The Weekend Theater
announced it's 2009-2010 season over the weekend, and like previous offerings it's a mix of familiar and obscure, classic and contemporary and broad and challenging.
"Oliver!" kicks off the season in June, followed by "Rent," "Jekyll & Hyde," "Our Town," "Falsettos," "A Dark, Dark House," "The Last White Class," "Sordid Lives," "Dying City," "The Little Dog Laughed," "Summertree" and "Glengarry Glen Ross."
See dates and capsuled plot overviews below.
, Music and Lyrics by Lionel Bart. Based upon the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens will be staged for four weekends, June 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28. Winner of the Tony Award for Best Original Score and five Oscar Awards including Best Picture, Oliver! is the classic tale of a young orphan who finds a home among thieves and cutpurses in the big city, after being sold into indentured servitude to an undertaker, escaping from a life of hopeless poverty, being kidnapped and returned to the gothic, horrible workhouse of half-starved orphans. The sweet, sincere Oliver meets up with Nancy with the warm personality; Fagin, the sinister organizer and pimp of child thieves whom he grooms for a criminal life on the streets, pick pocketing and stealing; the scarily assured and charismatic Artful Dodger; and the gruff, unkempt, vaguely charismatic and vicious wife beater Bill Sykes. Based on perhaps Dickens’s greatest and most gripping novels, this indignant howl of protest against man’s inhumanity to man, this tale of child abuse and exploitation has become one of the most beloved and familiar shows, mixing superbly melodic music with the gorgeously grotesque in the dark alleys of London. Directed by Andy Hall and Jamie Scott Blakey, Music Direction by Lori Isner.Rent
, book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson, will be staged July 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and four Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Rent is a rock opera which is Generation X’s amplified update of Puccini’s La Bohème and is the seventh longest-running show in Broadway history. It tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians, struggling to survive and create in New York’s Lower East Side in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, under the shadow of AIDS. While including themes of homelessness, drug addiction, hunger, sickness, multiculturalism, homophobia, and AIDS, nonetheless, this invigorating and exuberant musical has the sweet spirit of a kid’s show. Its message of hope and love continues to inspire young people who are trying to find their personal passions in a world they don’t necessarily respect, and its unifying thread is a stubborn insistence on a life that rises above the commonplace and an existence that maintains some semblance of integrity and dignity over time. Directed by John Thompson, Music Direction by Lori Isner.Jekyll & Hyde
conceived for the stage by Steve Cuden and Frank Wildhorn, book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, music by Frank Wildhorn. Based on the story by Robert Louis Stevenson, this musical will be performed August 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30.
Nominated for four Tony Awards, Jekyll & Hyde is a rousing gothic musical, set in London in 1885. This classic is a cautionary tale of a scientist attempting to separate the dual (good and evil) natures of man to cure humanity of its darker side. Comparing the joys that Hyde has as a murderer as well as the joys Jekyll had as a doctor by day, Hyde is often found to be the more compelling character, a portal for audiences to vicariously indulge forbidden impulses within a safely defined theatrical mileau. This show mixes together characters from both ends of the social spectrum, songs and scenes that provide ample chills and thrills, and a main character split between the extremes of morality. But are they really that separate... “How do you tell evil from good?” Directed by Byron Taylor, Music Direction by Jeannie Smith.Our Town
, by Thornton Wilder, September 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26. Winner of the 1938 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Our Town has become a much beloved classic which chronicles the daily life of close knit families and reveals the universal truths that connect us all. One of the major plays of the American theater, Our Town uses theatricality to its fullest, most engaging extent, stripping away most of the physical trappings in favor of the emotional commitment and honesty that are the core of all theater. Wilder’s play cautions us to appreciate the opportunity to live a life in a highly imperfect world amidst a mysterious universe that probably does not even acknowledge our existence. Directed by Jamie Scott Blakey.Falsettos
, music and lyrics by William Finn, book by William Finn and James Lapine, October 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24.
Winner of Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score, Falsettos explores the boundaries of love, courage, family and acceptance. With its neurotic, Jewish protagonist, at least three characters in therapy, and a lesbian couple living next door, the show engages the intellect with intricately crafted music and a libretto that addresses real life with the dialogue being entirely sung. There are startlingly unstereotyped characters: a woman who chooses to be a full-time homemaker yet is not presented as dull nor ridiculed for her choice; a kid who is wise beyond his years but still has a child’s needs; a shrink who oozes both jargon and compassion; a gay male couple who meet each other as equals. A nonstop songfest with a message of tolerance, this fresh, slice-of-life musical celebrates the enduring power of familial love - and the changing definition of “family” - in the face of the AIDS tragedy. Directed by Andy Hall, Music Direction by Steve Whaley.A Dark, Dark House
, by Neil LaBute, November 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21. This absorbing puzzle play, concerning repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse and involving classically brutish brothers, takes place in a fancy institution for the dangerously self-medicated. A cruel father and a sexually predatory young man represent two dark forces. Their actions a ected two brothers di erently, but clearly left a dark dark imprint on their psyches. Helping to understand the psyche of the American male, this provocative and sexualized mystery plumbs adolescence in American lives: how it can be warped, stolen, frozen and willfully extended. What went on in that “dark dark house” shows the ripple and long-term e ects of family dysfunction and violence, that shared trauma can poison kinship and ricochet down to subsequent generations. Directed by Duane Jackson.The Last White Class
by Marge Piercy and Ira Wood, December 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19. The Last White Class: A Play about Neighborhood Terror is about an African American family in a white neighborhood during the introduction of bussing in Boston. In response to Boston’s public school desegregation by court order in 1974, this play is a tale of inner-city whites, many of Irish or Italian descent, who believe the institution of public education will cease to exist once “TLWC”--The Last White Class--ends its senior year. It is a tale about African Americans who were not prepared for the surge in hostility, about small pieces of neighborhood turf becoming battle elds, about impoverished participants in the social experiment, black and white. Told with humor, insight and passion, the story is larger than Boston, larger than bussing, helping us to understand what once seemed incomprehensible and to realize that to understand is indeed to forgive. Directed by Ralph HymanSordid Lives
by Del Shores, January 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30, winner of 14 Drama League Awards including Best Production, Sordid Lives is the story of unconditional love, acceptance and “coming out” in a Texas family, as they all converge for the matriarch’s funeral. The eccentric characters include: a mother who is wound-too-tight and in-denial over her gay son, a barfly/singer at the local watering hole, a cheating heart who’s wooden legs accidentally aid in the death of his mistress (the family matriarch), the cheating heart’s wife who tries her hand at revenge therapy inspired by “Thelma & Louise” along with her best friend. Led by comedic voices, their lives intertwine, giving each a new perspective, honesty and meaning. Directed by Andy Hall.Dying City
, by Christopher Shinn, February 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27. Dying City, a political play, is also a psychodrama about what Arthur Miller called the politics of the soul. It’s about public conscience and private grief, and real and symbolic catastrophes. A year after her husband’s death in Iraq, Kelly, a young therapist, confronts his identical-twin gay brother, Peter, who shows up at her apartment unannounced. Trying to make sense of what is left behind, Christopher Shinn’s remarkable tale of loss and how two very different people handle their grief is personal, intimate even, yet its themes could not be more all-encompassing and its emotional impact more a ecting. In this subtle and revealing play, Shinn is able to take the political and humanize it, transforming the study of daily news stories into a devastating statement on the unforeseen and often hidden consequences of war. Directed by Ralph Hyman.The Little Dog Laughed
, by Douglas Carter Beane, March 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27. Receiving a 2007 Tony Award Best Play nomination, The Little Dog Laughed follows the adventures of Mitchell Green, a movie star who could hit big if it weren’t for one teensy-weensy problem: his agent, Diane, can’t seem to keep him in the closet. Using satire’s risqué humor to reveal the deeply ingrained arti ce of Hollywood, the play’s deeper level shows the masks everyone wears, and the pain they hide. With twists and turns that keep audiences guessing, the production cleverly re ects America’s celebrity-obsessed culture, the price of ambition, the luxury tax on love, and the unexpected packaging in which dreams invariably arrive. Directed by Andy Hall.Summertree
by Ron Cowen, April 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24. Winner of Off-Broadway’s Vernon Rice Award and concerned with the problems and fears of young people in today’s uncertain world, this honest crucial play is both a joyous expression of the good things in life and a powerful indictment of war and the senseless waste which it can bring. Travel with our Young Man as he remembers his youth, his love, his terror, and the idiosyncrasies of living. This is a story that will question where we came from, where we’re going and most important where we are now and what do we truly value. There’s a beauty and elegance to the writing that elevates the play to the level of poetry. Cowen has distilled this bittersweet part of the human experience to its essence. Directed by Ralph Hyman.Glengarry Glen Ross
by David Mamet, May 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29. More pertinent than ever in today’s gravely compromised political atmosphere, this Pulitzer Prize winning tale of cutthroat competition among desperate real estate salesmen sticks gurative needles into businessmen and, by extrapolation, into American corporate practices. With obscenities as common as conjunctions, these hardened hucksters hustle worthless Florida land developments on the easily deluded. Insults rage. Tempers flare. Reveling in obscenity and scatology, the alpha-male animals of “Glengarry”, metaphor for the greedy in The American Corporation, practice the art of the deal, the hard sell, the scam, mesmerizing the honest and honorable public as easily as a viper does its prey. Directed by John Haman.
Ticket prices for musicals are $18, $14 for students and seniors age 65 and older. Tickets for dramas are $14, $10 for students and seniors. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Oliver!, Rent, and Jekyll & Hyde will also have Sunday matinees at 2:30. Season tickets for 12 full length productions are available for $150.