To the delight of theater fans, the Asolo Repertory Theatre announced the lineup for the 2012-2013 season on Monday.The theatre’s 54th season features four Pulitzer Prize-winning productions, three Tony Award winners and one world premiere, all of which center around the theme of the American Character.
The plays slated for the 2012-2013 season are the inaugural lineup in a five-year project centered around the American Character theme, which the Asolo said “will examine and celebrate the extraordinary people, culture, history and experiences that make our country unique,” in a statement released on Monday.
“The 2012-2013 season will feature an all American Character season, and the following four seasons will feature select productions that explore, embody and attempt to define what it truly means to be American. The project will also increase the commitment to American playwriting, and Asolo Rep will produce at least one world premiere each season,” the statement said.
Appropriately enough, the season kicks off on Nov. 16 with 1776, an award-winning musical that celebrates the birth of the United States of America. Directed by Tony Award winner Frank Galati, the musical follows four of the nation’s Founding Fathers, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Richard Henry Lee and Thomas Jefferson, as they campaign to convince the members of the second Continental Congress to sign the Declaration of Independence and thus declare freedom from the British monarchy.
Kaufman and Hart’s 1937 Pulitzer Prize-winning play You Can’t Take it With You begins the 2013 repertory season. The iconic Depression-era production explores themes still relevant today such as class and commerce, family values and the pursuit of the American Dream.
The next production in the 2013 season will be David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Glengarry Glen Ross, a play that also explores the pursuit of the American Dream by delving into the cutthroat world of Chicago real estate agents in the 1980s. Carl Forsman, Artistic Director of New York’s Keen Company, will direct the production.
The third play in the 2013 lineup is Wendy Wasserman’s The Heidi Chronicles, which won the Pulitzer Prize and two Tony Awards (in the categories of Best Play and Featured Actor). Directed by Cleveland Play House Associate Art Director Laura Kepley, The Heidi Chronicles is a coming-of-age story about Heidi Holland, a successful art historian struggling to adjust to the changing times between the socially activist 1960s to the success-oriented 1980s.
“We will be examining every facet of the American character---the character of the nation, the character we each possess as individuals and the characters that populate the productions on our stages,” the Asolo Repertory Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director Michael Edwards said.
“The end goal of this project is to deepen our collective understanding of what it means to be living in this country at this point in time, and how we got here, and where we will go from here.”
Clybourne Park is the fourth play in the Asolo Rep’s 2013 lineup. The 2011 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, written by Bruce Norris, explores issues of racism and the American Dream. Its story is told from the perspective of the white family who sold their house to the African-American protagonists of Lorraine Hansberry’s critically-acclaimed play A Raisin in the Sun, which first premiered on Broadway in 1959.
Following Clybourne Park, the Asolo Repertory Theatre is presenting a world premiere as part of the American Character project on March 22, 2013. The selection is still to be announced.
“To ensure the highest quality of work is presented to the community, Asolo Rep is conducting a thorough search for just the right piece, and so cannot reveal the title at this time,” the Asolo said in its March 5 press release.
The final repertory production of the 2013 season will be Ken Ludwig’s murder-mystery comedy production The Game’s Afoot. Directed by Associate Artistic Director Greg Leaming, the play focuses on American actor William Gillette, who was made famous by his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in a 1916 silent film. When Gillette invites his co-stars to his Connecticut home for a Christmas Eve celebration, tragedy strikes in the form of a murder, and the actor takes on the persona of the famous fictional detective he portrayed in film.
The Asolo Rep’s summer lineup will also include Pulse, a new dance musical, as well as a final summer musical that will be announced at a later date.
Alongside the 2012-2013 season, the theater will also present UNPLUGGED, a festival of new play readings performed by the 2012-2013 acting company, and an FSU/Asolo Conservatory production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
For more information about production dates and ticketing for the Asolo Repertory Theatre’s 2012-2013 lineup, visit the theater’s official website.