Works by Vogel, Gordon, Hwang, Newman and Allen Set for TheatreWorks in 2009-2010

News   Works by Vogel, Gordon, Hwang, Newman and Allen Set for TheatreWorks in 2009-2010
The world premiere musicals Daddy Long Legs and Tinyard Hill and Paula Vogel's latest work, A Civil War Christmas, have been announced for the 2009-2010 TheatreWorks season.
David Henry Hwang
David Henry Hwang Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The country musical Tinyard Hill, which received a developmental staging at the Human Race Theatre in Dayton, OH, last summer, will launch the season July 15-Aug. 29 in Palo Alto. Tinyard Hill will be the main production of TheatreWorks' annual New Works Festival.

With book and lyrics by Thomas M. Newman and music by 2009 Jonathan Larson Award winner Mark Allen, Tinyard Hill is described as such: "Tinyard Hill, Georgia is a small town partial to old-time music and new-forged dreams, especially for a handsome young blacksmith hammering out a living at the historic smithy his family has owned for generations. When an out-of-this-world beauty and an out-of-the-blue draft notice arrive within days, his life is turned upside down. Set in the '60s to a foot-stompin' country-pop score, this feisty new musical tells of romance, rebellion, and patriotism in an era of irresistible change."

Following will be David Henry Hwang's semi-autobiographical work Yellow Face, running Aug. 26-Sept. 20 in Mountain View. Francis Jue, who appeared in Yellow Face at the Public Theater last winter, reprises his work in what press notes call a "ferociously funny, utterly unreliable memoir [that] chronicles David Henry Hwang's struggle to define racial identity in the mixed-up melting pot of contemporary America. Part fact, part fiction, provocative yet full of heart, this Obie Award winner is a tale of cultural politics, family fortunes, and artistic integrity, an insightful look at the pitfalls and promise of our 'P.C.' world."

Chaim Potok's 1967 work The Chosen, adapted by Aaron Posner, will be presented Oct. 7-Nov. 1 in Mountain View. According to press notes, "Warmth, wisdom, and generosity illuminate the unlikely friendship of two Jewish teenagers from very different backgrounds who grow to manhood in the post-war turbulence of 1940's Brooklyn. Discovering in one another a portal to new ideas and unexplored worlds, each must chart his course through a sea of conflicting expectations. This now-classic story of fathers and sons, faith and family, transcends ideology to reveal the universal connections of the human spirit."

TheatreWorks will also stage the West Coast premiere of Paula Vogel's A Civil War Christmas. Following its well-received Long Wharf Theatre world premiere last December, A Civil War Christmas will be staged Dec. 2-27 in Palo Alto. "This glorious tapestry of the American experience weaves fact and fiction, old-time carols, and traditional tunes into a whimsical saga of a divided nation longing for new hope. Set on a snowy Christmas Eve in Washington, 1864, it imagines celebrated figures from Abe Lincoln to Walt Whitman rubbing elbows with colorful characters drawn from every stratum of society," press notes state. Composer Paul Gordon, whose musical Emma was seen last season at TheatreWorks, will return in 2010 with his latest musical, Daddy Long Legs. Tony-winning director John Caird (Les Miserables) will stage the world premiere, which is based on the Jean Webster novel. Performances are scheduled for Jan. 20-Feb. 14, 2010, in Mountain View.

Press notes for Daddy Long Legs describe the turn-of-the-century story as "the story of Jerusha Abbott, a talented orphan sent to a prestigious college by an anonymous benefactor she whimsically dubs 'Daddy Long Legs.' Revealed through witty, wistful letters, her journey to self-sufficiency, education, and romance chronicles the emergence of a delightfully independent American woman."

The West Coast premiere of José Cruz González's comedy Sunsets and Margaritas will run March 10-April 4, 2010, in Palo Alto. Prior to its TheatreWorks engagement, Sunsets and Margaritas will premiere at the Denver Center Theatre Company in April of 2009.

"Papa Candelario is losing his grip! Once a neighborhood hotspot, his Mexican restaurant has lost some fire, and his overly-assimilated family is spinning out of control," read press notes for Sunsets. "What's a man to do when his son has visions of the Virgin, his sassy granddaughter is dating a girlfriend, and his cherished Cadillac just crashed through the kitchen wall?"

Harper Lee's American drama To Kill a Mockingbird is the penultimate offering on the TheatreWorks bill. Adapted by Christopher Sergel, Mockingbird will roost in Mountain View April 2-May 7, 2010.

"Seen through the enquiring eyes of Scout, a young tomboy learning the hard truths of prejudice and privilege in Depression-era Alabama, this endlessly engaging tale of heartache and joy, innocence and integrity, finds the search for family, justice, and common ground the defining test of the American character," read Mockingbird press notes.

The final production of the season will be Michael Hollinger's comedy Opus, which runs June 2-27 in Mountain View. Press notes for the behind-the-scenes comedy read: "An internationally famous string quartet finds both harmony and dissonance in this smart, funny, and compelling study of artistic passion. Forced to find a new member just days before an appearance at the White House, they are caught in a crescendo of talent and personality, their collaboration tested and their art insecure."

Subscriptions for the TheatreWorks season are currently available. Single tickets will begin sale June 1. For tickets phone (650) 903-6000 or visit

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