Arena Stage, one of the nation's first major resident theatres, announced its 50th anniversary season, which includes a revival of Howard Sackler's The Great White Hope, and seven other productions, including a world premiere.
The Great White Hope is significant to Washington DC's Arena Stage and American theatre: It was the first regional staging to transfer to Broadway, in 1967, and it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
The 2000-2001 season will also include a world premiere by Washington DC playwright John Strand (Lovers and Executioners), and a U.S. premiere of a play by Canadian scribe Michel Tremblay (Les Belles Soeurs, Bonjour La Bonjour).
Arena Stage presents in two spaces, the 800-seat Fichandler (an arena stage) and the 514-seat Kreeger (a modified thrust). Special events and readings are held in the intimate Old Vat Room.
The 2000-2001 Arena season includes: • The Great White Hope (Aug. 25-Oct. 15): Howard Sackler's drama of a black heavyweight who wins the title in 1908 but faces a greater battle over a forbidden love and grinding racism. Arena artistic director Molly Smith directs in the Fichandler.
• For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again (Sept. 15-Oct. 29): The Centaur Theatre production of Canadian playwright Michel Tremblay's comic-dramatic homage to a mother figure. The American premiere is directed by Gordon McCall, artistic director of Montreal's Centaur, in the Kreeger.
• Play On! (Nov. 3, 2000-Jan. 7, 2001): Broadway's Duke Ellington ized version of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, set uptown, involved a songwriter named Vy posing as a man so she can work with the Duke. "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" and "Mood Indigo" are part of the mix. Sheldon Epps directs (and originally conceived the piece, with playwright Cheryl L. West) in the Fichandler.
• K2 (Dec. 8, 2000-Jan. 28, 2001): Patrick Myers' drama of two climbers staking their claim to the most dangerous mountain on Earth. As they cling to the cliff of ice, they offer each other "stories and lies." The Broadway staging in 1982 is remembered for its striking, realistic scenic design. In the Kreeger.
• Tom Walker (Jan. 26-March 4, 2001): A comic, moving world premiere by D.C. playwright John Strand, about one colonist's "journey to hell and back" as he seeks help from the Devil to improve his life as the country is being born. Kyle Donnelly directs in the Fichandler.
• Coyote Builds North America (March 2-April 15, 2001): A theatrical spectacle directed by Molly Smith, this fusion of native American storytelling, music and dance follows the erotic and mythic adventures of Old Man Coyote. National Book Award winner Barry Lopez wrote the stories; original concept is by John Luther Adams. In the Kreeger.
• A Streetcar Named Desire (March 30-May 6, 2001): The classic American drama about Blanche DuBois unsteady grip on the illusion of the past and the reality of the present, by Tennessee Williams. Hungarian director Janos Szasz helms in the Fichandler.
• Constant Star (May 4-July 1, 2001): Tazewell Thompson pens and directs a five-actress tribute to Ida B. Wells, a journalist, suffragette, political candidate, wife and "uppity black woman" (according to her detractors). In the Kreeger.
For season subscription information, call (202) 488-4377.
-- By Kenneth Jones