Cary’s longest-running community theatre company announces its 2019-2020 season of live theatre with drama, comedy, mystery, and a modern fairy tale. For the second time in the 17 seasons of Cary Players’ existence, the season will be entirely directed by women – a talented group that has proven their skills by being integral to respected productions throughout the Triangle area. Over the course of this season of live stage performances, audiences will journey from a sweltering jury room to a swamp filled with not-so-normal fairy tale creatures. In between, we’ll revisit a troubled Christmas pageant and make a new stop at an English country manor in the 1930’s.

The season kicks off in September with Twelve Angry Jurors, a classic drama about what it means to pass judgement on your fellow peers in a democracy. Originally released in 1957 as the film Twelve Angry Men, this update allows for a large cast of all ages and genders to take the stage. Directed by local theatrical veteran Yvonne Anderson, this show takes place on a hot summer day after a long trial, where a jury must decide whether a 19-year-old man is guilty of murdering his father. The jury initially votes 11-1 that the man is guilty of the crime, but the law requires a unanimous vote by all 12 jurors to pass judgment. Tempers flare as the eleven jurors try their best to convince the lone dissenter to come around to their side. As the evidence is re-examined, however, each juror reveals their own character as new uncertainties come to light, forcing everyone to truly question if there is in fact some measure of “reasonable doubt”. Performances run September 27-October 6, 2019, at the Cary Arts Center.

In December, Cary Players revisits a holiday favorite with The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, directed by Shelley Sink. When a small-town church’s seasoned Christmas pageant director breaks her leg, it is up to an inexperienced fill-in to take up the reins. But the rambunctious Herdman children, a tough group of siblings from the wrong side of the tracks, descend upon the pageant, lured by the promise of free dessert at Sunday school, and determined to win all the lead roles for themselves. And while the process is rough, the community watches in surprise as the same old Christmas story is rejuvenated by the creativity, energy, and unexpected sincerity of a misunderstood young family. Based on the novel of the same name by Barbara Robinson, this is a widely beloved Christmas tale, warm and incredibly funny, full of characters both relatable and utterly unique. Performances run December 6-9, 2019, at the Cary Arts Center.

In early February, director Mia Peters will bring us a modern farcical twist to the classic murder mystery.  Death By Design: A Comedy with Murder has earned rave reviews for playwright Rob Urbinati – frequently described as a mix between the brilliant wit of Noël Coward with the intricate plotting of Agatha Christie. Set during a weekend in an English country manor in 1932, Death by Design is a delightful and mysterious “mash-up” of two of the greatest English writers of all time. Edward Bennett, a playwright, and his wife, Sorel Bennett, an actress, flee London and head to Cookham after a disastrous opening night. But various guests arrive unexpectedly – a conservative politician, a fiery socialist, a nearsighted ingénue, a zany modern dancer – each with a long-held secret. When one of the guests is murdered, it’s left to Bridgit, the feisty Irish maid with a macabre interest in homicide, to solve the crime. Performances run January 31-February 9, 2020, at the Cary Arts Center.

To close out the season, director Nancy Rich returns to the Cary Players stage to direct a fan favorite – Shrek The Musical.  Grumpy, gruff, ogre Shrek lives alone in his swamp. Suddenly, his hermit existence is thrown open when a group of homeless fairy tale characters burst upon his swamp, seeking refuge from the persecution of the cruel, vertically-challenged Lord Farquaad. But if Shrek rescues the Princess Fiona, then Farquaad will ensure the return of Shrek’s swamp. Shrek enters the world for the first time in his life. To the unsocial ogre’s dismay, Fiona is different from what he expected a princess to be. She may even provoke Shrek’s most novel experience yet: Love. With dazzling sets, whimsical puppetry, high energy dance numbers, and laughs by the minute, Shrek the Musical transforms the contemporary children’s book and popular animated feature film into a stage musical that is sure to entertain and make audiences believers in happy endings for all. Performances run April 24-May 3, 2020, at the Cary Arts Center.


Both season tickets and individual show tickets will go on sale in June, and ticket prices will be announced at that time.


Founded in 2001, Cary Players is a non-profit community theatre company with a mission to showcase and enhance the theatrical talents of its community members. Volunteer opportunities are always available for those wishing to get involved. Auditions are open to everyone. Watch for details and follow Cary Players on Facebook.