The American Century Theatre, the Arlington, VA, company devoted to what it decides are 20th-century "American classics" -- both the rarely-revived and the better-known -- offers a season of four works, beginning with the George S. Kaufman-Arthur Sullivan satire of Tinseltown, Hollywood Pinafore, or The Lad Who Loved a Salary.
Jack Marshall directs the 1940 musical spoof of the Kaufman conceit ("with apologies to W.S. Gilbert"), with music direction by Thomas D. Fuller, and choreography by Stefan Sittig. Performances are Sept. 14-Oct. 14.
The 2000-2001 season also includes:
• Lorraine Hansberry's The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window, the searing and comic portrait of a man trying to find his place in society during a time of social injustice and racial hatred. DeAnna Duncan directs. Jan. 4 Feb. 3, 2001.
• Philip Barry's Hotel Universe, about guests at a mysterious Riviera estate and how they confront themselves when prompted by a mystical old man and the supernatural aura of the house. Steven Mazzola directs. April 26-May 19, 2001. • Saul Levitt's The Andersonville Trial, the dramatization of the Civil War trial that focused on the infamous prisoner of war camps where hundreds died due to the conditions. Jack Marshall directs. July 5-Aug. 4, 2001.
The company, nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Resident Musical (for The Cradle Will Rock), stages works from the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s. Performances are at the black box space, Theatre Two, at the Gunston Arts Center, 2700 South Lang Street in Arlington, VA. For information, call (703) 553-8782 or visit the web site at www.americancentury.org.
The nonprofit was founded in 1994. Its missions reads: "The American Century Theater is dedicated to presenting great, important, and neglected plays of the Twentieth Century -- what Henry Luce called 'the American Century.' Our mission is based on the firm conviction that this theatrical repertoire -- influential and critically acclaimed dramas, comedies, and teleplays first produced between 1920 and 1970 -- portrays a uniquely American vision that is vital to our shared cultural heritage. In today's increasingly Balkanized society, finding this common ground has become essential. Our mission is also driven by the belief that theater should be accessible to all citizens. For the mainstream audience today, the combination of prohibitive cost and adult-only themes makes it increasingly difficult to find appropriate theatre-going experiences for the entire family. We know this need not be the case, and that America's finest dramas -- written for a broad audience -- contain significant themes and ideas that should be part of our collective wisdom as a nation."
-- By Kenneth Jones