Olney Theatre Center (OTC) will present a robust 83rd season, making space for 18 plays, concerts and presentations, even as renovations continue to the intimate Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab.
“At times of crisis, we turn to storytellers for inspiration, comfort, and courage,” said Jason Loewith, now in his eighth season as OTC’s Artistic Director. “And nothing heals a community faster than coming together to listen to them. So I’ve programmed a 20/21 season that features the country’s very best storytellers speaking to this moment with urgency and wild optimism: a world premiere musical with Broadway ambitions, a radically-inclusive adaptation of a classic, regional premieres of some of the most relevant works of the past few seasons, the National Players’ first majority POC tour, and singular artists tackling well-known works. Add to that the multi-million dollar renovation of the Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab, and you see a newly-energized regional theater roaring back, eager to fill the growing hunger in our communities for communal experience.”
The Humans (September 2 – October 4)
Directed by Aaron Posner
This play won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Play for Stephen Karam, Olney’s production was in rehearsal at the time of the coronavirus shutdown.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (October 7 – Nov 8)
Directed by Johanna McKeon
Stars Mason Alexander Park in the title role, which he performed during the recent national Broadway tour. Johanna McKeon, also a veteran of the tour, directs a new version that will bring the seedy Bilgewater’s Restaurant to the Olney stage.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (November 6, 2020 – January 3, 2021)
Marcia Milgrom Dodge returns to direct Disney’s Beauty and the Beast starring local breakout star Jade Jones as Belle and Evan Ruggerio, a one-legged tap-dancer as the Beast.
A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas (November 27 – December 27, 2020)
Adapted by Paul Morella
The 11th edition of Paul Morella’s solo version of the Dickens classic, it is planned, will open the newly renovated Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab.
A.D. 16 (February 5 – March 7, 2021)
Directed by Stephen Brackett
A World Premiere musical with lyrics by Cinco Paul and book by Bekah Brunstetter. This whimsical musical asks, “What if your first crush really was perfect?” The result is the delightfully witty, sublimely inspiring story of teenaged Mary Magdalene, who falls in love with the rebellious boy next door… who just happens to be a carpenter named Jesus. A co-production with ZACH Theatre , A.D. 16 is being looked at for a possible Broadway run.
Dance Nation (March 3 – April 4, 2021)
by Clare Barron
Directed and choreographed by Paige Hernandez
Featuring Megan Graves, Shubhangi Kuchibhotla and Tracy Lynn Olivera
Winner of the Relentless Award and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The pre-teen dance team from Liverpool, Ohio is primed for competition: with the other teams at the regionals in Philly, with each other, and with the doubts and demons inside themselves. In this show, the stakes are much higher than just a first place trophy. Lives are at stake, future happiness lays in the balance, emerging sexuality strikes with the power of a thousand lightning bolts, and every interaction in the tight-knit group is suffused with threat, risk, and the urgency of adolescence. Adult actors of all ages portray the girls (and one boy) amidst their tween confusion and as their future adult-selves in a dream play with moments of true terror, complete with fangs, blood, and wild, stylized, dance.
Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express (April 7 – May 9, 2021)
Directed by Vincent Lancisi
Everyman Theatre’s production was adapted by local playwright Ken Ludwig. The Orient Express travels from Istanbul to Calais, carrying its passengers in the lap of 1930s luxury, but on this trip there’s been a murder and everyone’s a suspect with opportunity, motive and an alibi. Fortunately, Hercule Poirot, the world’s greatest detective is onboard to solve the mystery before the train reaches Belgrade. This was a box office favorite for Everyman Theatre last winter.
The Thanksgiving Play (April 28 – May 30, 2021)
by Larissa FastHorse
Directed by Raymond O. Caldwell
Features Parker Drown, David Schlumpf and Dani Stoller
Larissa FastHorse’s groundbreaking satire on the politics of representation throws together the overly-ambitious drama teacher, her yoga-bro actor friend, a history teacher with playwriting aspirations and an “ethnically-ambiguous” L.A. actress to devise their Thanksgiving play, only to find themselves quickly sabotaged by myth, confounded by history and drawn into a hysterical project of dramatic pretzel-twisting. FastHorse is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of the Lakota people, and The Thanksgiving Play made her the first Native American playwright ever to make American Theater’s annual list of “most produced plays.”
Meredith Willson’s The Music Man (June 4 – July 11, 2021)
co-directed by Michael Baron and Alexandria Wailes
A co-production with the Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma features a bi-lingual deaf/hearing cast and production team.
Concerts, TYA, National Players
Two Pianos Four Hands (June 25-July 18, 2021)
Originally scheduled for this season, look for this special event next summer.
The Applause Concert Series, created by Associate Artistic Director for Music Theatre Christopher Youstra. The series begins with If/Then (Book & Lyrics by Brian Yorkey; Music by Tom Kitt) which, after previewing at the National Theatre, ran for a year on Broadway in 2014-15. This concert version will be presented on Friday, March 12, 2021.
The Applause series enters the world of developmental musicals with a concert presentation of the new work Lautrec at the St. James (Music by Julianne Wick; Book and Lyrics by John Dietrich) on Saturday, April 17, 2021. In this new musical set in March, 1899, French artist Henri de Toulous- Lautrec, passes out in a gutter and is kidnapped. He awakes in the Chateau St. James, an asylum. Triggered by his imagination and a need to understand his downfall, the St. James continuously transforms around Lautrec into an intoxicating and provocative world—one that inspires yet may destroy him.
Finally, the Applause Series, which up to now has been an exclusively one-night-only program, expands to present three concert performances of the classic She Loves Me (Book by Joe Masteroff; Music by Jerry Bock; Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. Based on a play by Miklos Laszio) over the weekend of July 16-17, 2021.
OTC’s Theater for Young Audience Series returns for a fifth year.
Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great (presented by ArtsPower) on November 21-22. 2020. The series is rounded out by two productions by TheatreWorks USA: Pout Pout Fish on January 16-17, 2021 and Doctor De Soto and Other Stories, based on the works of William Steig on March 20-21, 2021.
The National Players, under the artistic direction of Jason King Jones, celebrates its 72nd tour with its first company comprised of a majority of people of color for productions of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Each National Players production will present Pay-What-You-Can performances before heading out on the road.
Season subscriptions become available April 15, 2020.