Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company's 2020–2021 season will include works by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael R. Jackson, Ryan J. Haddad, Kareem M. Lucas, Madeline Sayet, and more. The D.C. venue will announce dates for shows on an ongoing basis, once the theatre is certain it can move forward responsibly and ensure the health and safety of staff, artists, and audiences.
The season will launch with two world premieres: Ryan J. Haddad in Hi, Are You Single, his solo show about navigating the complexities of love as a gay man with cerebral palsy; and Kareem M. Lucas’ Black Is Beautiful, But It Ain't Always Pretty, an epic poem about one Black man’s journey on the path to self-discovery.
Obie-winning composer and performer Heather Christian's Animal Wisdom will follow. Co-directed by Emilyn Kowaleski and Mark Rosenblatt, the Bushwick Starr production is a cabaret grounded in blues and inspired by conversations between Christian and her now-deceased relatives. Moritz von Stuelpnagel will direct Mike Lew's Teenage Dick, which had been scheduled for last season. The darkly comic re-telling of Shakespeare’s Richard III, set in a high school, is presented in association with the Huntington Theatre Company.
Among Woolly’s other collaborations: a partnership with Folger Theatre on Madeline Sayet's Where We Belong, an autobiographical account of an Indigenous theatre-maker who, through her study of Shakespeare, finds that the U.K. has yet to reckon with its colonial past; and Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon's Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower, a co-production with Strathmore that recreates Butler's sci-fi, Afro-futurist work on stage. Mei Ann Teo directs Where We Belong, and Eric Ting directs Parable of the Sower.
The season concludes with the previously announced engagement of Michael R. Jackson's Pulitzer Prize and Obie-winning A Strange Loop. Directed by Stephen Brackett, choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly, and music-directed by Rona Siddiqui, the musical follows a young artist at war with a host of demons, including the punishing thoughts in his own head. Barbara Whitman is attached as a commercial producer for a potential Broadway transfer.
Woolly will also offer works that can be experienced from home, expect creations from playwright Amir Nizar Zuabi, Telephonic Literary Union, Brittany K. Allen, Christopher Chen, Hansol Jung, Sarah Lunnie, Stowe Nelson, Zeniba Now, and Yuvika Tolani.
The theatre is also offering a new subscription plan, "The Golden Ticket," a one-time cost that grants admission to any show, in any seat, as many times as a person wants. Dates and seats can be selected whenever the patron is ready to make plans to attend. Golden Ticket holders will also have access to any additional projects or events added during the season.
“Although we do not know what the future holds, Woolly will lean into our long history of experimentation and adaptability to meet this moment. We are here to celebrate joy, build resilience, and provide cultural nourishment, and we will do so by expanding the definition of what our theatre can be,” shared Artistic Director Maria Manuela Goyanes and Managing Director Emika Abe in a joint statement. “This adaptation will align with the physical and emotional well-being of our community and include furthering our stated commitments to artistic innovation and radical inclusivity, onstage and off. Using the principles of anti-racism to guide us, we are eager to continue to dive into the full scope of this work.
“We see Woolly as an essential space to make art that is grappling with the tremendous complexity of what it means to be human in this world. This season, whenever and however you get to see it, exemplifies the transformative power of storytelling and the unique capability of theatre to mend a fractured spirit.”