Plays by or about Jesus Christ, St. Thomas More, Johannes Gutenberg, Nora Ephron and a talking dog characterize NextStop’s 2014-2015 season, but first, the young Herndon, Virginia company will collaborate with Forum Theatre to present Gidion’s Knot, runner-up for the prestigious Steinberg Award as best new play of 2012.
Gidion’s Knot is a play about the nightmarish story a child writes in school, which thereafter becomes a nightmare for his family and the school. DCTS, in this review of a production at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival, called Gidion’s Knot “as sad as life itself, and as funny and startling as well.” The play will start in Forum’s Silver Spring theater in July, and move to NextStop’s stage in Herndon, VA between August 28 and September 14, 2014. Cristina Alicea, Producing Artistic Director of Vermont Stage, will direct this piece.
A.J. Gurney’s much-loved play about a man, his wife and his (talking) dog takes the NextStop stage on October 23 of this year. Sylvia, directed by Doug Wilder, “is so full of theatrical intelligence and writerly skill that it consistently pleases, even when, like a dog, it makes a slight mess,” which is what Vincent Canby of the New York Times said about it when it was first mounted in 1995. “Not since ‘Abie’s Irish Rose’ has there been a play as critic-proof as Sylvia, at least for anyone who has ever owned a dog, loved a dog, wanted to wring a dog’s neck or wished the dog would take a long weekend,” Mr. Canby opined. Sylvia will run through November 16.
NextStop will start the new year with Scott Brown’s and Anthony King’s Gutenberg! The Musical!, a musical not so much about Johannes Gutenberg as it is about two young men trying to sell a musical about Johannes Gutenberg. “The show, a recent off-Broadway hit, is clever from start to finish,” DCTS’ Steve McKnight wrote in this 2008 review of a production done at Landless. “Almost every number has a nice hammy ending which earns mass audience laughter.” Gutenberg! The Musical!, which Artistic Director Evan Hoffman will direct, will run from January 8 to February 1, 2015.
On February 12, NextStop will produce Love, Loss and What I Wore, Nora and Delia Ephron’s adaptation of the Ilene Beckerman book. Love, Loss is a pastiche of stories about powerful moments in the lives of women, and what they wore to them. “If there are chick flicks and chick lit — derogatory though some might find those terms to be — ‘Love, Loss, and What I Wore’ should clearly be classified as chick legit,” Charles Isherwood of the New York Times wrote. “…Breezy and perfectly enjoyable for the stray men in the room, it’s like a big bowl of buttered popcorn (but calorie-free!) for the women who can share deeply in the particulars of experience dissected and discussed.” Love, Loss runs through March 1 of next year. Lorraine Magee directs.
NextStop will follow this up with the Rice-Webber supermusical Jesus Christ Superstar between March 26 and April 19, 2015. Danny Tippett directs this early rock-opera examination of the final days of the Christ from the standpoint of, among others, Jesus, Judas, and Mary Magdalene.
The debate about Jesus moves from the theological to the political in NextStop’s final offering, Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons. Under the direction of Gloria DuGan, NextStop will examine the tentative, temporizing, but ultimately resolute opposition of Sir Thomas More to King Henry VIII’s anti-Catholic decrees. From May 28 to June 14 of next year.