Arena Stage to Offer Two New Plays Plus Other Desert Cities, Good People, The Mountaintop, My Fair Lady | Playbill

News Arena Stage to Offer Two New Plays Plus Other Desert Cities, Good People, The Mountaintop, My Fair Lady
Arena Stage's 2012-13 subscription season at The Mead Center for American Theater will include the world premiere of Cheryl L. West's Pullman Porter Blues, artistic director Molly Smith's staging of My Fair Lady (in the round) and the Broadway titles Good People, The Mountaintop and Other Desert Cities, among other works.

Artistic director Molly Smith
Artistic director Molly Smith Photo by Scott Suchman

There will be eight productions on subscription for the company's third year in its lavish new home, the Mead Center for American Theater.

The music of Janis Joplin will find a home in the season, as will Tony Award winner Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses, her collection of Greek myths told in and around a pool of water (in the round). Also expect the world premiere of writer-director Tazewell Thompson's play Mary T. & Lizzy K., which is the first of Arena's "American Presidents Project," a multi-year cycle "where playwrights and ensembles will develop work inspired by the lives and legacies of our nation's presidents."

Additional programming in the 2012-13 season will be announced at a later date.

Here's the 2012-13 season of Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater at a glance:

One Night with Janis Joplin
Written and directed by Randy Johnson
Sept. 28-Nov. 4
Kreeger Theater

"With a voice like whiskey and a laugh like pure joy, Janis Joplin took the music scene by storm. Simultaneously rough and vulnerable, Joplin was dubbed the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll, proving music wasn't just a man's world anymore. Packed with classic songs ('Piece of My Heart,' 'Summertime,' 'Mercedes Benz'), the show also shines the spotlight on trailblazers who influenced Janis — like Bessie Smith, Etta James and Aretha Franklin. Now, in a new musical event featuring more than a dozen singers and band members, playwright-director Randy Johnson creates a portrait of an artist through the words, inspiration and music of one of America's greatest rock originals." My Fair Lady
Based on Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
Book and Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe
Directed by Molly Smith
Nov. 2, 2012-Jan. 6, 2013
Fichandler Stage

"Just as Molly Smith's record-breaking production of Oklahoma! was enthralling audiences at Arena, her fresh reinterpretation of My Fair Lady set the all-time box office record at the prestigious Shaw Festival in Canada. And now Molly is reassembling her creative team to bring this breathtaking musical to Arena Stage. When Professor Henry Higgins wagers he can transform a Cockney flower girl into an aristocratic lady, he never guesses that Eliza Doolittle will in turn transform him. Lerner and Loewe's sparkling score includes such enduring favorites as 'I Could Have Danced All Night,' 'Wouldn't It Be Loverly,' 'The Rain in Spain,' 'On the Street Where You Live' and 'Get Me to the Church on Time.'"

Pullman Porter Blues
A world-premiere co-production with Seattle Repertory Theatre
By Cheryl L. West
Directed by Lisa Peterson
Nov. 23, 2012-Jan. 6, 2013
Kreeger Theater

"Jam-packed with 14 original and classic blues songs, including 'Sweet Home Chicago,' Pullman Porter Blues is the world-premiere production that reveals the true hero hidden within every man. It's June 1937 and the Panama Limited, bound from Chicago to New Orleans, is bouncing to the beat of the rollicking Midwest blues. Most folks are tuned in to the Joe Louis/James Braddock championship bout, but the men of the Sykes family — three generations of porters — know there's more at stake than just a boxing title, as they battle each other, racial tensions and an uncertain future. Will the hope they get from the Brown Bomber be the fuel this family needs to make a better life, or will progress tear them apart?"

Good People
By David Lindsay-Abaire
Directed by Jackie Maxwell
Feb. 1-March 10, 2013
Kreeger Theater

"Enter South Boston's Lower End, where minimum wage is the maximum wage and hard work and sacrifice don't ensure success. Facing eviction, single mother and mouthy 'Southie' native Margaret Walsh reunites with an old flame who 'made good,' hoping that his fortune can somehow improve her own. But not every man wants to relive his past, and with each surprising twist of their meeting they discover the dire costs the truth can hold. From Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole) and named the Best Play by the New York Drama Critics' Circle during its Broadway run, Good People is a drama about life in a broke and broken American town."

Lookingglass Theatre Company's production of 
Based on the myths of Ovid
Written and directed by Mary Zimmerman
Feb. 8-March 17, 2013
Fichandler Stage

"Back in DC for the first time since her smash hit productions of The Arabian Nights and Candide, and 10 years after this exquisite production stormed Broadway and earned her the Tony Award for Best Director, MacArthur 'Genius' Mary Zimmerman returns with Metamorphoses. Zimmerman's magical interpretation of Ovid's Metamorphoses proves myths about romance, family, loss and redemption never go out of style. Through lyrical storytelling and stunning imagery, Zimmerman constructs a wondrous world where gods and mortals interact in a giant pool on Arena's famous in-the-round stage. These timeless stories ripple through the depths of imagination, reminding us of the transformative power of theater."

Mary T. & Lizzy K.
Arena Stage commission and world premiere
Written and directed by Tazewell Thompson
March 15-April 28, 2013
Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle

"Writer-director Tazewell Thompson (director of M. Butterfly, Yellowman) stitches together an insider's look at the unlikely friendship between First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln and her talented seamstress, the successful freed slave Elizabeth Keckly. As one woman's skilled hands work overtime, creating the most beautiful garments of her career, the other's reality continues to slip ever further from her grasp. Old wounds and new recriminations explode in this riveting drama about loss, love and the importance of promises, both kept and broken."

The Mountaintop
By resident playwright Katori Hall
Directed by Robert O'Hara
March 29-May 12, 2013
Kreeger Theater

"The Mountaintop is Katori Hall's bold reimagining of the last night of the historic life of Dr. Martin Luther King. Exhausted from delivering a significant speech, Dr. King rests in his room at the Lorraine Motel when an unexpected visit from a feisty, young maid compels him to confront his own humanity and the fate of our nation. Winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Play, the play's fuses theatricality with spirituality to reach a summit that will leave audiences breathless."

Other Desert Cities
By Jon Robin Baitz
Directed by Kyle Donnelly
April 26-May 26, 2013
Fichandler Stage

"After a six-year absence, Brooke Wyeth returns to her Reaganite parents' Palm Springs enclave for the holidays. But the warm desert air turns chilly when news of her upcoming memoir threatens to revive the most painful chapter of the family’s history. Perception and reality grapple with love and mercy as old family wounds are opened, childhood memories are tested, and the Wyeth clan learns that some secrets cannot stay buried forever. Full of surprisingly touching moments, Pulitzer Prize nominee Jon Robin Baitz (A Fair Country) brings dysfunctional family drama to new heights in this witty, deeply enjoyable work."

Subscription packages are now on sale and may be purchased by calling the Arena Stage Sales Office at (202) 488-3300 or by visiting

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