The not-for-profit TACT troupe's 11th season, artistic-directed by Jack Marshall, will see works by (or inspired by) Lillian Hellman, a beloved American poet, a novelist, a husband-and-wife team and the composer Harold Rome.
The season begins Sept. 8-Oct. 8 with the comedy It Had to Be You, a 1981 Broadway diversion by Joseph Bologna and Renee Taylor, the husband-wife playwriting and acting team. Ellen Dempsey will direct the romantic comedy.
Spoon River Anthology (1963), the stage version (with music) of Edgar Lee Masters' collection of short dramatic poems about common people in a rural American community, will be directed by Shane Wallis, Jan 5-28, 2006.
Masters' work has been credited with inspiring such diverse works as Thornton Wilder's Our Town and Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion."
Steven Scott Mazzola will stage Lillian Hellman's The Autumn Garden (1951) March 16-April 15, 2006. In the lesser-known work, "Hellman's summer resort guests explore the emotional dark places that lurk in all of us as a group of friends gather to discuss the cataclysmic choices they have made in their lives." Jackie Manger, who directed and choreographed the World War II-era Christmas revue If Only in My Dreams, will direct U.S.A., Paul Shyre's stage version of John Dos Passos' epic trilogy of novels that paint the portrait of the United States between 1900 and 1930. "With lots of musical moments, the stage U.S.A. (1959), mixes historical figures (Isadora Duncan, Rudolph Valentino and the Wright Brothers, for example) with fictional to explore 20th century America's exhilaration, contradictions and obsessions," according to the company. It will play June 22-July 15, 2006.
Finally, TACT will "rescue" another "neglected" American musical with a concert version staging of Call Me Mister (1946), an evening of songs and skits about soldiers adjusting to civilian life after returning to the states from World War II. Composer-lyricist Harold Rome is known for scores to Fanny, Pins and Needles, Wish You Were Here, I Can Get It for You Wholesale and Destry Rides Again.
Call Me Mister's sketches are by Arnold Auerbach and Arnold Horwitt.
The American Century Theater (TACT) performs at Theater II, Gunston Arts Center, 2700 S. Lang Street, Arlington, VA. For subscription season information, (703) 553-8782 or visit www.americancentury.org.