Next season at NextStop Theatre Company will feature a whole lotta musicals, as well as some farce, an adaptation of a literary classic, and Katori Hall’s celebrated fiction about Martin Luther King, The Mountaintop.
The season begins with a show which is more revue than musical — Beehive, The 60s Musical. This show, which Larry Gallagher put together, celebrates the women rockers of that decade and their music. “Some spoken lines introduce songs and personages, covering costume changes and allowing the cast of seven women to catch their breath. After that it’s almost all singing and dancing, with an emphasis on knocking each individual song out of the park,” explains Basil Considine of the Twin Cities Arts Reader. “This isn’t to say that the show functions as an extended cover band concert, slavishly recreating a specific song. Many of the performances mix a strong personal stamp with their grounding in the original recording artist performance.” From August 22 to September 22, 2019; Monique Midgette directs.
After that, NextStop takes on one of the great classics of English literature — Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. But this isn’t your parent’s Pride and Prejudice (or even entirely Jane Austen’s). It’s Kate Hamill’s rollicking version, in which Mr. Darcy’s reluctant courtship of the acid-tongued Lizzy Bennet is interspersed with dance breaks, pratfalls and cast doubling. “It hasn’t met a rib it can’t tickle,” observes Alexis Soloski of the New York Times, but she warns, “purists might want to keep some lavender drops handy.” Megan Behm directs this play, which runs from October 3 to 27 of this year.
NextStop will start the new year with Katori Hall’s Olivier-Award-winning The Mountaintop, which imagines an encounter between Dr. Martin Luther King and a young woman with a surprisingly large store of knowledge in the Motel Lorraine in Memphis. “The interactions of that night are stunning,” says Joanne Ostrow of the Denver Post. From January 9 to February 2, 2020; Kevin McAllister will direct.
Baltimore County native Adam Gwon’s musical Ordinary Days is next. It is the story of two couples, living through some days that are not entirely ordinary. Deb, a high-strung overachiever who has lost all the research she needs for her thesis on Virginia Woolf on the subway, meets Warren, the slacker who has found it. And Jason is head-over-heels in love with Claire, who doesn’t respond fully; we learn the terrible reason why at the end. “I loved every minute,” said DCTS’ Jon Boughton in this review of a 2015 production at Round House. “Ordinary Days is a delight. Don’t miss this one.” Jay Brock will direct this production, which will run from February 20 to March 15 of next year.
If you’ve gotten jaded by all the good theater in the DC area, get ready for some terrible theater, done by the cast and crew of Nothing On, the dreadful play-within-a-play in the fabulous Michael Frayn farce, Noises Off. In it, a dyspeptic, dysfunctional, dipsomaniacal touring group attempts to stage a spectacularly mediocre farce while their relationships disintegrate into — well, into farce. “Both showbiz insiders and innocents will delight in this delirious depiction of backstage dramatics and the scarcely contained hysteria that goes into the making of live theater,” said Jayne Blanchard, reviewing a 2017 production at Baltimore’s Everyman Theatre. NextStop Producing Artistic Director Evan Hoffman will take on the challenge of directing this one. From April 2-26, 2020.
NextStop will close its season with the musical which first brought Lin-Manuel Miranda to international attention — the Tony-winning In the Heights. This is the story (book by Quiara Alegria Hudes) of three hot July days in the Latin community of Washington Heights where vivid characters struggle with ambition, failure, heartbreak and hope. In this review, DCTS’ Roy Maurer called the musical “spirited and joyful” and judged it to be “infectious [and] warm-hearted.” In the Heights will run May 28 to June 21 of next year; Elena Velasco will direct.
NextStop will be announcing a three-production season for young audiences later in the year.