August Wilson's final installments in his ten-play Century Cycle will kick off the Alliance season. Running in repertory, Gem of the Ocean and Radio Golf bookend Wilson's ambitious account of the African-American experience.
Both productions will feature the same company of actors, running Aug. 29-Sept. 28. Kenny Leon will stage Gem of the Ocean, while Alliance associate artistic director Kent Gash will direct Radio Golf.
Set in 1904, Gem of the Ocean begins "on the eve of the 285th birthday of Aunt Ester (a recurring character in Wilson’s play cycle). Citizen Barlow, a man who is in spiritual turmoil, arrives at Aunt Ester's house in Pittsburgh's Hill District and is soon set off on a spiritual journey to find the mythic City of Bones, leading him to startling discoveries and setting him on a course of duty and redemption."
In Radio Golf "Harmond Wilks, a charming and powerful African-American politician, is running for the highest office of his career, with the loving support of his savvy wife, Mame," according to show notes. "As Harmond steps into political prominence, the past is just a few steps behind him ... and gaining fast."
Alliance artistic director Susan V. Booth will stage the world premiere of Janece Shaffer's Managing Maxine – "a story about getting a second chance at love, even at age 70" – Oct. 8-Nov. 2. Andrew Lloyd Webber's popular rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar gets a gospel re-haul from Louis St. Louis from Jan. 14-Feb. 8, 2008. St. Louis, in association with Lloyd Webber, promises a new production that pairs some of Atlanta's premiere gospel choirs with professional actors.
As previously reported by Playbill.com, horror novelist Stephen King has teamed up with musician John Mellencamp to create the dark new musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County for the Alliance.
"In 1957, in the tiny town of Lake Belle Reve, Mississippi, a terrible tragedy took the lives of two brothers and a beautiful young girl. During the next forty years, the events of that night became a local legend," press notes for Ghost Brothers state. "But legend is often just another word for lie. Joe McCandless knows what really happened; he saw it all…" The world premiere production will run April 15-May 10, 2009.
Meanwhile, the Alliance's Hertz Stage will present the world premiere comedy revue The Second City: Too Busy To Hate… Too Hard To Commute. Created in partnership with Chicago's Second City troupe, the presentation runs Sept. 19-Oct. 12.
Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition winner Julia Brownell will see the Atlanta staging of her comedy Smart Cookie on the Hertz Stage Jan. 30-Feb. 22, 2009. Staged by Susan V. Booth, Smart Cookie follows a Type-A Park Avenue wife whose life is turned upside down when her perfect son brings home a pregnant exchange student.
The Hertz Stage season concludes with the world premiere of 26 Miles by Pulitzer Prize finalist Quiara Alegría Hudes. Kent Gash directs the work described as a "tender and funny story of a teenager and her mother on the road trip of their lives," running March 20-April 12, 2009.
Family programming at the Alliance includes the holiday presentation of A Christmas Carol (Nov. 28-Dec. 24) as well as children's theatre productions of Goodnight Moon (Nov. 3-16) and Class of 3000 Live (March 6-29, 2009).
Subscriptions for the 2008-2009 Alliance Theatre season begin sale March 2, with single tickets available in summer of 2008. For tickets and information phone (404) 733-5000 or visit www.alliancetheatre.org.
The Alliance Theatre is located within the Woodruff Arts Center, at the corner of Peachtree Street and 15th Street, in Atlanta, GA.