The Humana Festival of New American Plays will indeed have a 25th year at Actors Theatre of Louisville in 2001, despite the 2000 departure of its founding shepherd, ATL artistic director Jon Jory.
The season will include nine productions plus the annual Humana Festival of new works, a longtime supplier of plays (Agnes of God, Crimes of the Heart, The Gin Game) to regional theatres, Broadway and beyond. There was some speculation that Jory was leaving the theatre because Humana Foundation might be ending its funding of the influential, high profile festival he created, but the support will continue in the coming season.
Jory chose the coming slate of productions and will likely direct at ATL next season, but in September he leaves for a teaching position at the University of Washington School of Drama.
The 2000-2001 ATL season includes:
• Wuthering! Heights! The! Musical! (Sept. 28 Oct. 21): A musical romp about a community theatre troupe putting on a musical version of Bronte's famous romance. Book and lyrics are by Eddie Levi Lee and music is by Edd Key. Pamela Brown auditorium.
• Dracula (Oct. 3-29): The return of the classic vampire tale, adapted by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston. Bingham Theatre.
• Wit (Oct. 26-Nov. 18): Margaret Edson's unsentimental, Pulitzer Prize-winning tale of an English literature professor's life and her battle with ovarian cancer. Pamela Brown Auditorium.
• A Tuna Christmas (Nov. 2-Dec. 30): The denizens of Tuna, TX, sing the merry in this holiday favorite by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard. Victor Jory Theatre.
• A Christmas Carol (Nov. 23-Dec. 23): Charles Dickens' classic yarn about Scrooge and Tiny Tim. Pamela Brown Auditorium.
• Constant Star (Jan. 4-27, 2001): Five actresses portray the world of Ida B. Wells, a journalist, wife and Civil Rights pioneer, in Tazewell Thompson's play. Pamela Brown Auditorium.
• Little Shop of Horrors (Feb. 1-March 3, 2001): Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's musical about a flesh- eating plant, back by popular demand at ATL. Pamela Brown.
• Humana Festival of New American Plays (Feb. 27-April 7, 2001): New works on all three stages.
• How I Learned to Drive (April 12-May 6, 2001): Paula Vogel's Pulitzer Prize-winning coming-of-age play about a woman's memory of a beloved uncle who taught her how to drive -- and crossed a line. Pamela Brown.
• The Complete Works of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged) (May 11-June 3, 2001): Jess Borgeson, Adam Long and Daniel Singer's comic exploration of 36 plays in 90 minutes. Pamela Brown. -- By Kenneth Jones