Florida's Asolo Plans Vanya and Sonia, Show Boat, 4000 Miles, Other Desert Cities and Hero for 2013-14
By Kenneth Jones
March 19, 2013
Asolo Repertory Theatre's 2013-14 season in Sarasota, FL, will open with a revival of Show Boat, the landmark Oscar Hammerstein II-Jerome Kern musical, directed by Rob Ruggiero.
Artistic director Michael Donald Edwards announced a 55th-season lineup to include the Florida premiere of the new musical Hero, about a young man's passion for comic books, seen in Chicago in 2012; Brian Friel's Philadelphia, Here I Come!, directed by Frank Galati; Galati's adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath, directed by Edwards; Christopher Durang's current Broadway title Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike; Jon Robin Baitz's Other Desert Cities; Amy Herzog's 4,000 Miles; a spring new-play readings festival; and a summer musical to be announced.
Asolo presents works in rotating rep beginning in January.
There's also an Asolo Rep/FSU Conservatory for Actor Training New Stages Tour of Romeo and Juliet planned for fall 2013, at locations to be announced.
The FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training also announced its 2013-14 season, to feature acting students performing in a series of four plays in the Cook Theatre in The FSU Center for the Performing Arts. In addition to the season featuring the second-year class, third-year Conservatory students perform on the Asolo Rep mainstage with the professional company.
The FSU/Asolo Conservatory season includes David Ives' The School for Lies; Joe Orton's Loot; Paula Vogel's How I Learned to Drive; and Jean Anouilh's Antigone.
Here's the Asolo season at a glance:
Music by Jerome Kern
Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Based on the novel by Edna Ferber
Directed by Rob Ruggiero
Nov. 12-Dec. 29
"It was the first great American musical and may still be, after 86 years, the greatest of all time. With unforgettable songs, dazzling choreography, and a story that moves us with its humanity — Show Boat is both great entertainment and great art. Spanning the years from 1890 to 1927, this lyric masterpiece follows the lives, loves and losses of theater folk on the Mississippi, while illuminating the racial and social changes that were shaping the country." The score includes "Ol' Man River," "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" and "You Are Love," among others.
Philadelphia, Here I Come!
By Brian Friel
Directed by Frank Galati
Jan. 7-April 12, 2014
"Gar O'Donnell is leaving Ballybeg and the Ireland of his childhood. Leaving his father and the lads. Leaving Kate. For across the ocean there's a dream of Cadillacs, Coke floats, and girls — a dream of America. The play that established Brian Friel (Dancing at Lughnasa) as one of the greatest theatrical voices of the English language, Philadelphia, Here I Come! paints a touching and humorous portrait of a young man on the verge of a new beginning. Frank Galati's production will inject music and merriment into the storyline with the addition of song, dance and actor/musicians."
Other Desert Cities
By Jon Robin Baitz
Directed by Greg Leaming
Jan. 15-Feb. 27, 2014
"This riveting new play by the creator of TV's hit drama 'Brothers & Sisters' brings dysfunctional family drama to new heights. In their Palm Springs home, [Republican power] Lyman Wyeth and his wife Polly welcome their family home for Christmas for the first time in six years. The reunion seems hopeful, until their daughter announces she's written a memoir about their family and the incident that changed their lives."
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
By Christopher Durang
Directed by Peter Amster
Jan. 22-April 13, 2014
"It's a lovely day at Vanya and Sonia's farmhouse in Bucks County, PA. But instead of spending the morning strolling through their cherry orchard, these wacky siblings have their hands full with a prophetic cleaning woman, a neighborhood costume party, and a surprise visit from their movie star sister Masha and her sturdy new boy-toy, Spike. One of the funniest dramatists writing today, Christopher Durang's latest Broadway hit turns Chekhov on its head and his signature blend of comedy and absurdity has never been more endearing — or relentlessly funny."
The Grapes of Wrath
By Frank Galati, from the novel by John Steinbeck
Directed by Michael Donald Edwards
March 12-April 19, 2014
"Frank Galati's groundbreaking adaptation of Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel won the Tony Award for Best Play and has become a national theatrical treasure. This quintessential American story of hope and survival follows the Joad family's epic journey from the dust bowl of Oklahoma to the promised land of California in search of land, jobs and dignity. A soaring affirmation of the goodness, strength and perseverance of the human spirit, The Grapes of Wrath provides the perfect canvas for an examination of a nation in search of itself."
By Amy Herzog
April 2-27, 2014
In the Historic Asolo Theater
"This funny and moving masterpiece looks at how two outsiders find their way in the world today. 21-year-old Leo has just bicycled 4,000 miles from Seattle to the West Village apartment of his grandmother, Vera. When his overnight sleepover turns into an extended stay, Vera's surprising political views collide with Leo's carefree hippie lifestyle and the two become a veritable odd couple. Slowly, Leo begins to reveal the mysterious events of his journey and the two discover the narrow line between growing up and growing old."
Book and concept by Aaron Thielen
Music and lyrics by Michael Mahler
Directed by David H. Bell
April 29-June 1, 2014
"Instantly engaging and full of heart, Hero was a smashing success in its world premiere run at Chicago's Marriott Theatre in 2012. Now, Asolo Rep presents this delightful musical as it continues its journey toward a very promising future. Aspiring comic book artist Hero Batowski lives anything but a superhero life — he's 28 years old, works in his family's Milwaukee comic book shop, and still lives at home with his dad. A long-ago tragedy left Hero unable to move on, but when a series of unexpected events occur, he must decide whether he's ready to get his life on track. With a sensational pop/rock score, this bright new musical depicts the extraordinary moments in ordinary life that bring out the superhero in all of us."
Greg Leaming, Curator "Asolo Rep's new play festival returns, with readings planned for April 2014. Full details, titles and final dates will be confirmed in 2014."
To Be Announced
June 10-29, 2014
For more information, visit AsoloRep.org.