Bruce Sherman.
"A combined organization was always a shared goal of the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse and Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival," said Robert Simmons, board president, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse. "Due to the individual strengths of both organizations, a merger was deemed valuable and mutually beneficial by everyone involved. The board is very excited about this transformation and is looking forward to the 38th season of summer theater. Additionally, we eagerly anticipate the construction of The Schwartz Family Performing Arts Center with our partners at Cayuga Community College."
The Merry-Go-Round Playhouse senior administration includes Producing Director Ed Sayles, General Manager and Associate Artistic Director Brett Smock, and Business Manager Lynn Lee.
The 2013 season of Merry-Go-Round Playhouse and Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival includes the following productions ranging from classic fare to modern upbeat pieces: "Singin' in the Rain," "Legally Blonde," "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," "CATS" and "Hank Williams: Lost Highway" at the Merry-Go-Round-Playhouse; "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" and the world premiere of "Neurosis: The Musical" at MGR Downtown at Auburn Public Theater; and "The PiTCH" at Theater Mack.