Tony nominee Diane Paulus (Hair), the new artistic director of A.R.T., opens her first season at the Cambridge, MA, institution with the interactive production. Performances run through Sept. 26. Set on a dance floor replete with mirror balls, feather boas and hustle queens, The Donkey Show originally played a six-year Off-Broadway run beginning in 1999. According to A.R.T., "The Donkey Show tells the story of A Midsummer Night's Dream through the great '70s anthems, including 'We are Family,' 'I Love the Nightlife,' 'Car Wash,' 'Ring My Bell,' and 'Last Dance.' The enchanted forest of Shakespeare's classic comedy becomes the glittered world of retro disco as the lovers escape from their real lives to experience a night of dream, abandon, and fantasy."
In order to retain an element of surprise, A.R.T. does not reveal casting for The Donkey Show. Programs are handed to patrons following the performance.
The production, originally conceived by Randy Weiner, is staged for Boston audiences by Paulus and Weiner. Scenic design is by Scott Pask, costume design is by David C. Woolard, lighting design is by Evan Morris and sound design is by David Remedios.
The 2009-10 A.R.T. season is broken down into separate festival planning. Additional programming for A.R.T.'s "Shakespeare Exploded!" series (of which Donkey Show is a part) includes Punchdrunk's Macbeth-inspired Sleep No More (opening Oct. 8); followed by the R&B gospel-infused take on A Winter's Tale, entitled Best of Both Worlds, that features book and lyrics by Randy Weiner, music by Deirdre Murray and direction by co-writer Diana Paulus (opening Nov. 21 on the Loeb Stage).
For tickets, visit AmericanRepertoryTheater. A.R.T. is located at 64 Brattle Street in Cambridge, MA.