The Arkansas Repertory Theatre announced its 36th season last night and it looks like a good one, with the Johnny Cash jukebox musical "Ring of Fire" opening the season on Sept. 16.
"A Christmas Carol: The Musical," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "The Wiz," "Next to Normal" and "A Loss of Roses" round out the season.
See the full release on the jump.
(Little Rock) — Arkansas Repertory Theatre (The Rep), the state’s largest professional
nonprofit theatre, is proud to announce its 36th MainStage Season. The new season has
been specially prepared for a newly renovated theatre, and will include new musicals
and dramas, plus timeless classics to form a season that exemplifies The Rep’s mission
of producing diverse work of the highest artistic standards for its Arkansas audience.
“A new season in a newly renovated theatre makes our 36th season a banner year for
The Rep, and we’re celebrating in a big way with an ambitious lineup of four musicals
and two American classics,” says Bob Hupp, Producing Artistic Director at The Rep.
“The season is tied together through a series of pairings: two plays from the American
canon, one a rare gem, the other a southern classic; two dynamic new musicals,
one about our state’s most popular musical icon, the other a Pulitzer Prize-winning
contemporary drama, and two big, family friendly, pull-out-all-the-stops musicals, one
a quintessential holiday feast, the other a Tony Award-winning fantasy. Together, this
season takes The Rep’s storytelling to a new level. We invite everyone to experience
our new season in our beautiful new theatre all year long.”
THE 2011-2012 MAINSTAGE SEASON
The opening production in The Rep’s newly renovated theatre had to be a special
celebration of our performing arts and music community. And what could be more
special than a musical journey alongside one of Arkansas’ most popular native sons.
From the songs and stories of a true legend comes a theatrical musical experience that
will lift the hearts of Rep audiences and stir the soul. Ring of Fire, September 16 —
October 9, 2011, is a journey into the heart and heartland of America, courtesy of one
of Arkansas’ most beloved musical poets - Johnny Cash.
Through words and music, Ring of Fire will bring to life the stories made famous in
Cash’s songs…songs about love and loss, success and failure, faith and redemption.
Ring of Fire takes audiences on a journey into the world of Johnny Cash with more
than 30 of the music legend’s tunes, including "Country Boy," "A Thing Called
Love," "Five Feet High and Rising," "Daddy Sang Bass," "Ring of Fire," "I Walk the
Line," "I've Been Everywhere," "The Man in Black" and his final hit song "Hurt."
“Johnny Cash continues to be Arkansas’ most popular musical son,” says Hupp. “His
music continues to haunt and inspire us, and Ring of Fire captures the essence of
Johnny Cash’s music even more than when this production was on Broadway. The
music in our production has been retooled to capture even more of the authentic Cash
sound and will feature talented musicians from Nashville and around the country.”
Created by Richard Maltby, Jr. from a concept by William Meade and featuring Jason
Edwards, who starred as Johnny Cash on Broadway in the only stage compilation of
his work approved by Cash himself, Ring of Fire will take audiences on a rousing
adventure with the strength, humor and downright honesty that made the “Man in
Black” one of the greatest songwriters and most revered storytellers in American music.
Audiences will laugh as they’ve never laughed before when The Second City Touring
Company loads up the tour bus and The Rep brings the funny October 12 — October
23, 2011. Hilarious, fast-paced and always topical, and highly interactive with priceless
audience interactions, The Second City has audiences rolling in the aisles all across
the country. No institution escapes the satiric eye of The Second City — from the
blowhards of the Beltway to the Hollywood elite.
“From John Belushi to Stephen Colbert, The Second City alumni define comedy in
America,” says Hupp. “You’ll want to be the first to check out the rising new stars on
their all-new tour.”
Next up is The Rep’s Young Artists’ Production, an annual performance by
The Rep’s SMTI theatre training program October 25 — November 5, 2011.
The most talented young artists in the state always deliver some of the most
feel good shows of the season. Conceived and directed by The Rep's Resident
Director and Director of Education, Nicole Capri, these are shows the whole
family will love.
“The Rep’s Young Artists have established themselves as a defining
characteristic of this theatre. Their enthusiasm and spirit leaps across the
footlights and combines with their amazing talent to create rousing and
unforgettable experiences,” says Hupp.
Just in time for Christmas, December 2 — December 25, 2011, Rep audiences
will enjoy all the nostalgia of the holidays wrapped up in this lively musical
retelling with unexpected Broadway flair. A Christmas Carol, The Musical will
surprise and delight those who are familiar with the original, while entertaining
the entire family with a fast-paced, fun and imaginative holiday classic they’ll
not soon forget.
In A Christmas Carol, The Musical, Charles Dickens’ classic gets reimagined
with the full Arkansas Repertory Theatre treatment audiences will remember
from past holiday extravaganzas like Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor
Dreamcoat, The King and I and Beauty and the Beast.
From the same Broadway artists that brought you “Beauty and the Beast”
and “The Little Mermaid,” “Ragtime” and “Seussical, The Musical,” A
Christmas Carol, The Musical is a classic holiday treat, now filled with
beautiful melodies by Alan Menken and memorable lyrics by Lynn Ahrens that
families will be singing all the way home.
“This family-friendly musical brings to life all the great characters from
Dickens’ novel and wraps it up in a joyous celebration of what the holiday spirit
is all about,” says Hupp. “Alan Menken’s music is a perfect complement to this
classic holiday story.”
Next in The Rep’s season is the 50th anniversary of a Pulitzer Prize-winning
novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, January 27 — February 12, 2012. Based on the
novel by Harper Lee with a script by Christopher Sergel, this compelling story
is told through the eyes of Scout, the tomboyish young daughter of Atticus
Finch, who is a small-town lawyer defending a black man in court.
To Kill a Mockingbird is at its heart a love story - a story about a father’s love
for his children, their love for him, and a love for the South in all its flaws. One
of the most significant stories of our time and a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel,
this timeless classic compels us to take an honest look at our nation’s past and
our moral responsibility to each other.
“I chose this play because it is Southern storytelling at its best,” says
Hupp. “One of the most popular productions from The Rep’s past history, this
all new production celebrates the 50th anniversary of Harper Lee’s novel and
captures the power of its relevance today.”
Just in time for spring, Rep audiences will be invited to “ease on down the road”
with one of Broadway’s most popular musicals, The Wiz, March 9 — April 1,
With music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls and story from a book by William F.
Brown, this funky musical adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s beloved classic “The
Wonderful Wizard of Oz” explodes onstage with Dorothy, her friends and her
little dog, too, in a vibrant fusion of ‘70s rock and Motown melodies.
From a Broadway smash in 1975 to a hit Hollywood movie in 1978 starring
Michael Jackson and Dianna Ross, The Wiz is a magical journey and beloved
story of courage, brains, heart and home that will delight the entire family.
“The Wiz is pure fun, with one of the most entertaining musical scores ever
composed,” says Hupp. “The Wiz is being rediscovered in theatres around the
country, and for good reason - it’s a thrilling treat for audiences and actors
Up next in The Rep’s season is a show Rolling Stone called "The best musical
of the season — by a mile.” LA Weekly said it was "that rarity of rarities: A
Broadway show that’s as good as its hype.” And The New York Times said “It is
much more than a feel-good musical. It is a feel-everything musical.”
Next to Normal is the winner of three Tony awards and a Pulitzer Prize. Now
one of the most talked about shows on Broadway will be produced for Arkansas
audiences at The Rep May 4 — May 20, 2012.
With music by Tom Kitt and lyrics by Brian Yorkey combining for a thrilling
contemporary rock score, Next to Normal is an emotional powerhouse about a
dysfunctional family trying to take care of themselves and each other. Winner
of three 2009 Tony Awards including Best Musical Score and the 2010 Pulitzer
Prize, Next to Normal was also chosen as “one of the year’s ten best shows”
by critics around the country including The Los Angeles Times, The Washington
Post, Rolling Stone and The New York Times.
“I saw this musical three times during its Broadway run. I have never seen
another play as many times,” says Hupp. “Rarely have I been so moved by
an experience in the theatre. The passion, pathos and power of this play is
“Getting the rights to Next to Normal when it was still on national tour was a
great coup for The Rep and Arkansas theatre lovers,” Hupp continues. “We look
forward to staging this Pulitzer prize-winning musical for our audiences in the
Closing out The Rep’s season June 15 — July 1, 2012, is a very special treat
by the Pulitzer-prize winning author of Picnic and Bus Stop. A Loss of Roses,
a little-known William Inge masterpiece, bravely tells the story of two women
struggling to make their lives bearable in a small Kansas town during the Great
Helen is a devout widow who cherishes the memory of her heroic husband
above all else, even as her grown son, Kenny, struggles to fill his shoes and
win his mother’s love. Lila is a beautiful but emotionally insecure actress
who arrives on their doorstep without a job or direction, but with a lifetime of
baggage. When Lila moves in, a love triangle is created that can only end in
heartbreak when someone must break free — for love, from love, or both.
Penned in the intimate style of Tennessee Williams (who was his mentor) but
with William Inge’s graceful insight into the lives of broken families, A Loss
of Roses is a bittersweet romance about the loss of innocence which garnered
a young Warren Beatty a Tony award nomination in the 1959 Broadway
“Join us as we unearth a rare American classic,” says Hupp. “Written by one of
our country’s leading playwrights, William Inge, our production will be created
by leading theatre artists from across the country who are coming to Arkansas
Repertory Theatre for the first time.”
“We are in for a special treat with our season closer,” Hupp continues. “This is a
unique experience we are rarely afforded in theatre — the opportunity to shine a
light on a rare gem of a play and create it anew for modern audiences.”
In addition to The Rep’s MainStage productions, educational work and outreach
programs fill The Rep’s calendar.
The extremely popular Summer Musical Theatre Intensive (SMTI)
workshops for young artists will be held July 10 — August 6, 2011. Young
artists ages 16 — 23 will workshop a production from July 10 — July 23 and
perform their show on July 23. Ages 10 — 15 will workshop from July 24 —
August 6 and take the stage on August 6.
Hundreds of local young artists will audition April 1 — April 2, 2011, at
Arkansas Repertory Theatre, 601 Main Street. Auditions may be scheduled by
Led by Nicole Capri, The Rep’s Resident Director and Director of Education,
the SMTI program continues to grow. “We offer these young artists a
professional musical theatre experience where they work closely with theatre
professionals to hone their craft,” Capri says.
Season Subscriptions are on sale now and range from $180 - $260 a season (a
savings of up to $130 over single ticket prices), making subscribing to The Rep
the best way to get the best seats at the best price ahead of sellout shows.
Call The Rep’s Box Office at (501) 378-0405 or toll free 866-6THEREP for
more information on Season Subscriptions. Single ticket sales open to the public
in August 2011.
About the Arkansas Repertory Theatre
Founded in 1976, Arkansas Repertory Theatre is the state’s largest nonprofit
professional theatre company. A member of the League of Resident Theatres
(LORT D), The Rep has produced more than 280 productions, including 40
world premieres, in its historic building in downtown Little Rock. Producing
Artistic Director Robert Hupp leads a resident staff of designers, technicians
and administrators in the creation of seven or more productions for an annual
audience in excess of 70,000 for MainStage and SecondStage productions,
educational programming and touring. The Rep produces works that range
from contemporary comedies and dramas to world premieres and the classics of
dramatic literature. For more information, visit www.therep.org.