Compass Rose’s 2016-2017 season will include an acclaimed musical, a play which became an acclaimed musical, perhaps the most acclaimed play of all time, and a play about an acclaimed twentieth-century stateswoman. Oh, yes, and a play about very, very bad manners.
The Annapolis company will begin its 5 show season with a reprise of the one-actor play Eleanor, which the late Rhoda Lerman derived from her novel of the same name. The play, which follows former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s reminiscence about the time her husband took her to Paris in the aftermath of the Great War, thus changing her feelings about war and also about her husband. Jean Stapleton, who frequently performed this piece, said that Lerman’s book is “truer to the great lady’s heart than any other account,” and John Nunemaker, writing for TheatreBloom about last year’s Compass Rose production, said Eleanor will “open your eyes and enable you to explore the woman behind the politics, behind the facade, and behind the husband to discover a powerful woman who made difficult choices based on life experiences, knowledge, and wisdom.” Eleanor will once again start Sue Struve and will run from September 23 to October 9 of this year.
Compass Rose tackles Shakespeare’s Hamlet next. The Bard’s most ambitious work tells the story of a young Prince of Denmark who, after a visit from his father’s ghost, determines that the present King of Denmark, Hamlet’s uncle and husband of Hamlet’s mother, murdered his predecessor, Hamlet’s father. Hamlet will run from October 21 to November 20, 2016.
Camelot, the Lerner and Loewe musical about a fictional Kingdom which existed at about the same time Hamlet’s did, is next up for Compass Rose. The musical, which in its original Broadway incarnation featured Richard Burton, Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet, tells the story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, from Arthur’s first meeting with the reluctant Guinevere to his downfall at the hands of Mordred. This four-time Tony winner will run from December 9, 2016 to January 22, 2017.
Compass Rose will follow Camelot with someplace decidedly less chivalrous: the sophisticated living room in which four characters deteriorate into the state of nature in Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage. The parents of two young boys who got into a conflict having dental casualties meet for a civilized discussion over cocktails, but as the cocktail consumption increases the quantum of civilization decreases. “[I]t quickly descends into the most raucous display of primitive aggression you’re likely to see among characters who undoubtedly pay full price for their clothes at Barneys,” the LA Times’ Charles McNulty says. God of Carnage runs from February 17 to March 26 of next year.
Another great Lerner and Lowe musical, My Fair Lady, found its origins in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, and the Shaw masterpiece will fill out the Compass Rose season from April 14 to May 21, 2017. Pygmalion is the story of a celebrated and arrogant linguist named Henry Higgins who, in order to win a bet, takes a Cockney flower girl into his home in order to teach her the King’s English. By insisting that she be treated as a human being instead of a lab animal, however, Eliza Doolittle disrupts Professor Higgins’ carefully ordered household, with riotous consequences.
Season tickets for the Compass Rose 2016-2017 season are not yet available.