By Carey Purcell
13 May 2014
"I couldn't be more proud that my tenth season as artistic director will see four of our five mainstage productions penned by women," artistic director Vivienne Benesch said in a statement. "Writers Lorainne Hansberry, Molly Smith Metzler, Heidi Armbruster and Carol Carpenter lead the way before Shakespeare joins the team with The Tempest, featuring another female dynamo, RSC veteran Lisa Harrow. Add to that the vision of directors Ethan McSweeny, Jade King Carroll, Lisa Rothe and Andrew Borba and I believe Chautauqua Theater Company is poised to make an indelible mark on the 2014 summer theater scene."
Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun will run June 27-July 6. Here's how the production is billed: "Set in Chicago's South Side, A Raisin in the Sun is the landmark drama that charts three generations of the Youngers, an African-American family trying to find their footing in a racially segregated world. This seminal American story is as potent today as it was in 1959, when it debuted on Broadway. Taking its name from the poem 'Harlem' by Langston Hughes, Hansberry asks a pivotal and tender question: 'What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?'" Ethan McSweeny will direct.
Molly Smith Metzler's The May Queen will begin performances July 18 and continue through July 27. Commissioned by CTC and The Chautauqua Writer's Center, the play will be directed by Benesch. "Everyone who graduated from Kingston High School class of '96 wonders what happened to their May Queen, Jen Nash," press notes state. "Some say she became one of Spitzer's hookers; some say she married a sheik in Dubai; some say she's the real kingpin behind The Bling Ring. The only person who seems to know for sure is Mike Petracca, a former flame who still carries an obsessive torch for the beauty. But when Jen Nash suddenly resurfaces in Kingston and starts temping in his office, Mike is forced to see his golden May Queen — and himself — with new eyes. Metzler's touching, bright new comedy reveals the roles we play in each other's lives, whether we know it or not."
Jade King Carroll will direct The Tempest, presented as part of Shakespeare for the Whole Family, with performances running Aug. 8-15. Here's how the production is billed: "Shakespeare's last play defies all categorization: it's a comedy, an adventure tale, a romance, a family drama and above all, it's a theatrical masterpiece filled with mystery and spirit. When a bevy of frightened men, both corrupt and honorable, are shipwrecked upon the shores of Prospero's mystical island, no one goes untested as the clashing demands of revenge and forgiveness, of justice and mercy, are brought to trial."
The season will also include the multi-disciplinary original work Go West! July 26. Here's how the performance is billed: "In Chautauqua’s second year of ground-breaking Inter-Arts collaboration, dance, opera, theater, orchestra and visual art combine to explore America’s expansion into the West: its indomitable spirit, its costs and consequences and its subsequent mythology."
Celebrating its 10th year, CTC's programming division, The New Play Workshop, will present staged readings of Dairyland by Heidi Armbruster, directed by returning CTC guest artist Lisa Rothe (July 10-12); and The Guadalupe by Carol Carpenter, directed by McSweeny (July 31-Aug. 2).
Visit theater.ciweb.org for more information.