It's been less than a month in 2014 and crime has already rang in the new year.

It's been less than a month in 2014 and crime has already rang in the new year.

A naïve, married young man is suspected of killing an elderly rich woman with whom he's been spending his evenings. And although the testimony of his wife can prove his innocence, she decides to turn on him.

Can the young man escape the hangman's noose? The truth will be unveiled at the Riverfront Theatre in Second Street Players' production of the Agatha Christie mystery "Witness For The Prosecution," which will kick off Second Street's 2014 season on Feb. 7.

The additional lineup of main stage shows in Second Street's highly-anticipated new season features the comedies "M*A*S*H" and "Dr. Jekyll, No Place To Hyde," followed by the Stephen Sondheim musical "Sweeney Todd" and the classic holiday production "It's A Wonderful Life."

Second Street's Children's Dessert Theatre will kick off with the sleepyhead "Snow White" on Feb. 28, followed by "Beauty And The Beast," "Monster In The Closet" and "The Magical Lamp Of Aladdin."

Josh Gross, who sits on Second Street's Board of Directors, spoke with the Milford Beacon about the highlights of the 2014 season, how he and his colleagues selected this year's shows, and more.

Q What excites you most about Second Street's 2014 season?

A We're doing "Sweeney Todd," which is a big musical, and a huge show. It's probably the big highlight of the season.

Q What makes "Sweeney Todd" special?

A It's been a movie that Johnny Depp was in and there's incredible music in it by Stephen Sondheim. The sets are going to be big and the music's going to be big, too. It's just going to be one of those kinds of things for the theater that's going to be huge.

Q This year you're presenting shows that vary from "M*A*S*H" to "Sweeney Todd." Was there a particular theme, or common ingredients, in these shows that attracted you and your colleagues to them?

A For what it looks like this year, it seems like we went for shows that people are going to relate to. I mean, you might not have heard of "Witness For The Prosecution," but it's an Agatha Christie story and people know her. "M*A*S*H" is "M*A*S*H." "Dr. Jekyll, No Place To Hyde" is actually a comedy of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," so it's a pretty funny show. "Sweeney Todd" is our huge musical for the year. And we'll do "It's A Wonderful Life" for the holiday ─ everybody's heard of that.

Q How do you and your peers who sit on the Board of Directors select the shows you'll present each season?

A When we get a bunch of ideas, the Reading Committee on the Board of Directors takes all these ideas and every single person reads all of the scripts. Then they have a meeting and sit down and say, "What do you think is going to be good to put on our stage that's possible for us to do?" They discuss everything. Then they come up with a list and we vote as a board.

Q For this year's Children's Dessert Theatre, you'll direct "Monster in the Closet." What can you tell us about this show?

A "Monster in the Closet" is about a girl and her friend and they stay up all-night-long playing video games, and the monsters that come to always try to scare everybody in their dreams hang out in the closet. There's this one monster that sees this girl playing video games and all he wants to do is play video games. So he comes out and he gets in trouble with the head monsters because he didn't let the sandman come in and make them go to sleep. It's all about how this one monster doesn't want to scare people, he just wants to go and have fun like all these kids are doing. The girl has a brother and he makes fun of her because she keeps saying there's this monster and everything. It's actually a pretty funny show. It's not your typical princess story. It's a little different and that's pretty much why I chose that one to direct.

Q Entering the 2014 season, how do you feel you can enhance the experience of your patrons?

A I do feel with the selection of shows we have this year that it's going to definitely bring more people to the theater because, like I said, these are some very well-known shows. "Sweeney Todd" is going to be big. The people directing it have a lot of musical background, and they have some big plans for it already, and that show isn't until October.


WHAT “Witness For The Prosecution,” presented by Second Street Players

WHEN Opens 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7; final show date is Sunday, Feb. 16

WHERE Riverfront Theatre, 2 S. Walnut St., Milford


INFO Visit or call 422-0220