Ford’s Theatre’s next season and the impact of sequestration

Ford’s Theatre’s 2013-2014 season will feature two well-known plays, one Tony Award-winning musical, plus a musical adaptation of the Doris Betts short story “The Ugliest Pilgrim”, the company announced on Wednesday.

The adaptation is called Violet, and it tells the story of a woman who was disfigured in a childhood accident and who, in the early 1960s, travels South to be cured by a televangelist. She meets two soldiers – one white and the other African-American – becomes friends with them, and has experiences in the South far uglier than her scar.

Violet was a multiple Drama Desk Award nominee, and won the Drama Critics’ Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards as Best Musical. With a book and lyrics by Brian Crawley and music by Jeanine Tesori, Violet will run from January 24 to February 23 of next year. Jeff Calhoun, who received a Tony nomination for his direction of Newsies, will direct and choreograph.

The Ford’s season will kick off with the play that first put Moisés Kaufman and the Tectonic Theatre Project on the theatrical map: The Laramie Project. In 1998, Matthew Shepard, a gay man living in Laramie, Wyoming was brutally murdered. Kaufman and Tectonic investigated the circumstances of the murder, and made a play about what they found. If you expect to watch a tale of homophobia in a deep red State, think again: The Laramie Project is a complex, profoundly human story about generous people in terrifying circumstances. Signature’s Matt Gardiner will direct The Laramie Project, which will run from September 27 to October 27, 2013.

At Christmastime Ford’s will feature – you guessed it – A Christmas Carol, its annual production of Michael Wilson’s adaptation of the Charles Dickens story. Once again, Michael Baron will direct; once again, Ed Gero will play Scrooge. A Christmas Carol will run from November 21, 2013 to January 1, 2014.

Ford’s will close its season with The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, running from March 14 to May 17 of next year. This William Finn – Rachel Sheinkin musical, which won the best musical Tony in 2005, tells the story of a gaggle of socially awkward kids who are, natch, great spellers. Prepare for some spelling challenges yourself on the night that you go, as four people are taken from the audience each night to match wits with the spellers on stage who (hint) have all memorized the script). Peter Flynn directs this production, with musical direction by Christopher Youstra and choreography by Michael J. Bobbitt.

Advance sales begin, for groups and members, as early as Mary 20, 2013. More information here.

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As federally-ordered sequestration begins today, the Ford’s Theatre Society, which operates Ford’s Theatre in partnership with the National Park Service, assures the public that neither their current productions of Hello, Dolly! and One Destiny nor next season’s programming, including  and their popular “History on Foot” walking tours will be impacted by the automatic funding cuts.

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