The season will begin with Michael John LaChiusa's Tony-nominated musical The Wild Party, a musical adaptation of the poem of the same name by Joseph Moncure March, with Danni Smith and Matthew Keffer starring as Queenie and Burrs.
The world premiere of Princess Mary Demands Your Attention will kick off 2015. The new play by Aaron Holland is inspired by Tolstoy's "War and Peace" and will be directed by artistic director Lili-Anne Brown.
The Chicago premiere of the new musical Murder Ballad, about a dangerous love affair by Julia Jordan and Juliana Nash, will follow.
"This season is delightfully dark," Brown said in a statement. "In each show, central characters are forced to take self-inventory and are found woefully wanting. These are not necessarily likable, easy characters — but they are absolutely fascinating, and as you watch them you become invested in what happens to them, sometimes despite yourself. Of course, like everyone in life, they are trying to find happiness — some people just don't know where to look."
The season-at-a-glance follows.
The Wild Party
Music and lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa
Book by Michael John LaChiusa and George C. Wolfe
Based on the poem by Joseph Moncure March
Directed by Brenda Didier
Music direction by Aaron Benham
Oct. 2–Nov. 1
Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater
Featuring Danni Smith (Queenie) and Matthew Keffer (Burrs) and Danielle Brothers (Dolores) with Molly Coleman (Nadine), Gilbert Domally (Phil), Patrick Falcon (Black) Desmond Grey (Oscar), Jason Grimm (Goldberg), Christina Hall (Madeline), Sharriese Hamilton (Kate), Ryan Lanning (Jackie), Steven Perkins (Eddie), Khaki Pixley (Mae), Jason Richards (Gold) and Sasha Smith (Sally)
"Manhattan decadence in the 1920s provides the backdrop for this tough musical fable. Queenie, a vaudeville chorus girl, hosts a titular blowout with her vicious lover Burrs, a blackface minstrel. The guests are a vivid collection of the unruly and the undone: Queenie's conniving rival, a cocaine-sniffing bisexual playboy, a washed-up boxer, a black 'brother act,' a diva of indeterminate age and infinite life experience, the fresh-off-the-farm ingénue whose naïveté quickly evaporates, a lesbian actress and her comatose girlfriend, and the bargain-basement heartthrob who catches Queenie's roving eye. The jazz- and gin-soaked party rages to a mounting sense of threat as artifice and illusion are stripped away. When midnight debauchery leads to tragedy at dawn, the high-flying characters land with a sobering thud, reminding us that no party lasts forever."
Princess Mary Demands Your Attention
By resident playwright Aaron Holland
Directed by artistic director Lili-Anne Brown
Jan. 15, 2015–Feb. 21
Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater
" Princess Mary Demands Your Attention is a new play inspired by parts of Tolstoy's 'War & Peace' that tells the soulful story of Amari Bolkonski, a gay, black daydreamer suffering from agoraphobia and seemingly 'stuck' in life while living with his overbearing mother. After a chance encounter with a dynamic trio of vivacious, club-loving guys, he is thrown into to a decade-long journey to personal acceptance and freedom. Along the way, he is guided (and haunted) by an inexplicable drag queen, ultimately finding his true self — hidden in the last place he would look. With storytelling that incorporates music and dance in a fresh, interpretive approach, Princess Mary Demands Your Attention is a fierce new play that ultimately pulls at the heart and demands an answer to the question: Is there really anything in your way?"
Conceived by and with book and lyrics by Julia Jordan
Music and lyrics by Juliana Nash
Directed byJames Beaudry
April 2–May 9
The Flat Iron Arts Building
"This new musical follows Sara, a young New Yorker who is torn between her dangerous ex-boyfriend and her reliable husband. Led by a sexy nightclub singer who serves as the show's narrator, Murder Ballad documents the details of the torrid affair with vibrant pop-rock tunes. When Sara breaks up with Tom, a gritty bartender, she runs into the arms of Michael, a quiet poetry student at NYU. But after the couple gets married and has a daughter, Sara longs for her old, dangerous life and begins secretly seeing Tom at his bar downtown. As Sara's passionate relationship with Tom intensifies, she begins to miss her old life with her husband and young child – but by then, it may be too late..."
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