A.R.T. Season Includes Witness Uganda and The Tempest With Music and Magic by Tom Waits and Teller
By Adam Hetrick
The American Repertory Theater has announced additional productions for its 2013-14 season, including a new adaptation of The Tempest, featuring music by Tom Waits, which is directed and adapted by Aaron Posner and magician Teller.
As previously reported, Robert Schenkkan's All the Way, which captures the abruptly changing political landscape of America in the 1960s, will open the American Repertory Theater season Sept. 13 at the Loeb Drama Center in Cambridge, MA. Schenkkan is also the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of The Kentucky Cycle. Bill Rauch will direct the play about the assassination of John F. Kennedy that thrust Lyndon Baines Johnson into the role of U.S. President.
Following will be David Farr's The Heart of Robin Hood, directed by Gisli Örn Gardarsson, which will begin in December. According to A.R.T., "The notorious Robin Hood and his band of outlaws steal from the rich, but they do not share their spoils with the poor and are unloved by the people, who must also pay unfair taxes to the evil Prince John as he plots to steal his brother's crown. In this time of chaos and fear, it is down to Marion to boldly protect the poor and convince Robin that he must listen to his heart if they are to save the country."
The musical for young audiences, The Light Princess, featuring a book by Lila Rose Kaplan, with music and lyrics by Mike Pettry, will also begin in December. Allegra Libonati will direct the "whimsical tale of a Princess who is cursed to not have any gravity. The King and Queen must find the Princess' gravity before her 16th birthday, else the kingdom will fall into the hands of the Witch that cursed her."
In addition three-time Tony Award-nominated A.R.T. artistic director Diane Paulus (Hair, Porgy and Bess), currently represented on Broadway with the A.R.T. transfer of Pippin, will helm the Matt Gould-Griffin Matthews musical Witness Uganda in February 2014. The musical, inspired by a true story, documents the story of a black American volunteer who finds himself in Uganda.
The dance-theatre fusion The Shape She Makes, choreographed by Susan Misner, written and directed by Jonathan Bernstein, will begin in April 2014. "This profoundly moving new piece tells the story of a family torn apart by alcoholism," according to A.R.T. "As a substitute teacher prepares to deliver a speech at a conference for mathematical geniuses, we are taken back and forth to her childhood as a precocious 11-year old struggling to understand what she's inherited from her absent father and her bartending mother."
A new production of The Tempest, adapted and directed by Posner and Teller, of Penn & Teller, will feature music by Waits. A co-production with the Smith Center in Las Vegas, the A.R.T. production will begin in May 2014. Here's how it's billed: "Experience Prospero's wizardry as never before in this startling and mystifying production featuring magic by the illusionist Teller. When shipwrecked aristocrats wash up on the shores of Prospero’s strange island, they find themselves immersed in a world of trickery and amazement, where Tom Waits’ dusty music animates the spirits and monsters. But the revels come to an end when the master magician realizes he has neglected his life in service of his art, and must now relinquish his conjuring in order to reclaim his life and provide for the future of his only child."
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