The start of Andria Theatre's 2018-2019 season is just around the corner. The first of five shows opens the second week of October, with the last show hitting the stage in early April.

Although David Christman, the theater's artistic director, makes the final decision on which shows make up each season, he considers several factors when making those choices. Those factors are: patron suggestions; results of surveys completed by audience and cast members; input from directors; and knowing the pulse of the community as in what sells well.

"When given choices, most people have chosen musicals and comedies as what they wish to see on the Andria Theatre stage," said Ann Hermes, Andria Theatre executive director.

Hermes said that in today's climate of divisiveness, people need to have their loads lightened, and that the upcoming season is a great one to lose the day-in, day-out world.

Here's a look at the upcoming productions:

• "The Wizard of Oz" - Oct. 11-14 and 18-21.

• "The Best/Worst Christmas Pageant Ever" - Dec. 6-9 and 13-16.

• "Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery" - Jan. 11-13 and 18-20.

• "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Jr." - Feb. 15-17 and 22-24.

• "Mamma Mia!" - April 4-7 and 11-14.

Hermes invites people to "come into the magical worlds of "The Wizard of Oz" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," which she said have strong comedic elements, as audience members experience "the fantastical worlds they create."

Because most people can relate to the students who are what Hermes called "creative hellions" in "The Best/Worst Christmas Pageant Ever," those who attend will get their fill of laughs.

Hermes said comedic playwright Ken Ludwig lends his deft pen to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's adaptation of "The Hound of the Baskervilles" entitled, "Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery."

"This comedy/mystery is sure to delight as five actors take part in the romp," she said. "Of course, there are Holmes and Watson. But then there are the three remaining actors, who portray an ever-changing, dizzying array of British, German and French characters."

Andria Theatre's season winds up on a high note, Hermes said, as the popular combination of ABBA's music and a funny tale of weddings, friendship and fatherhood play out on stage with "Mamma Mia!"

While all of the season's shows are family-friendly, Hermes said some younger children may not understand a few of the complexities of the plots of Baskerville and Mamma Mia!

Watch the Echo Press for detailed information of each performance.

Student Theatre Project

Andria Theatre's fall Student Theatre Project is a theater camp and performing arts experience for children from the ages of 8-11. This year's production is "Sleeping Beauty Kids."

The students will meet for several weeks, with performances taking place Nov. 9-11.

Children receive a wide range of theater experiences, including training in vocal, drama and dance performance, marketing, ticket sales and event promotion. Students also learn about set and costume design, as well as what it takes to run a theater.

Registration deadline to sign up for the Student Theatre Project is Wednesday, Oct. 3. Registration is available online at the theatre's website, www.andriatheatre.org.

If you go

WHAT: Performances at Andria Theatre

WHEN: Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m.

WHERE: Andria Theatre, 618 Broadway St., Alexandria

TICKETS: Go to www.andriatheatre.org or call the box office at 320-762-8300.