The Kennedy Center today announced an ambitious sixteen-production schedule which will feature the return of Ireland’s Druid Theatre, a festival of new Nordic plays, and six touring productions including the breakout Broadway hits War Horse and The Book of Mormon.
The season opens with three plays from famed Irish playwright Tom Murphy, all produced by Druid Theatre, which famously produced last year’s The Cripple of Innishmaan at the Kennedy Center and Penelope at Studio. Famine is set in the West Ireland village of Glanconnor in 1846; it shows a community facing starvation when the second crop of potatoes failed. A Whistle in the Dark, set a hundred and twenty years later, shows an Irish family in economic exile in England, facing the challenges of living in an alien city. And in Conversations on a Homecoming, set ten years after that, a man returns from New York, where he has been working as an actor, to his small-town Irish home. Famine runs on October 17 of this year; Whistle on the 18th; and Conversations on the 19th, and all three run again on the 20th.
At the same time, audiences will be able to enjoy a four-day production of Hugh Masekela’s Songs of Migration, which uses African music, dance and history to tell the story of the great African migrations. James Ngcobo will direct this production, which runs from October 17 to the 20th.
The Kennedy Center will host the National Theatre of Great Britain’s touring production of War Horse on October 23rd through November 11th. The play, which Stephen Spielberg has made into a movie of the same name, tells the story of a boy whose horse is sold into the service of the French cavalry during World War I and who decides to slip behind enemy lines to rescue him. War Horse features life-sized puppets created by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company.
Frank Wildhorn’s Jekyll and Hyde will enjoy a six-day run between November 20 and 25. This adaptation of the old Robert Lewis Stephenson story about a man who distills the essence of evil in a liquid which he then drinks for experimental purposes is by multiple Oscar-winner Leslie Bricusse, and will feature Tony nominee (for Rock of Ages) Constantine Maroulis as the title character(s).
The KC’s holiday show is Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, the oft-told tale of two army buddies who come to Vermont and help save their old Commanding Officer’s inn by putting on a show. White Christmas, which will run in the Opera House, will begin on December 11 and end on January 6 of 2013.
As an alternative (or a supplement), you may wish to go to Million Dollar Quartet, which imagines the legendary (but, sadly, unrecorded) night when Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley met by accident in a Memphis storefront studio. Signature’s Eric Schaeffer directs this production, which features a book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux and songs by – well, you know who they’re by. It will run from December 18. 2012 to January 6, 2013.
The Kennedy Center will run its 5-play Nordic Cool festival between February 19 and March 17 of next year. Featured will be The Royal Dramatic Theatre (of Stockholm)’s stage production of Igmar Bergman’s film Fanny and Alexander; The Warmblooded, from Finland’s Tampere Workers Theatre, observes a once-prosperous farming family now forced to live destitute underneath an overpass; Ibsen’s The Wild Duck, produced by the National Theatre of Oslo, Norway, is the story of a man whose wife is having an affair with his best friend’s father and whose daughter is going blind; Bastards – A Family Saga, which is a collaboration between the Icelandic theater collective Vesturport, Reykjavik City Theatre and Malmö City Theatre to adapt Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, and the Norwegian Bird in Magic Rain with Tears, which tells the intertwining stories of a conceptual artist whose son has died, a businessman with a terminal illness, and a male prostitute trying to recover his past. The Kennedy Center did not announce specific dates for these five plays by press time.
A Ferenc Molnár play – his Husbands and Lovers is currently playing at Washington Stage Guild – kicks off the Kennedy Center spring calendar when the Kennedy Center mounts its own production of The Guardsman, a laugh-filled tragedy about a paranoid husband so convinced that his wife would leave him if the opportunity arose that he disguises himself as a guardsman and attempts to seduce her. The direction is by Gregory Mosher; Richard Nelson (who wrote Tynan, the one-actor play about the eponymous critic which ran at Studio a couple of years ago) did the translation. It will run between May 25 and June 23 of next year.
Roundabout Theatre’s revival of the Cole Porter classic Anything Goes will grace the Opera House stage between June 11 and July 7 of 2013. The Broadway production won three Tonys in 2011, including Best Revival and Best Choreography.
The Kennedy Center closes its season with another multiple Tony-winner – Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone’s The Book of Mormon, which will run from July 9 to August 18 of next year. The Kennedy Center cautions that this show “contains explicit language”, but, regardless, will undoubtedly have scoffing up tickets early for this fresh from Broadway tour.
The highly successful Theater for Young Audiences programs continue next season with three new commissioned works: The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg, adapted by Tom Isbell from the popular Rodman Philbrick book, and Jason Invisible, adapted by Laurie Brooks from a novel by Han Nolan, a co-commission with the Kennedy Center and VSA. The Kennedy Center teamed with Marionetas de la Esquina from Mexico City to bring in a new twist to their puppet production of Sleeping Beauty for its U.S. premiere.
In addition to its busy season on its main stages, the Kennedy Center will continue many of the features its patrons have come to expect including the Page-to-Stage Festival, which will celebrate developing work between September 1 and 3 of this year; Barbara Cook’s Spotlight, which will feature cabaret performances by Maureen McGovern on October 12, 2012r, Donna Murphy on November 9, Judy Kuhn on December 7, Terri White on January 25, 2013 and Adam Pascal on May 10; and the interactive murder-mystery Shear Madness, seemingly ensconced in perpetuity in the Theater Lab.
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