La Jolla Playhouse in California has announced programming for its 2009-10 season, to include new plays and musicals by Terrence McNally, Claudia Shear, Doug Wright, Douglas Carter Beane, Glenn Slater and more.
Artistic director Christopher Ashley will direct two world premieres, including the first full production of The Big Time, a musical by Beane and composer Douglas Cohen (it was previously seen in a developmental production at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2005). He'll also stage a La Jolla commission, Restoration, about a Brooklyn art restorer, by Shear, who wrote the popular play Dirty Blonde.
The Hudsucker Proxy, the new musical based on the film of the same name will be presented in a "Page to Stage Workshop" production, not open to reviewers. Slater (The Little Mermaid) wrote the book and lyrics, and Stephen A. Weiner (newyorkers) composed the music.
Pulitzer Prize winner Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife) will direct his own world premiere, a La Jolla-commissioned adaptation of August Strindberg's Creditors.
Terrence McNally's Unusual Acts of Devotion will make its West Coast premiere.
Herringbone, the one-man musical by Skip Kennon (music), Ellen Fitzhugh (lyrics) and Tom Cone (book), will be directed by Roger Rees and star B.D. Wong. For more information visit lajollaplayhouse.org.
Here's the 2009-10 La Jolla season at a glance:
Unusual Acts of Devotion, written by Terrence McNally, June/July 2009, Mandell Weiss Theatre. "During a sweltering summer night, with the sweep of their beloved city surrounding them, Leo and Nadine's neighbors help them celebrate their fifth anniversary on their Greenwich Village rooftop. As danger lurks in the air, each confronts unfulfilled desires and secret longings for each other. With wit and warmth, Terrence McNally charts damaged cities and damaged souls, loves lost and recovered, and the joys of simple — but enduring — acts of devotion."
Restoration, written by Claudia Shear, directed by Christopher Ashley, June/July 2009, Mandell Weiss Forum Theatre. "Giulia, a feisty Brooklyn art restorer, receives the much-coveted job of 'refreshing' Michelangelo's David in time for its 500th birthday celebration in Florence. Her encounters with the masterpiece's curators, guardians and tourists sparks a life-changing journey in which Giulia discovers the statue's imperfections and flaws, as well as her own. Restoration paints a funny and moving portrait of survival, endurance and the impermanence of beauty."
The Hudsucker Proxy, "a Page to Stage Workshop Production," book and lyrics by Glenn Slater, music by Stephen A. Weiner, July/August 2009, Mandell Weiss Theatre. "When the CEO of Hudsucker Industries makes an abrupt and fatal exit from the company, the board of directors hatches a plot to drive their stock price down in order to buy up all the shares themselves. Enter Norville Barnes, a naive mailroom employee with a loopy new invention destined to fail, and a new Hudsucker CEO is born. Based on the Coen Brothers' 1994 film, The Hudsucker Proxy is a delightfully dark musical fairy tale with an original score." (Page To Stage productions are not open to critical review.)
Herringbone, book by Tom Cone, music by Skip Kennon, lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh, directed by Roger Rees, August/September 2009, Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre. "Set in 1929, this darkly comic solo play with music centers on young musical prodigy, George, who is pushed into the limelight to earn money for his poor family. Taken under the wing of Mosely, an old vaudeville performer, George soon finds himself possessed by the demented, murderous spirit of Mosely's late partner, Lou. As George's success grows, so does Lou's influence over George's mind and body, leading to a climactic showdown in Hollywood. A rarely-revived 1982 musical, Herringbone stars Tony Award-winner B.D. Wong (M. Butterfly, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"). In a tour-de-force performance, Wong inhabits ten roles in Herringbone."
Creditors, a La Jolla Playhouse commission adapted and directed by Doug Wright from the play by August Strindberg, September/October 2009, Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre. "Adaptor/director Doug Wright gives August Strindberg's Creditors a modern-day urgency in this compelling and savagely witty play. Two men — an artist and a mysterious stranger — strike up a seemingly innocent conversation at a seaside resort. As they exchange increasingly intimate perspectives on art, marriage and women — in particular, the artist's wife — undercurrents of sexuality, language and economics explode into a tangled web of intrigue, suspicion and revenge. Wright returns to La Jolla Playhouse, where his Pulitzer Prize-winning play I Am My Own Wife inaugurated the Page To Stage new play development program."
The Big Time, a world premiere musical, book by Douglas Carter Beane, music and lyrics by Douglas J. Cohen, directed by Christopher Ashley, November/December 2009, Mandell Weiss Theatre. "Two down-on-their-luck lounge singers perform on a U.N. cruise ship that is held hostage by a terrorist's intent on destroying the world," according to the earlier NYMF billing for the show. It was seen in a bare-bones NYMF staging and in a commercial workshop, directed by Ashley. Previous reports have the show aiming for Broadway.