Kentucky's Actors Theatre of Louisville has announced its 2020–2021 season, including part of the 45th Humana Festival of New American Plays. The upcoming season will feature a new musical detailing the rise of Paramount Records, a new production of Steel Magnolias helmed by Obie winner Leah C. Gardiner, and a new play by Idris Goodwin exploring a defining moment in the story of Muhammad Ali.
Kicking off the season in the summer will be Chasin’ Dem Blues: Untold Story of Paramount Records, a musical from writer-director-choreographer Kevin Ramsey. Featuring four actor-musicians playing well-known jazz, ragtime, gospel, and blues, the musical will celebrate the music of Paramount Records—a small-town Wisconsin label that became the leading producer of early blues pioneers, including Ma Rainey, Louis Armstrong, Alberta Hunter, and Blind Lemon Jefferson. Performances will run June 17–August 2.
In the fall, Gardiner helms an all-new production of Robert Harling's beloved Southern classic Steel Magnolias. In a small Louisiana town’s beauty shop, women of all ages and backgrounds are brought together in good times and bad. Performances will run September 23–October 11.
In November, Actors Theatre will present Brian Quijada’s acclaimed solo show, Where Did We Sit on the Bus?. Fusing rap, hip-hop, spoken word, and live looping, Quijada explores what it means to come of age in a Latinx immigrant family, wonders about his people’s place in American history, and examines identity and art.
In January 2021, Executive Artistic Director Robert Barry Fleming directs Romeo and Juliet, followed by the 45th Humana Festival of New American Plays in the spring. The lineup features a new work by acclaimed playwright, poet, and Humana Festival alum Goodwin. Titled Ali Summit, the play will look at Muhammad Ali's conscientious objection to serving in the Vietnam War. Performances will run March 24–April 11.
The full lineup for the 45th Humana Festival of New American Plays, running February 28 to April 11 will be announced in the fall. The 2020–2021 season also includes Actors Theatre traditions, Fifth Third Bank’s Dracula, which runs September 8–November 1, and Fifth Third Bank’s A Christmas Carol, November 24–December 23. Check out the season at ActorsTheatre.org.