CPCC Summer Theatre takes a musical history tour

CPCC Summer Theatre goes back, back and even farther back (to the French Revolution, in fact) with the musical lineup for its 2014 season. The lone non-musical is set in the modern day, but what’s more timeless than a story of grandparents who’ll do anything to keep their grandson from moving 3,000 miles away?

Tickets went on sale this week for CPCC’s 41st season of professional summer stock. They’re $22 and $18 ($10 and $5 for children), and season packages can still be had. Details: 704-330-6534 or tix.cpcc.edu. Here’s what’s in store, with all shows at Halton Theater except as noted:

June 6-14: Frank Wildhorn has some of the most loyal fans in the world, and they’ll be pleased to see that “The Scarlet Pimpernel” opens the season. Like Baroness Orczy’s novel, it takes us back to France in the early 1800s, “that infamous time when revolution filled the air and Madame Guillotine filled the gutters of Paris with blood.” (I love over-the-top press releases.)

Wildhorn’s music, which is reminiscent of his score for “Jekyll & Hyde,” is paired with book and lyrics by Nan Knighton. Expect swordplay, daring rescues – you get the idea.

June 20-28: Lyricist Johnny Mercer spent most of his creative time in Hollywood but wrote three fine Broadway musicals, the best of them being “Li’l Abner.”

Gene DePaul wrote the music, and the songs include the immortal “Jubilation T. Cornpone” and The Country’s In the Very Best of Hands.” The show comes from the comic strip created by Al Capp and features all the comic Appalachian types you could want.

July 2-12: CPCC always does a brief show for kids, and “The Little Mermaid Jr.” is the scaled-down version of the Disney musical.

Ariel defies her father, King Triton, to get a pair of legs and pursue a human prince on land, while she and her aquatic pals romp through “Under the Sea” and other Alan Menken-Howard Ashman songs.

July 5-12, Pease Auditorium: In the comedy “Over the River and Through the Woods,” playwright Joe DiPietro shows how four scheming grandparents in New Jersey pull out all the stops over a series of Sunday dinners to keep their only grandson from moving to Seattle.

July 18-26: More Disney, this time in an adaptation of P.L. Travers’ books set in Edwardian London. The indomitable nanny “Mary Poppins” and her chimney-sweeping pal Bert try to keep a banker’s family together, despite Dad’s neglect and tendency to overwork, Mom’s frequent absences and the two kids’ feelings that nobody gets them. (It’s set 100 years ago but seems current today.)

The Richard and Robert Sherman songs from the 1964 film are intact, but they added new ones for the 2006 Broadway musical – which, by the way, was written by Julian Fellowes of “Downton Abbey” fame.