by Robert Bell
The folks at The Arkansas Repertory Theatre announced their 2012-2013 season yesterday afternoon to a crowd of 100 or so theatre lovers at the recently renovated venue. Some of the highlights include the massively popular musical comedy "Avenue Q," Arthur Miller's timeless "Death of a Salesman" and a musical version of "Treasure Island" that will have its world premiere at The Rep.
Artistic Director Bob Hupp seemed very excited about the upcoming season, which kicks off Sept. 7 with Shakespeare's "Henry V." It's the first time The Rep has produced one of the Bard's historical plays. Hupp mentioned seeing Kenneth Brannagh in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of the play in 1984. "It's one of my personal favorites, and one of the most dramatic ever to live on stage," Hupp said.
One title that might not be as familiar to drama buffs is "Gee's Bend," which runs from Jan. 25-Feb. 10. Written by Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder and directed by Gilbert McCauley, it's a story based on the lives and families of a group of women in a sewing circle of Gee's Bend, Ala. Their strikingly colorful and celebrated quilts have been exhibited at some of the top museums in the country. Hupp said The Rep is working to borrow some of the quilts to display during the production run of "Gee's Bend."
Hupp said he's been trying to get the rights to "Avenue Q" for about six years. The musical puppet comedy ranks 21st among the longest running Broadway shows, and is still a huge draw in New York. It's an adult-oriented spoof of "Sesame Street."
"And I want to make clear that it is an adult spoof," Hupp said. "Yes, there is some puppet sex in the show," he conceded to the giggles of many in the crowd. But he added that the play makes some "very heartwarming" points about people and all the ways we interact with each other. "Avenue Q" will run from June 7-30, 2013.
A press release with the the full season is available here.