NextStop Theatre Company has offered professional theater to Herndon, VA and environs for five years, but for years before that the theater’s venue was home to one of the best community theaters in the DMV, the Elden Street Players. Thus the company has decided to kick off its sixth professional season (and the 30th season of theater in the space) by reuniting artists of the past and present in a production of the French musical Amour.
This is the story of an unassuming clerk in the period immediately after the Second War who, for no apparent reason, suddenly acquires the power to walk through walls. He uses this power to rob from the rich, give to the poor, and court the abused wife of the town prosecutor. Talkin’ Broadway’s Matthew Murray calls Amour a “delightful little jewel box of a musical [which]…may enchant audiences for a long time to come.” Amour will run from August 3-26, 2018.
The NextStop regular season will start with a visit to the more recent past; a production of The Wedding Singer. This is a musical based on the 1998 Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore movie about living, singing and loving in the 1980s. Robbie is a man whose sad story is that he sings at other people’s weddings only to be dumped by his prospective bride at his own, largely because of his limited income-producing skills. He falls for a sympathetic friend, only to find that she is engaged to a Wall Street tyro. But — there’s a happy ending, which you’ll have to see to learn. Quaynews’ Alicia Boukesi notes that “The sound is so eighties, it feels like you’ve been transported back to Boy George’s heyday.” The Wedding Singer, which Producing Artistic Director Evan Hoffman will direct, will run from September 13 to October 14 of this year.
Next up for NextStop will be East of Eden, the theatrical adaptation of the John Steinbeck novel which recasts the Book of Genesis in California, in the early part of the 20th century. Adam Trask, gifted with a large inheritance from his sketchy father, settles in the Salinas Valley with his pregnant wife. After the birth of twins, she leaves Adam (shooting him in the shoulder as a parting gift) and sets up shop as a prostitute. The boys grow up to grapple with good and evil. The Chicago Tribune’s Chris Jones calls Frank Galati’s adaptation “a significant achievement and…not to be missed.” East of Eden runs from October 25 to November 18, 2018.
NextStop kicks off the new year with [title of show], a good musical about two friends writing a horrible musical. Hunter and Jeff (Hunter Bell wrote the book and Jeff Bowen the music and lyrics, so it’s a little autobiographical) have three weeks to put together a production for the New York Music Festival, and so, inspired by such super-flops as Henry, Sweet Henry, Ruthless! and Bagels and Yox, they do what they can. DCtS’ Jayne Blanchard, viwing the 2010 Signature Theatre production, noted that “it will definitely induce looped swoons in diehard Broadway geeks” in this review. From January 3 to 27 of next year.
In February, NextStop will stage the critically acclaimed and Pulitzer-nominated drama The Wolves, which examines the lives of female high school soccer players as they prepare for a big match. DCTS’ Roy Maurer, who saw a Studio Theatre production of this play earlier this year, praised “the script’s latticed, intimate beauty full of Easter egg clues for the wary” and noted that “[t]hree-quarters of the way through it, I was thinking ‘this is a good play, it’s fun and engaging, but I don’t know why it would be shortlisted for a Pulitzer (2017),’ and then before long, imperceptibly, it crept up on me that I was witnessing something impressive and wonderful, honest and heart-rending too” in this review. From February 7-24, 2019.
All right. Are you ready to see something “shocking and obscene”? Something the Daily Express called an “unpleasant play which might the tickle the palate of certain playgoers who enjoy the decadent”? Something that was almost banned in Britain by the Lord Chamberlain? Admittedly, all this happened ninety-three years ago, but it happened to No?l Coward’s Fallen Angels nonetheless. Julia and Jane are at loose ends because their husbands are out on a golfing expedition when they each get a postcard from Maurice, who was lover to each of them before they got married. He’s back in London and would like to visit with them. They get nervous, since they’re not sure they can resist his charms. (Hint, guys: Maurice doesn’t play golf). Also, they get drunk. And jealous. And suspicious. NextStop’s Managing Director Abigail Fine will direct this production, which will run from March 14 to April 7 of next year.
Having opened the regular season with a musical based on a movie, NextStop will close its season with another — the greatest movie musical of all time, according to AFI (which also rated it the fifth-best movie of all time). Singin’ in the Rain is the story of a silent film star and his leading lady who have a disastrous time of it in their company’s first talkie until they turn it into a musical and find a chorus girl whose voice they can substitute for that of the screeching leading lady. Hoffman will direct this production, which will run from May 23 to June 23, 2019.