Arena Stage in Washington D.C. will return to the roots of theatre history when its 2001-2002 season opens with Agamemnon and His Daughters, a new adaptation of classic Greek plays about the Trojan War.
Arena artistic director Molly Smith will stage the adaptation by Kenneth Cavander, Aug. 31-Oct. 7, in the Fichandler Theatre. Smith has committed to staging one non-American work — like Agamemnon and His Daughters — in seasons to come.
The eight-show 2001-2002 season at the famed resident theatre includes a 2002 version of Sheldon Epps' revue, Blues in the Night; a new play, billed as an urban "modern fairytale" by John Glore, On the Jump; and a rare production of a Zora Neale Hurston-Dorothy Waring folk musical, Polk County.
Here's the rundown:
• Agamemnon and His Daughters by Kenneth Cavander, Aug. 31-Oct. 7 in the Fichandler. • Full Gallop, the tart, seriocomic one-woman play about fashion diva Diana Vreeland, by Mark Hampton and Mary Louise Wilson, Sept. 28-Nov. 11, in the Kreeger Theatre.
• Of Mice and Men, the John Steinbeck tale of friendship and dreams in a hardscrabble world, Nov. 2-Dec. 9, in the Fichandler.
• Blues in the Night, the Tony Award-nominated revue of blues songs conceived by Sheldon Epps, in which three down on their luck divas in Chicago hotel muse about heartache by singing some of the 20th-century's most memorable blues songs, Dec. 7-Feb. 3, 2002, in the Kreeger. Kenny Leon directs.
• On the Jump, a new play by John Glore following the travails of a young urban couple — "twentysomething misfits" —as they try to connect romantically , Jan. 11-Feb. 17, 2002, in the Fichandler. Wendy C. Goldberg directs.
• True West, the Sam Shepard play about brothers — a screenwriter and a hustler — butting heads in their mother's suburban bungalow, Feb. 22-April 7, 2002, in the Kreeger.
• Polk County, a recently discovered "folk musical" by Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston and Dorothy Waring. The play has been languishing in the Library of Congress for 60 years, according to Arena Stage. Singing blues, ballads and jam sessions, the folks of rural South-Central Florida's Polk County explore the heart of black American folklore, March 29-May 12, 2002, in the Fichandler. Kyle Donnelly directs.
• A Moon for the Misbegotten, Eugene O'Neill's classic of love, redemption and faded hope, April 26-June 16, 2002, in the Kreeger. Directed Molly Smith.
— By Kenneth Jones