Arena Stage, one of the nation's oldest regional theatres, will open its 2002-03 season with Culture Clash, the commissioned collective of artists, presenting Anthems: Culture Clash in the District, directed by Charles Randolph-Wright.
The Washington, DC, staging Aug. 30-Oct. 13 plays the Kreeger Theatre. Richard Montoya and Culture Clash created the work, which is described this way in the April 23 season announcement: "The world knows Washington as a power city: defender of the free world, rife with scandals and larger-than life personalities. Residents, however, know the real story lies behind the marble façade in the richly diverse communities the make up our hometown. A Beltway outsider visiting the District after September 11 delves deep into neighborhoods and towns, seeking meaning amid the populace's grief. Along the way, he encounters an ordinary existence touched by extraordinary stories — screamingly funny, emotionally stirring, utterly unforgettable — and finds a nation's anthems in the unlikeliest of places."
The new eight-play season will also include South Pacific, directed by artistic director Molly Smith, Wendy Wasserstein's An American Daughter, a world premiere stage version of the final Thornton Wilder novel, Theophilus North, August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Lanford Wilson's regional hit, Book of Days, and The Misanthrope.
For season subscription information, call Arena Stage's subscriptions hotline at (202) 488-4377, or visit arenastage.org.
Here's the season at a glance:
- The Misanthrope (Sept. 27–Nov. 3), Moliere's famed comedy, directed by Oregon Shakespeare Festival artistic associate Penny Metropulos in the Fichandler.
- Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (Nov. 1–Dec. 22), August Wilson's play about a recording session in 1926 in which hopeful and frustrated musicians clash, directed by Tazewell Thompson in the Kreeger.
- South Pacific (Dec. 6–Feb. 2, 2003), the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein musical directed by Molly Smith in the Fichandler.
- Theophilus North (Jan. 17–March 2, 2003), Thornton Wilder's final novel, about a dreamer who gets stranded in Rhode Island, in a world premiere adaptation by Matthew Burnett, directed by Mark Cuddy (in a co-production with Geva Theatre) in the Kreeger.
- Book of Days (Feb. 21–March 30), Lanford Wilson's award-winning play about a mysterious death in Dublin, MO, and the unlikely community theatre actress who investigates the apparent crime, directed by Wendy C. Goldberg in the Fichandler.
- Ain't Misbehavin': The Fats Waller Musical Show (March 21-May 18), the revue of such Waller-related classics as "Honeysuckle Rose," "Mean to Me," "Your Feet's Too Big," directed in a co-production with Baltimore's Center Stage by Kenny Roberson in the Kreeger.
- An American Daughter (April 25–June 1), Wendy's Wasserstein's portrait of a doctor nominated for Surgeon General and he incident in her past that threatens her future, directed by Molly Smith in the Fichandler.
— By Kenneth Jones