After five years of hard work, it is truly a thrill to announce the first season in our new facility. I think we have put together a season that will be as exciting as the facility itself."
Those are the words of Alexandra Urbanowski, managing director of San Jose Rep, which will open its new theatre space in November 1997. As for the season, artistic director Timothy Near says she hopes her six choices will "explore the changing faces of human nature and the masks we wear to achieve our goals, cover our intentions or reinvent who we are." The season's first production will be done at the Rep's current Montgomery Theatre, while the other five will go into the new space.
No dates or even order of the plays have yet been announced, but these are four of the choices (two more will be announced in the spring):
Thunder Knocking On The Door, Keith Glover's "blusical tale of rhythm & blues" which mixes live music and African folklore. San Jose Rep featured Glover's latest, The Sword Of Kazaran, at its New America Playwright Festival in 1996.
Suddenly Last Summer, Tennessee Williams drama of a young woman remembering the bizarre death of her cousin.
The Game Of Love And Chance, Stephen Wadsworth's translation/adaptation of the Marivaux comedy, wherein two young nobles trade places with their servants for much class and romantic confusion.
Happy End, Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill and Dorothy Lane's musical of gangsterland Chicago, circa 1919. Michael Feingold did the adaptation and translation.
Finishing up the current San Jose' Repertory Theatre season will be Anna Christie, (March 9-April 6), Laughter On The 23rd Floor (May 18-June 15), and The Lady's Not For Burning (July 6-Aug. 3).
Of the current Anna Christie, spokesperson Patty Eaton says audiences are finding a surprising amount of humor in the work. "Gordon Goodman -- he's Matt -- he has a lot of experience in big musicals. He was the Wolf in Into The Woods. He's matched with Kathleen Pirkl Tague as Anna. She's from a very classical background but she plays a very worldly Anna." In other San Jose Rep news, Kim Euell has been named Director of Play Development and will be responsible for the aforementioned New America Playwright Festival, as well as continuing in her roles as literary manager and dramaturg. Says Euell, "I will work with Timothy Near to bring new plays to the Rep which represent diverse new voices and explore ways to make classical plays more accessible to contemporary audiences." Euell has served as director of new play development at Connecticut's Hartford Stage and as dramaturg at Mark Taper Forum's New Work Festival in Los Angeles.
In even further San Jose Rep news, film, TV and theatre star Rene Auberjonois will star in a one-day-only solo of Archy-Types: the adventures of archy and mehitabel, Sunday, April 20, 4 PM.
Cartoonist Don Marquis came up with the cockroach and cat combo in his New York Sun newspaper column, 1915-1920. An onstage jazz combo, led by trumpeteer Taylor Haskins, will accompany Auberjonois for the piece, which is directed by San Jose Repertory artistic director, Timothy Near. (Oddly enough, Timothy is a woman, Rene a man.)
In the world of Marquis, Archy is a cockroach who sees herself as descended from Cleopatra; Mehitabel is an alley cat poet, jumping on his boss' typewriter key by key.
Author and star Auburjonois, a founding member of San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre, is best known for his work in Robert Altman's M*A*S*H and Brewster McCloud, as well as his current work as Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He won a Tony for Coco and appeared on Broadway in City Of Angels, Big River, Metamorphosis and The Good Doctor.
For tickets ($29-$35) to the Archy-Types benefit for San Jose Rep, which takes place at the Mayer Theatre of Santa Clara University, call (408) 291-2255.
--By David Lefkowitz