Next Season – plan for big times ahead.
Washington area theaters have apparently resolved to present a full slate of shows in 2009/2010, notwithstanding serious and worldwide economic difficulties which have reportedly reduced grants and donations. To date, 23 theatres have announced 107 new productions for the season, including some of the most dynamic and sought-after shows currently in circulation.
For example, the Kennedy Center’s pre-holiday production will be Tracy Letts’ much-acclaimed August: Osage County. Signature is doing both [title of show] and Sweeney Todd . Arena will present Light in the Piazza, which played briefly to packed houses at the Kennedy Center in 2007.
This season also presents Washington audiences with restagings of shows they liked before and reappearances from our favorite playwrights. MetroStage will present its fabulously successful Musical of Musicals: the Musical. Rep Stage will stage Eric Overmyer’s On the Verge, or The Geography of Yearning (April 14 – May 2) and Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?, both of which played successfully at Arena recently. (The Goat also enjoyed a successful run at Annapolis’ Bay Theatre Company). Helen Hayes laureate Andrew Long will take on nearly three dozen roles in I Am My Own Wife at Signature, which played at Olney in 2007 and the Warner in 2005, both to critical and popular acclaim. Monologist extraordinaire Josh Kornbluth appears at Theater J to give us Andy Warhol: Good for Jews?, and Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind makes another appearance at Woolly Mammoth, as does Mike Daisey, who follows his successful How Theater Failed America and If You See Something Say Something with The Last Cargo Cult.
Some companies are undertaking a bit of role reversal next season. The Shakespeare Theatre is producing a rarity – a new play, The Liar. Ford’s Theatre, usually committed to historically based plays, will give us Little Shop of Horrors. Scena Theatre, which has most recently featured plays from 1950s-era existentialists, will be staging Connor McPherson’s Dublin Carol, seen last Fall at Quotidian.
On the other hand, some cutting-edge companies will be going a little old-school. Studio will be doing The Solid Gold Cadillac, a 1953 Kaufman & Teichman comedy. Theater J will present Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers and Washington Shakespeare Theater will be doing Moliere’s The Miser and Ludlam’s Camille. Washington Shakespeare’s biggest challenge, however, may be a planned production of Ben Hecht’s and Charles MacArthur’s The Front Page, a comedy about a white man who has killed an African-American policeman. No dates have been announced for this production.
You can find the list of announced 2009/2010 productions in our Season at a Glance section, with updates coming throughout the summer.