Public Theater's 2014-15 Slate Includes Stew-Heidi Rodewald Musical, Works by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Lemon Andersen, Young Jean Lee and More

By Adam Hetrick
21 Apr 2014

Heidi Rodewald and Stew
Heidi Rodewald and Stew

The Total Bent, a new musical from Passing Strange creators Stew and Heidi Rodewald, as well as premieres by Young Jean Lee, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Lemon Andersen will be produced as part of The Public Theater's 2014-15 season.

The Public's slate features three new musicals, including The Total Bent; as well as the previously announced Hamilton by Tony Award-winning In the Heights star and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda; and a co-production of the Itamar Moses-Michael Friedman work The Fortress of Solitude, which premiered at the Dallas Theater Center in March.

Also planned is a new Public Works musical adaptation of The Winter's Tale, which reunites songwriter Todd Almond with director Lear deBessonet. The program, which casts professional actors alongside members of the New York City community, launched last season with Almond and Lear's adaptation of The Tempest. It will be a free presentation at the Delacorte Theater.

In a co-production with the American Repertory Theater, Public will continue its development of Suzan-Lori Parks' Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3), which was seen in earlier productions as part of the Public Lab in 2009 and 2014.



"The Public's commitment to make theatre that matters is brilliantly reflected in the power and diversity of the 2014-15 season," artistic director Oskar Eustis said in a statement. "Starting with the return of the thrilling Public Works Shakespeare at the Delacorte, and proceeding through three explosive new musicals and major new work by Suzan-Lori Parks and Young Jean Lee, this season is truly of, by and for the people. This is work that we have developed and nurtured, and the artists have responded with astounding bravery and creativity."

The Public Theater's 2014-15 season follows:

The Winter's Tale
Music and lyrics by Todd Almond
Conceived and directed by Public Works director Lear deBessonet
Choreography by Chase Brock
Sept. 5-7
"Public Works' The Winter's Tale brings Shakespeare’s tale of mystery and magic to life as never before. Featuring Public Works' signature blend of professional actors, community members, and special guests, 200 New Yorkers will come together to tell Shakespeare’s beloved fable of hard won joy and the promise of renewal."

Rock Bottom
By Bridget Everett, Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz and Matt Ray
Directed by Scott Wittman
Fall 2014 at Joe's Pub
"Rock Bottom is what happens when you're too passionate to give up, and too big to fail. In it, Everett, who The New York Times has called an 'early Bette Midler,' barrels through life tip-toeing toward disaster, wine bottle by wine bottle and man by man. However, instead of succumbing to a chardonnay-induced stupor, Everett embraces a series of revelations that lead her and her voice of an angel to redemption. It features new original songs written with Shaiman, Wittman, Ray and Horovitz, as well as familiar favorites heard in Everett's monthly sold-out showcase with her band The Tender Moments at Joe's Pub."

The Fortress of Solitude
Book by Itamar Moses
Music and lyrics by Michael Friedman
Conceived and directed by Daniel Aukin
Based upon the novel by Jonathan Lethem
Sept. 30–Nov. 2
"The Fortress of Solitude is the extraordinary coming-of-age story about 1970s Brooklyn and beyond — of black and white, soul and rap, block parties and blackouts, friendship and betrayal, comic books and 45s. And the story of what would happen if two teenagers obsessed with superheroes believed that maybe, just maybe, they could fly."

Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3)
Written by Suzan-Lori Parks
Directed by Jo Bonney
Oct. 14-Nov. 16
"A devastatingly beautiful, dramatic work set over the course of the Civil War. Jo Bonney directs this moving and haunting drama comprised of three plays presented in a single performance. In Part 1, A Measure of Man, Hero, a slave who is accustomed to his master’s lies, must now decide whether to join him on the Confederate battlefield in exchange for a promise of freedom. Part 2, The Battle in the Wilderness follows Hero and the Colonel as they lead a captured Union solider toward the Confederate lines as the cannons approach. Finally, in Part 3, The Union of My Confederate Parts, the loved ones Hero left behind question whether to escape or wait for his return - only to discover that for Hero, freedom may have come at a great spiritual cost. A masterful new work from one of our most lyrical and powerful writers, Father Comes Home from the Wars is a deeply personal epic about love and hope in a world of impossible choices."

Straight White Men
Written and directed by Young Jean Lee
Featuring Austin Pendleton, Scott Shepherd, Pete Simpson and James Stanley
Nov. 6-Dec. 7
"The Public presents the New York premiere of Straight White Men, in which [Lee] defies expectations with a conventionally structured take on the classic American father-son drama. When Ed and his three adult sons come together to celebrate Christmas, they enjoy cheerful trash-talking, pranks, and takeout Chinese. Then they confront a problem that even being a happy family can't solve: when identity is the cornerstone of one's worth, and privilege is increasingly problematic, what is the value of being a straight white man?"

Hamilton
Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Directed by Thomas Kail
Featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton
Jan. 20 – Feb. 22, 2015
"From the groundbreaking team behind the Tony Award-winning musical In The Heights comes a wildly inventive new show about the life, death and rhymes of a scrappy young immigrant who forever changed America: Alexander Hamilton. Tony and Grammy Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda takes the stage as the unlikely founding father determined to make his mark on the new nation as hungry and ambitious as he is. From bastard orphan to Washington's right hand man, rebel to war hero, a loving husband caught in the country's first sex scandal, the Treasury head who made an untrusting world believe in the American economy, Hamilton is an astonishing musical exploration of a political mastermind who was both sinner and saint. George Washington, Eliza Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and Hamilton's lifelong friend/foil Aaron Burr all make their mark in this uproarious, heart-filled new musical. Tony Award nominee Thomas Kail directs Lin-Manuel Miranda's breathtaking fusion of contemporary hip-hop and classic Broadway style in this bold new show about taking your shot, speaking your mind and turning the world upside down."

The Total Bent
Text by Stew
Music by Heidi Rodewald and Stew
Directed by Joanna Settle
March 3–April 5
"A riotous new show at the crossroads of the sacred and profane, survival and liberation, gospel and rock 'n' roll. When a British record producer arrives in Montgomery, Alabama to hook Marty Roy, a young black musical prodigy rebelling from the constraints of the world around him, he launches us back into Marty’s tumultuous musical upbringing. The son of a gospel star and self-proclaimed healer, Marty spent his childhood writing the songs that have made his charismatic father famous. But in an America on the verge of social upheaval, Marty finds himself at odds with his complicated and spiritually forceful father, desperate to make his own way and his own sound. A funny, fiery, one-of-a-kind show, The Total Bent is about the passions that divide a father and son as they make their music and make their choice between salvation and selling out."

Toast
By Lemon Andersen
Directed by Elise Thoron
April 2-19 as part of the Public Lab
"Toast ingeniously weaves major characters from black oral narratives into a gripping story about a group of inmates fighting to keep their minds free amidst the 1971 riots that rocked Attica Prison. After 27 years served for murder in Attica’s D-Block, Willie Green, aka Dolomite, has become an unlikely father figure to his cellmates, folklore heroes like Jesse James, Hobo Ben, Annabelle Jones, Stackolee and Hard Rock. Though word is brewing throughout Attica that a riot is coming, Dolomite would rather not get involved. But when one of the youngest inmates in their block is viciously beaten by guards for protesting prison conditions, Dolomite has to decide whether to join the riots or lock himself in his cell and hope for a promised parole date and the chance to taste freedom. Honoring the spoken word narratives recited in pool halls, bars and prisons across America by generations of black poets, Toast is a stunning new play about men trying to live free in a system—and a world—designed to keep them chained."

The Public's programming will also include the annual Under the Radar Festival (Jan.7-18, 2015), as well as Public Forum events, Public Studio productions, the Mobile Shakespeare Unit, the New Work Now! reading series and more.

Memberships are available at wpublictheater.org or by calling (212) 967-7555. Single tickets for the 2014-15 season will go on sale later this year.

The Public's programming will also include the annual Under the Radar Festival (Jan.7-18, 2015), as well as Public Forum events, Public Studio productions, the Mobile Shakespeare Unit, the New Work Now! reading series and more.

Memberships are available at publictheater.org or by calling (212) 967-7555. Single tickets for the 2014-15 season will go on sale later this year.