Kennedy Center's 2009-2010 Season to Feature Three McNally Plays, Blanchett and Ebersole | Playbill

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News Kennedy Center's 2009-2010 Season to Feature Three McNally Plays, Blanchett and Ebersole The 2009-2010 theatre season at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will feature three opera-oriented Terrence McNally plays — Master Class, The Lisbon Traviata and Golden Age — performed concurrently in three different theatres at the famed Washington, DC, venue.

Terrence McNally
Terrence McNally Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The McNally celebration, titled Nights at the Opera, will be part of a season that also includes the American premiere of the Sydney Theatre Company's A Streetcar Named Desire; the return of Barbara Cook's Spotlight concert series; the national tours of August: Osage County, Young Frankenstein, Mary Poppins and Thurgood; and Norman, a production created by Montreal's 4D Art.

The season will kick off in the Terrace Theater with the return of Barbara Cook's Spotlight series, which shines a concert light on some of Broadway's favorite performers. The series will boast concerts by Cheyenne Jackson (Oct. 9), Christine Ebersole (Nov. 14), Karen Akers (Dec. 12), Sunday in the Park with George's Daniel Evans and Jenna Russell (April 30, 2010) and Jessica Molaskey and John Pizzarelli (June 4, 2010).

The Sydney Theatre Company's production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire will make its American premiere in the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater Oct. 29-Nov. 21, 2009. Directed by Liv Ullmann, the cast boasts Academy Award winner — and STC co-artistic director — Cate Blanchett as Blanche DuBois.

Norman, a new offering from Montreal's 4D Art will play the Eisenhower Feb. 3-5, 2010. Created as a tribute to filmmaker Norman McLaren, the production, according to press notes, "presents a journey of initiation into McLaren's playful animated landscapes in the company of dancer/choreographer Peter Trosztmer. Using unique virtual reality visual language and multimedia techniques, Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon immerse the audience in the movement, abstraction, and humanism characteristic of the filmmaker's oeuvre."

Terrence McNally's Nights at the Opera, which comprises the McNally plays Master Class, The Lisbon Traviata and Golden Age, will be presented March 12-April 18. Chicago Tony winner Walter Bobbie will direct Master Class — about the life of the late opera diva Maria Callas — March 25-April 18, 2010, in the Eisenhower Theater.

The Lisbon Traviata — which reflects on romantic obsession and diva worship — will play the Terrace Theater. Christopher Ashley will direct the March 20-April 11, 2010 run.

Golden Age — a co-production with the Philadelphia Theatre Company — will play the Family Theater March 12-April 4, 2010. McNally's latest play, according to the Kennedy Center, takes "place backstage at the Théâtre-Italien in Paris on the evening of January 24, 1835. The occasion is the premiere of Vincenzo Bellini's opera, 'I Puritani.' Assembled are the composer and his faithful friend, Francesco Florimo, and the four singers for whom the opera was expressly composed known the world over as The Puritani Quartet. Bellini's rivalry with his fellow Italian composer, Gaetano Donizetti, for French favor was at its height. This opera was to cement his supremacy. It was to be his last."

The Kennedy Center will also host the national tours of August: Osage County (Nov. 24-Dec. 20, 2009 in the Eisenhower Theater), Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein (Dec. 15, 2009-Jan. 10, 2010 in the Opera House), Laurence Fishburne in Thurgood (June 1-20, 2010 in the Eisenhower Theater) and Mary Poppins (beginning July 1, 2010) in the Opera House.

The long-running Shear Madness continues to play the Kennedy Center's Theater Lab.

Offerings in the Kennedy Center's Young Audiences Season include Barrio Grrrl: The Musical (written by In the Heights' Quiara Alegría Hudes with music by In the Heights' Bill Sherman, directed by Peter Flynn), Oct. 24-Nov. 15, 2009, in the Family Theater; Teddy Roosevelt and the Ghostly Mistletoe (written by Tom Isbell, music by Mark Russell, directed by Gregg Henry), Dec. 4-30, 2009, in the Family Theater; and Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical (adapted by Mo Willems from his book, music by Michael Silversher), May 8-16, 2010 in the Family Theater).

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