Olney Theatre Will Stage DC Premiere of The Submission, Plus Spring Awakening, Carnival! Nevilles Island and More

By Adam Hetrick
June 16, 2012

Olney Theatre Center, the resident Equity company in Olney, MD, announced an ambitious 2013 season of classics, musicals and edgy new work to lure a variety of audiences from Baltimore and Washington, DC.



It's the first season under new artistic director Martin Platt, who revealed the slate on June 16. The 75th anniversary season includes "20th-century American classics, new works, reinterpretations of classics and musical theatre." Like the rest of the slate, the musical choices reflect variety: the dark pop-rock musical Spring Awakening is alongside the musical comedy Once Upon a Mattress and the shadowy musical fantasy-romance Carnival!

The Submission, the award-winning play about a young white playwright who gets in hot water when he hires an African-American actress to "front" for the black-themed play that he wrote, will get its DC-area premiere. Playwright Jeff Talbott won the first Laurents/Hatcher Award for the dark comedy in 2011, when it was produced Off-Broadway by MCC Theater. In spring 2012, it won the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award for New American Play.

Guest artists Bedlam Theatre Company will present Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan and Shakespeare's Hamlet (each featuring just four actors) in rotating rep; the classic thriller Angel Street (known as the film "Gaslight") will be sparked; Platt will direct Carnival!, Moliere's Tartuffe and the comedy Nevilles Island, about co-workers stranded on an island.

In 75 years, the Olney has produced more than 480 plays and musicals.

Additional programming will be announced at a later date, but here are the nine core titles in the 2013 schedule for the Montgomery County, MD, company that produces a calendar-year season:

Spring Awakening
The Tony Award Winning Musical
Music by Duncan Sheik
Book and Lyrics Steven Sater
Feb. 7-March 3, 2013
On the Mainstage

"Winner of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Spring Awakening explores the journey from adolescence to adulthood with poignancy and passion you will never forget."

Nevilles Island, A Comedy in Thick Fog
By Tim Firth
Directed by Martin Platt
April 4-28, 2013
On the Mainstage

"Follow four out-of-shape, middle-aged businessmen who, instead of completing a simple teambuilding exercise in Englands bucolic Lake District, succeed in being the first people ever to get shipwrecked on a tiny island in this tourist paradise. Nevilles Island — where "The Office" meets "Lord of the Flies."

The Submission
DC Area Premiere
By Jeff Talbott
Directed by David Elliott
May 9-June 2, 2013
In the Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab

"Shaleeha G'ntamobi's stirring new play about an alcoholic black mother and her card sharp son trying to get out of the Projects has just been accepted into the nation's preeminent theater festival. Trouble is, Shaleeha G'ntamobi doesn't exist, except in the imagination of wannabe white playwright Danny, who created her as a kind of affirmative-action nom- de-plume."

Angel Street ("Gaslight")
by Patrick Hamilton
Directed by John Going
June 20-July 14, 2013
On the Historic Stage

"This Victorian thriller focuses on a seemingly normal couple, the Manninghams. Is the handsome Jack Manningham a caring husband or is he discreetly trying to drive his young wife Bella into insanity under the guise of kindness. It takes an extraordinarily dedicated Scotland Yard detective, the aptly named Inspector Rough, to unravel this delightfully twisted thriller. This is the first in an annual series of Olney Theatre Center Heritage Productions. Angel Street last thrilled audiences at Olney Theatre Center in 1950."

Carnival!
Book by Michael Stewart
Music & Lyrics by Bob Merrill
Directed by Martin Platt
August 1-26, 2013
On the Mainstage

"Based on the ever-popular 1953 film 'Lili' and featuring the hit song 'Love Makes The World Go Round,' Carnival! tells the story of a lonely orphan girl who literally runs away to join the circus The Grande Imperial Cirque de Paris which is in actuality a rather flea-bitten travelling troupe. There are magicians, trapezes, puppets, and romance — all wrapped in some of the most wonderful Broadway music of all time."

Olney Presents BEDLAM Theatre Company
In Rotating Repertory
Saint Joan
By Bernard Shaw
Hamlet
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Eric Tucker
Sept. 4-Oct. 13
In the Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab

"New York's critically acclaimed BEDLAM Theatre brings you two great classics as you've never seen them before. Four actors (count them — four) bring Shakespeare and Shaw to vivid life, up close and personal. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes!"

Tartuffe, or The Hypocrite
By Molière, Translated By Richard Wilbur
Directed by Martin Platt
Sept. 26-Oct. 20, 2013
On the Mainstage

"Set in Modern Paris, Molière's always-relevant classic comedy about a religious hypocrite and the home he invades, gets a vibrant makeover, and a Euro-pop score."

Once Upon a Mattress
Music by Mary Rodgers
Lyrics by Marshall Barer
Book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller & Marshall Barer
Nov. 14-Dec. 29
On the Mainstage

"The musical comedy that made Carol Burnett a star remains one of the great Broadway family shows of all time. If you thought you knew the story of 'The Princess and the Pea,' you may be in for a walloping surprise! Carried on a wave of beguiling songs (by the daughter of Richard Rodgers and mom of Light in the Piazza composer Adam Guettel), a shy prince, a hen-pecked King, a Wicked Queen and a one-of-a-kind Princess lead a cast of characters that will ensure that you'll never look at fairy tales quite the same way again. A great show for the entire family during the holiday season."

For subscription information, call (301) 924-3400 or visit olneytheatre.org.