Titled Born for This: The BeBe Winans Story, the tuner chronicles the early days of the careers of BeBe and CeCe Winans, featuring new music by BeBe. The show will star their niece and nephew, siblings Deborah Joy Winans and Juan Winans.
The show is part of a season designed to showcase Arena Stage's commitment to diversity: There will be seven titles by women, six playwrights of color and five female directors.
Here are production notes from Arena Stage:
Born for This: The BeBe Winans Story
Book by Charles Randolph-Wright and BeBe Winans
Featuring original music and lyrics by BeBe Winans
Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright
World-premiere co-production with the Alliance Theatre
In association with Daniel Chilewich and Todd Gershwin
In the Kreeger Theater / July 1-Aug. 28, 2016
Detroit natives BeBe and CeCe Winans, youngest siblings of the Winans family dynasty, experience the ultimate in culture shocks when invited to join Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s Praise the Lord network television show. The Winans teenagers have the opportunity to become more than just television celebrities, but to integrate TV evangelism. As BeBe and CeCe encounter fame, fortune and even a young Whitney Houston, BeBe must learn to balance his desire for success with his true calling. Combining classic Winans hits with brand-new songs, this inspirational musical features Juan and Deborah Joy Winans in their Arena Stage debuts as BeBe and CeCe Winans. The Little Foxes
By Lillian Hellman
Directed by Kyle Donnelly
In the Kreeger Theater / Sept. 23-Oct. 30, 2016
There are people who eat and there are those that get eaten. First in line to be served is Regina Hubbard, clawing her way to wealth with her equally calculating brothers. When their plan to control the local cotton mill is thwarted, they’ll turn to ever more devious schemes, even as it further divides their family. Starring Emmy Award winner Marg Helgenberger ("CSI: Crime Scene Investigation"), Lillian Hellman’s classic tale of greed, betrayal and all the sordid ties that bind takes sibling rivalry to unimaginable heights and reveals how far a ruthless family can bend the rules before they break each other. Part of the Lillian Hellman Festival.
The Year of Magical Thinking
By Joan Didion based on her memoir
In the Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle / Oct. 7-Nov. 20, 2016
There is no way to avoid tragedy, loss or their aftermath. Yet we still hope that when faced with inescapable grief, something miraculous can emerge to ease our pain and guide us back to the joy of life. Few writers have experienced loss so suddenly and profoundly—or chronicled it as beautifully—as Joan Didion. Based on her award-winning memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking follows the iconic American author, portrayed by Academy Award and Tony Award nominee Kathleen Turner (Arena’s Mother Courage and Her Children), as she learns to reconcile the natural instincts that drive us to bargain with the universal forces that giveth and taketh away.
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Directed by Molly Smith
Choreographed by Parker Esse
Music direction by Paul Sportelli
In the Fichandler Stage / Oct. 28-Dec. 24, 2016
When Billy Bigelow and Julie Jordan fall in love, little do they realize that his rebellious ways will lead to tragedy. Given a chance to make good, will a lucky star save Billy and those he loves? Director Molly Smith reunites with both Nicholas Rodriguez and E. Faye Butler for the first time since 2011's production of Oklahoma! in this epic production bursting with classic songs like "June Is Bustin' Out all Over" and "You’ll Never Walk Alone."
Lookingglass Theatre Company’s
Adapted and directed by David Catlin from the book by Herman Melville
Produced in association with The Actors Gymnasium
Co-production with the Alliance Theatre and South Coast Repertory
In the Kreeger Theater / Nov. 18-Dec. 24, 2016
Set sail on the holiday season’s biggest adventure! Melville’s classic tale of man’s obsessive battle against nature comes to life in “a triumph of grand theatrical imagination, deep thought, superb acting and eye-popping, ingeniously deployed physical daring” (Chicago Sun-Times). Innovative staging fused with bold trapeze and acrobatic work turn this seafaring classic into a death-defying experiment in aerial storytelling. Climb aboard with Captain Ahab and the crew of the good ship Pequod in this harrowing and intoxicating quest for the great white whale.
By Lisa Loomer
World-premiere co-production with Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Directed by Bill Rauch
In the Kreeger Theater / Jan. 12-Feb. 19, 2017
The lawyer: a young, brilliant, courageous woman who argued Roe v. Wade before the Supreme Court. The plaintiff: a complex, single woman seeking to end an unwanted pregnancy. After the landmark 1973 case that legalized abortion, it’s their divergent journeys after the victory that best reflect the subsequent polarization in American culture. With shocking turns and surprising humor, Roe illuminates the difficult choices women make and the passion each side has for its cause.
Watch on the Rhine
By Lillian Hellman
Directed by Jackie Maxwell
In the Fichandler Stage / Feb. 3-March 5, 2017
Golden Globe Award winner Marsha Mason ("The Goodbye Girl") leads an ensemble cast as Fanny Farrelly in Lillian Hellman’s suspenseful masterpiece Watch on the Rhine. With America on the brink of entering World War II, Fanny’s daughter escapes to the D.C. suburbs with her German husband, a man deeply involved in anti-fascist movements. But with an Eastern European guest with ulterior motives also living in their midst, tensions rise as it becomes clear that no one’s safety can be guaranteed—at home or abroad. Part of the Lillian Hellman Festival.
World premiere by Jacqueline E. Lawton
Directed by Daniella Topol
In the Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle / Feb. 24-April 2, 2017
Covert operative Valerie Plame is racing to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq when the unthinkable happens. With the country at war, her cover is blown and she must navigate a media frenzy, the CIA’s search for answers and her diplomat husband’s dogged pursuit of the truth. Inspired by true events, Intelligence is a political thriller that explores the cost of deception and the consequences of speaking truth to power.
A Raisin in the Sun
By Lorraine Hansberry
Directed by Tazewell Thompson
In the Fichandler Stage / March 31-April 30, 2017
The “play that changed American theater forever” (New York Times) finally comes to Arena Stage. Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking masterpiece follows the Younger family yearning for a better life far from the cramped confines of their Chicago tenement. Hope arrives in the form of an unexpected financial windfall, but family ties are strained when they realize they have differing definitions of the American dream—but which dreams get realized and which deferred? A Raisin in the Sun paints the African-American experience in brilliant and powerful strokes, as vibrant and vital today as it was in 1959.
By Lydia R. Diamond
Directed by Seema Sueko
In the Kreeger Theater / April 14-May 21, 2017
Do our belief systems stem from our environment, or are some prejudices hard-wired into us? With barbed wit, Lydia R. Diamond (Stick Fly) explores the unavoidable nature of racism and other sticky subjects in the controversial and fiercely funny new play Smart People. Four intellectuals—a doctor, an actress, a psychologist and a neurobiologist studying the human brain’s response to race—search for love, acceptance and identity in a complex world where political correctness comes face-to-face with cold hard data.
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