The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Announces 2017–2018 Season | Playbill

Los Angeles News The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Announces 2017–2018 Season
Joe Morton (Scandal) comes to the Los Angeles venue, plus the return of Kneehigh Theatre and the world premiere of Jackie Unveiled.
The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Glenn Francis

The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts has announced their upcoming 2017–2018 Season. This season brings with it 250 performances from dance, music, and theatre; the lineup includes the return of Kneehigh (946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips) and the world premiere of Jacking Unveiled.

Joe Morton
Joe Morton in Turn Me Loose Monique Carboni

The season kicks off October 8 with the comedic drama about the life of the first black comedian to expose white audiences to racial comedy. Joe Morton (Scandal) stars as Dick Gregory in Gretchen Law’s Turn Me Loose. Gregory is regarded as one of the comics who inspired multiple generations of black comics from Richard Pryor to Chris Rock. He was also mentioned by President Obama as one of his all-time favorite comedians. Directed by John Gould Rubin, the show will run October 13–29.

Conceived, designed, and directed by Hamid Rahmanian, Fathers Of Fire: A Persian Epic is the second show in the season. This shadow play is inspired by the 10th Century Persian epic Shahnameh. It tells the story of star-crossed lovers who, faced with seemingly insurmountable odds, triumph. The production runs October 20–29.

November at the Wallis brings with it the classic tale of Robin Hood. David Farr’s The Heart of Robin Hood is a new twist on history’s most famous bandit. In this reimagining, Robin and his men do indeed steal from the rich, but this band of cutthroats never considers the poor. It takes a bold Marion to take over and convince Robin and his gang to change for the better. Directed by Gisli Örn Gardarsson and Selma Björnsdóttir, the play with music runs November 28–December 17.

The 2018 portion of the season starts with the Charles Dickens classic, Great Expectations. The production, adapted by Andrew McPherson, is the tale of young Pip whose chance encounter with an escaped convict sets in motion events that will change his life forever. Directed by Simon Harvey and performed by David Mynne, the production runs February 8–11.

The world premiere of Jackie Unveiled runs February 22–March 11. Written by Tom Dugan and directed by Jenny Sullivan, Jackie Unveiled is a new look at America’s most popular first lady. Much has been discussed about her status as a fashion icon and for her strength and grace, but behind all that, she was still human. The veil is literally pulled back for an insight into Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as a person.

Kneehigh returns to the Wallis with The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk by Daniel Jamieson. Marc and Bella Chagall were partners in life and on the canvas. The two have been hailed as having one of the most romantic marriages of the 20th century. The production takes a look at the young couple finding their way in a tumultuous world full of revolution. Directed by Emma Rice, the production runs February 23–March 11.

Sheldon Epps
Sheldon Epps

Conceived and directed by Sheldon Epps, Blues in the Night, runs April 27–May 20. The story of three women and their experiences with the lying and cheating men in their lives is told through iconic songs by legendary blues artists such as Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, and Harold Arlen.

Hershey Felder: Beethoven, written and performed by Hershey Felder, brings the legendary composer to life through the eyes of a Viennese doctor who spent much of his childhood at the Maestro’s side. The solo show is directed by Joel Zwick and will run July 26–August 12.

“The range and accessibility of our programming—that showcases local, national, and international artists bringing wonderful stories and remarkable performances to our stages—strive to attract and reflect the diversity that encompasses us in Los Angeles,” said the Wallis’ artistic director Paul Crewes. “The Wallis is a home for artists and audiences alike who want to explore, celebrate and embrace creativity, and I am extremely proud of the works that we are producing and presenting in the new 2017–2018 season.”

The Wallis will continue to host its Music at the Wallis by bringing groups and orchestras from around L.A. as well as from around the world. Dance at the Wallis will also continue to include work from the new ‘company-in-residence,’ L.A. Dance Project. The season also contains several special events throughout the year, including Gene Kelly: The Legacy, and an evening with Patricia Ward Kelly. For more information about the current and upcoming seasons, visit


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