Cleveland Play House Announces 1999-2000 Season The Cleveland Playhouse has announced the theatre's 84th season, with premieres of three new plays alongside other theatre faves. A new program for the Playhouse, the "Next Stage Millennium Series," will also be mounted in the Studio One Theatre in the fall and spring.
Scheduled for the Play House:
€ The Last Night of Ballyhoo by Alfred Uhry begins the season at the Bolton Theatre (Sept. 21 - Oct. 24). Originally commissioned for the Olympics Arts Festival in Atlanta, where the play debuted in summer 1996, Ballyhoo is set in that state, where prejudice against (and among) Southern Jews arises during plans for the German-Jewish community's annual Ballyhoo ball. It's also the time of the release of the film classic, "Gone With The Wind," which takes place in Atlanta and deals with the Civil War and Reconstruction era. Ballyhoo centers on first cousins Lala Levy and Sunny Freitag, thrilled as they prepare for the social event of the season for the cream of Southern Jewish society.
€ Seascape by Edward Albee plays next at the Drury Theatre (Nov. 2-28). Two empty nesters vacationing on the beach contemplate their lives when joined by two lizard-people by the sea. Albee received a Pulitzer Prize for this allegorical look at racism and prejudice.
€ Parcel from America: An Irish Christmas Musical world premieres at the Bolton (Nov. 30, 1999 - Jan. 2, 2000). This dual celebration of Irish-ness and Christmas has a story by Tomaseen Foley, book by Janna Beecham, Malcolm Hillgartner and Tomaseen Foley, with music and lyrics by Matty Selman. This tale takes place on Christmas Eve in a small Irish village, where an elderly woman desperately anticipates a special parcel from her son in America. As its arrival becomes less and less likely, her village neighbors come together to save her Christmas.
€ A Dream Play (at the Drury, Jan. 11-Feb. 6, 2000), the 1901 masterpiece by August Strindberg ushers in the year 2000 for the Play House. In the piece, by the Swedish misogynist extraordinaire, a goddess ventures down to earth to see what it's like to be human. € Two Trains Running (Bolton, Feb. 8 - March 12), by August Wilson, takes a look at a Pittsburgh diner in the late '60s.
€ A Small Family Business (Drury, March 14 - April 9) comes from the hands of British comedy fave Alan Ayckbourn. Jack McCracken takes the reins of his family's furniture business when he realizes someone is leaking business secrets to a competitor.
€ Emancipation of Valet Du Chambre by Murphy Guyer, also has its world premiere this season (April 11 - May 14, at the Bolton). Based on Mark Twain's "Pudd'nhead Wilson," this comedic tale questions Americans and the way they view themselves and their place in society.
€ Touch the Names: Letters to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, conceived by Randal Myler and Chic Street Man (with music by Man) is the third world premiere of the season. Utilizing letters left at The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in D.C., this uplifting work explores love and relationships.
Two plays will take part in the "Next Stage Millennium Series" at the Studio One Theatre (with specific dates to be announced) :
Eric Coble's Nightfall with Edgar Allan Poe will be produced in the Halloween season. As Poe lies dead in a Baltimore morgue in 1849, a grotesque harlequin leads a visitation of figures from Poe's greatest tales.
In the spring, Murphy Guyer's satire The Infinite Regress of Human Vanity takes on theatre as its subject, featuring a play within-a play.
For tickets or more information on the Cleveland Play House season, call (216) 795-7000.
-- By Sean McGrath