D.C.'s Arena to Premiere Brewster Place Musical and Vogel's Civil War Christmas in 2006-07

News   D.C.'s Arena to Premiere Brewster Place Musical and Vogel's Civil War Christmas in 2006-07
Arena Stage's 2006-07 season will feature the world premiere musical, The Women of Brewster Place, written by the creator of the cult Off-Broadway show Zanna, Don't!

Drawn from the Gloria Naylor novel, which was also made into a TV movie, The Women of Brewster Place "depicts seven courageous black women living on Brewster Place and their struggles against poverty, racism and troublesome men," according to the season announcement by the resident theatre in Washington, D.C. "By exploring America's African-American working class, the musical delves into the personal relationships, dreams and desires of a group of women who persevere in the face of life's disappointments.

Book, music and lyrics are by Tim Acito. This "world premiere musical adaptation vividly portrays the intense struggle all human beings face in their quest for happier lives."

Arena artistic director Molly Smith will direct the production, to play Arena's Kreeger Theatre May 4-June 24, 2007.

Also on the Arena slate is the world premiere family musical, A Civil War Christmas, by Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel (How I Learned to Drive), commissioned by Arena Stage.

The unique show — to play Nov. 17-Dec. 31 in the Fichandler — is billed as an "epic musical drama, a new family tradition set in the final days of the Civil War. On the banks of the frozen Potomac, a Union quartermaster, a freedman blacksmith, and a Confederate raider sit down to a stolen Christmas Eve supper. Against staff advice, President Abraham Lincoln plans a daring solo ride across town to collect his wife's present. And a few miles away at Mary Surratt's boarding house, John Wilkes Booth toasts newly made plans. These stories mingle with evocative period songs like 'All Quiet Along the Potomac' and 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' for a truly unforgettable night of theatre." The Wendy Wasserstein and August Wilson will be represented by productions of their work in the coming year. Also on the Arena schedule:

  • Cabaret, the Kander and Ebb musical, directed by Molly Smith and starring Meg Gillentine as Sally Bowles. Sept. 8-Oct. 29 in the Kreeger.
  • Nine Parts of Desire, the solo show portraying Iraqi women, written and performed by Heather Raffo, directed by Joanna Settle. Sept. 29-Nov. 12 in the Kreeger.
  • Michael Frayn's backstage farce, Noises Off. Dec. 15-Jan. 28, 2007 in the Kreeger.
  • August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean, set in 1904 Pittsburgh, where 287-year-old matriarch Aunt Ester befriends a tortured soul, Citizen Barlow, who has broken into her home because he heard that she has the power to "wash souls clean," directed by Paulette Randall. Jan. 26-March 18, 2007 in the Fichandler.
  • Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, the two-actor romance about broken, less-than-glamorous would-be lovers who may be each other's last chance, directed by Kyle Donnelly. Feb. 23-April 8, 2007 in the Kreeger.
  • The Heidi Chronicles, Wendy Wasserstein's Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning tale of a liberated woman between the 1960s and 1980s, and how she finds contentment in a world where her sisterhood seems to have abandoned her, directed by Tazewell Thompson. April 6-May 13, 2007 in the Fichandler. For more information about one of the nation's oldest resident Equity theatres, visit www.arenastage.org.

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