Theatre Works of Palo Alto, CA, has programming in 2002 2003 worthy of a touring house, but the planned productions of Ragtime, Jane Eyre and Smokey Joe's Cafe will all be home-grown regional stagings of those recent Broadway titles.
The Jane Eyre staging will be the first post-New York run for the Paul Gordon-John Caird musical. Based on the classic Charlotte Bronte novel, Jane Eyre closes out the Theatre Works season, playing April 9-May 4, 2003 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. Gordon's first Broadway musical, Jane Eyre was nominated for five Tony Awards including Best Score, Best Book and Best Musical. After the show closed at the Brooks Atkinson June 10, 2001, a national tour was mentioned, but never materialized. The show had a long gestation period in the 1990s, playing developmental runs in Wichita, Toronto and at the La Jolla Playhouse prior to Broadway.
The Tony Award-winning Ragtime, based on E.L. Doctorow's novel and set on the cusp of the 20th century, plays Sept. 4-29, 2002 at the Mountain Center for the Performing Arts. Theatre Works' resident production of Ragtime is the first regional California staging of the Stephen Flaherty Lynn Ahrens musical. North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, MA, has the resident theatre premiere (in the round), May 14 June 2.
Smokey Joe's Cafe, the long-running Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller musical revue, kicks off the season June 19-July 14 at the Mountain View Center. The plotless evening of rock 'n' roll standards includes the hits of Elvis ("Hound Dog"), The Coasters ("Charlie Brown," "Little Egypt," "Yakety Yak") and Peggy Lee ("I'm a Woman").
The one world premiere of the season, Cherylene Lee's The Legacy Codes: a Collision of Cultures, explores the story of nuclear physicist Wen Ho Lee, falsely accused of stealing U.S. secrets for China in 1999. Legacy Codes promises to fuse Chinese, jazz and hip-hop music with a family drama steeped in modern codes of law, culture and romance. The Legacy Codes plays March 5-April 6, 2003 in the Lucie Stern Theatre. Also set for the Theatre Works season are Annie Weisman's cheerleading comedy Be Aggressive (July 17-Aug. 18 at the Mountain View Center), the California premiere of Pamela Gien's The Syringa Tree (Oct. 9-Nov. 3 at the Mountain View Center), Ernest Thompson's On Golden Pond (Dec. 4-Jan. 5, 2003 at the Lucie Stern Theatre) and the West Coast premiere of Lanford Wilson's Book of Days (Jan. 15-Feb. 9, 2003 at the Mountain View Center).
Multi-Tony winner Audra McDonald sings one concert at the Mountain View Center June 30. Tickets are $75-$150 for the special performance.
The Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts is located at Castro and Mercy Streets in Mountain View. The Lucie Stern Theatre is located at 1305 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto. For subscription information, call (650) 903-6000. TheatreWorks is on the web at http://www.theatreworks.org.