OUR TOWN, FOREVER, THE SECOND MRS. WILSON and More Set for Long Wharf Theatre's 50th Anniversary Season
"Long Wharf Theatre's 50th anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate our rich history and to set our course for the future. This season presents a mix of classics and new work that will surprise and delight our loyal audiences, while engaging them in some important issues of our day," said Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein.
The season will begin in October with Thornton Wilder's Our Town, directed by Edelstein on the Mainstage. Edelstein plans to present the production in a manner that mirrors the diversity of America today. "Our Town is one of the greatest plays written by an American in the 20th century. It is a profound meditation on life and death. The world of Our Town has changed since Wilder first wrote the play. Our production will endeavor to capture what our town is today, reflecting our city, our country, and our lives," he said.
Following Long Wharf Theatre's successful run of Steve Martin's The Underpants in the 2013-14 Season, the famous funnyman's writing returns with Picasso at the Lapin Agile on the Mainstage in November. "The play is a comic celebration of genius and ingenuity at the dawn of the 20th century. With brilliant comic arias and surprises at every turn, it is Steve Martin's homage to the genius and amazing thought that will be born in the 20th century," he said.
Dael Orlandersmith, who enthralled Long Wharf Theatre audiences in productions of Yellowman and The Blue Album, returns to Stage II in January with her newest work, Forever, an intimate look at family and identity, directed by Neel Keller. "Dael Orlandersmith has been an important part of Long Wharf Theatre's theatrical legacy for two decades. She is one of the most unflinching, honest and powerful voices in the American theatre. She returns to us with her most powerful piece yet," Edelstein said.
Bad Jews, by Joshua Harmon, will take Stage II in February. Cousins get together in the wake of their grandfather's death to work out exactly what his legacy means in their own lives. The New York Times described the play as "the best comedy of the season."
brownsville song (b-side for tray), a new play by Kimber Lee and directed by Associate Artistic Director Eric Ting in March, personifies the plague of urban violence through the experiences of a teenager and his family. Lee was interested in exploring the way time moves during periods of grief, she said. The play will be co-produced with Philadelphia Theater Company. "This is a beautiful play. I wish we could say that the subject is no longer current, that it is outdated, but sadly that is not the case. A vibrant, great kid who is getting his life together gets killed. This play is about the repercussions of that. We hope this play will create conversations in our community," Edelstein said.
Long Wharf Theatre will dramatize a fascinating event in our nation's history in the world premiere of The Second Mrs. Wilson by Joe DiPietro, directed by Edelstein, closing the season. "This is an astonishing story of a woman's victory in a world run by men. For many months, First Lady Edith Wilson ran the country. Woodrow Wilson was incapacitated by stroke, the legacy of World War I was looming in Europe, and the League of Nations was in jeopardy. Through her wit, intelligence, and political savvy, she surprised everyone around her," Edelstein said.
Subscriptions are already on sale. Single tickets will go on sale Monday, August 4. For more information about the 50th anniversary season, visit www.longwharf.org or call 203-787-4282.
Long Wharf Theatre's 50th Anniversary Season:
BY THORNTON WILDER
DIRECTED BY GORDON EDELSTEIN
CLAIRE TOW STAGE IN THE C. NEWTON SCHENCK III THEATRE OCTOBER 9-NOVEMBER 2, 2014
PRESS OPENING: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2014
EMILY: Do human beings ever realize life while they live it -- every, every minute? STAGE MANAGER: No. The saints and poets maybe. They do some.
An unquestioned classic of the American theatre told with sly humor and profound meaning, we are transported to Grover's Corners, a place of secret wishes and disappointments, loves and losses, where the people we meet are shockingly like the ones in our own lives. Meet Emily and George. They've grown up together in their small New England town, falling in love in a surprisingly complicated way. Their growing up, their living, and their dying provide the lens through which the story is told, a story that focuses on a village but encompasses the eternal, finding the world in a grain of sand.
PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE
BY STEVE MARTIN
DIRECTED BY GORDON EDELSTEIN
CLAIRE TOW STAGE IN THE C. NEWTON SCHENCK III THEATRE NOVEMBER 26-DECEMBER 21, 2014
PRESS OPENING: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2014
PICASSO: I could dream it forever and still not do it, but when the time comes for it to be done, God, I want to be ready for it.
What happens when Picasso and Einstein walk into a bar? Intellectual fireworks, verbal gymnastics, amorous intentions, and the arrival of a mysterious man in blue suede shoes. On an October evening in 1904, Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso end up at the same small bar in Paris - the Lapin Agile. The two young geniuses, joined by an eccentric cast of characters, spar over art and science, their respective libidos, where inspiration comes from, and the promise and dreams of the 20th century. Steve Martin brings his zany and profoundly intelligent brand of humor back to Long Wharf Theatre. --- No joke is too low brow and no idea too high brow to be considered in this crowd pleasing comedy.
BY DAEL ORLANDERSMITH DIRECTED BY NEEL KELLER WORLD PREMIERE
JANUARY 2-FEBRUARY 1, 2015
PRESS OPENING: WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015
DAEL: You knew at a very young age how cruel the world can be And You found the beauty/strength to defend yourself against that cruelty And Then you turned the world on its ear
Dael Orlandersmith visits the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris, searching gravestones for the famous and the obscure while watching the living wander past. The memories come quickly, haunting Orlandersmith with thoughts of her challenging relationship with her own mother. A spellbinding tale of growing up in poverty in Harlem in the 1960s, Forever is about the trauma in her life, and her search for identity, forgiveness, and love. Orlandersmith's raw emotion is balanced with superior artistry in this world premiere from one of theatre's most innovative voices.
BY JOSHUA HARMON
FEBRUARY 18-MARCH 22, 2015
PRESS OPENING: WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2015
DAPHNA: Chai? It's the Hebrew word for life ... It's made of gold, it's not very big, and Poppy wore it on a chain around his neck his whole life.
When Daphna arrived at the funeral of her beloved grandfather, she thought it was obvious that she would get her Poppy's chai, a religious necklace he carried throughout the Holocaust. After all, she's the one on the way to rabbinical school with plans to move to Israel. Her cousin Liam arrived with his girlfriend Melody with a very different plan in mind. A biting comedy about the perhaps not always discernible difference between being devout and devouring, Bad Jews deals with issues of legacy and tradition with humor and wit.
brownsville song (b-side for tray)
BY KIMBER LEE
DIRECTED BY ERIC TING
CLAIRE TOW STAGE IN THE C. NEWTON SCHENCK III THEATRE A co-production with Philadelphia Theatre Company
MARCH 25-APRIL 19, 2015
PRESS OPENING: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1, 2015
TRAY: I am writing my own story and this is not the end. This is the beginning.
This shatteringly poetic and beautiful story jumps between a hopeful future and an uncertain present to show a unique perspective on the scourge of urban violence. Eighteen-year-old Tray is committed to making something of himself. He's working on his college essays, boxing at the gym, and holding down a part time job. When he happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, a senseless act ends his life, leaving his family to ponder what might have been.
THE SECOND MRS. WILSON
BY JOE DiPIETRO
DIRECTED BY GORDON EDELSTEIN
CLAIRE TOW STAGE IN THE C. NEWTON SCHENCK III THEATRE WORLD PREMIERE
MAY 6-31, 2015
PRESS OPENING: MAY 13, 2015
EDITH: Mark my word, someday my husband will rise from that bed, and stand before us and either thank us for saving his presidency, or curse us for throwing it all away. That is the choice God has put before us. And that is the choice I put before you now.
1919. In the aftermath of World War I, First Lady Edith Wilson believes her new husband, President Woodrow Wilson, was put on earth by God to prevent future cataclysms and build a League of Nations, assuring peace across the globe. When her husband's health is threatened, Edith takes unprecedented steps, including keeping the Vice President and the Congress at bay, to assure that their dream will come to pass. Asserting her own will in the old boys' club of Washington, D.C., the First Lady protects her husband while claiming a slice of power for herself. The Second Mrs. Wilson chronicles a unique incident in United States history with intrigue and excitement.