Boston audiences were able to hobnob with folks from the newly established Boston Theatre Works, June 7, when company members held a free Tony Awards party at a local pub. But the evening wasn't just about rooting for or against Disney and Livent; artistic director Jason Southerland took the opportunity to announce the company's inaugural line-up.
"We understood the weight upon us to develop a program which will speak to our mandate and represent us with strength and integrity to the New England community," said Southerland in a statement.
To that end, BTW has chosen three challenging productions for its first season, running Oct. 1998-May 1999. The first is John Guare's Four Baboons Adoring The Sun, a Broadway flop that nonetheless received critical praise from the NY Times. Southerland will direct the piece, which grafts a Greek tragedy onto the life of a modern-day family on vacation. Other plays by Guare include Bosoms and Neglect and Six Degrees of Separation.
After Baboons, American Repertory Theatre Institute graduate Todd Olson will stage Shakespeare's Hamlet, about another family with serious problems. Olson promises a multimedia version "audiences have never seen before."
Closing the first BTW season will be Robert O'Hara's drama, Insurrection: Holding History, which looks at a current-day history student going back in time to the slave rebellion. Author O'Hara staged the work at NY's Public Theatre (Dec. 1996) and will do so again in Boston. Formed in fall 1997 by Boston artists and business people hoping to create a midsize professional theatre, Boston Theatre Works boasts such advisory board members as Hal Prince, Craig Lucas and Robert Brustein.
Casting, dates, venues and ticket information on the Boston Theatre Works season is expected later in the summer.
-- By David Lefkowitz