For its 11th season, Tyson’s 1st Stage will have a war story, a story about the aftermath of a war, a story about a tragic war fought in a high school, a story about a man returning from prison life — and a story about a wedding. Plus: a festival of solo performances.
The 1st Stage season begins with Alan Ayckbourne’s Hero’s Welcome, the story of a genuine war hero who returns to his home town with his young wife and proceeds — unwittingly — to turn everything upside down. Old scores are settled, lives are unsettled, and settled assumptions are disrupted. Ayckbourne’s “talent for recording the wanton damage we do to each other, whether with a smiling face or a savage sneer…remains undiminished,” says The Guardian’s Michael Billington. From September 6 to October 7, 2018.
For the holiday season, 1st Stage gives us a holiday story: A Civil War Christmas, a meditation by the Baltimore-based and Pulitzer-winning (for How I Learned to Drive) playwright Paula Vogel, on our most caustic, tragic and costly (so far) war. Abraham Lincoln appears; so does an African-American soldier who fought for the Union and whose wife was kidnapped by Confederates; so do Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant; so does a young Confederate boy who vows to become a marauder; so does the famed seamstress Elizabeth Keckley, who dressed the First Lady; and so does the young girl she dreams about. “With a deftness that is surprising, given the breadth of experience she has chosen to include in her panoramic view of American society,” Charles Isherwood of the New York Times wrote, “Ms. Vogel links these stories together cleanly and efficiently.” From November 29 to December 23 of this year.
Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brothers Size opens 2019 for 1st Stage. Ogun Size, a good and hardworking man of the Louisiana Bayou, reunites with his troubled younger brother, just released from prison. And then we are somewhere else: a place of poetry, magic, and the relentless spirits of West Africa. “One of McCraney’s special talents is his ability to convey the absolute depth of emotion without feeling sentimental, maudlin, or forced,” said DCTS’ Debbie Minter Jackson about a 2008 production at Studio. “Instead, the play gets to the heart of what brotherly love is all about, whether rooted as family, or grafted from intense shared experience.” From January 31 to February 24, 2019.
Coincident with the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre in Littleton, Colorado, 1st Stage will produce Columbinus, Steven Karam’s (The Humans) and the late P.J. Paparelli’s examination of the lives and culture in which this massive tragedy occurred. “What’s most powerful in this show — on page and on the stage — is that we see the degrees of alienation, insecurity and rage that lives in some degree in all the kids we meet,” says Kerry Reid of the Chicago Tribune. “Whether dealing with offhand epithets, physical assaults, or simply feeling out of place in the social-pitfall crucible of the lunchroom, they struggle to understand the seismic emotional changes of adolescence.” (To read DCTS’ interview with Paparelli, in which he discusses Columbinus, among other subjects, click here.) Columbinus will run from March 28 to April 20 of next year.
The subscription production portion of 1st Stage’s schedule will conclude with Carson McCullers’ The Member of the Wedding, which she adapted from her novel of the same name. This is the story of a twelve-year-old girl who, having spent her life isolated from her family (her mother is dead; her father is distant), has seized on her brother, freshly returned from Alaska, and his fiancée as her new family. Set in 1946, The Member of the Wedding is “a moving and thoughtful look back at a time long gone,” according to Broadway World’s Frank Benge. (The first production featured a young Julie Harris as the 12-year-old girl.) From May 9 to June 2, 2019.
1st Stage will cap things off with its annual Logan Festival of Solo Performances. Although the company has not yet announced either the shows or the performers, it will be producing the Festival from July 11 to 21 of next year.
For tickets to 1st Stage’s season, click here.