LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST, THE LAST FIVE YEARS, TRIBES and More Set for Actors Theatre of Louisville's 51st Season
Today, in the midst of preparations for one of the nation's most influential festivals of new work, the Humana Festival of New American Plays, Artistic Director Les Waters and Managing Director Jennifer Bielstein proudly announce Actors Theatre of Louisville's 2014-2015 Season.
The 51st Season lineup will include a world-premiere reimagining of Love's Labour's Lost, the musical The Last Five Years, a production of Nina Raine's emotionally-charged drama Tribes, award-winning playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney's The Brothers Size, and the return of Naomi Iizuka's At the Vanishing Point-a beautifully-observed portrait of Butchertown with an original score by Ben Sollee. From the exhilaration of infatuation to the heart-wrenching tale of lost love, from one person's fight to find a voice to the dreams and voices of an entire community, the lineup features powerful stories and some of the most exciting artists working in theatre today.
"This season celebrates and explores the wonder of life in all its complexities," said Les Waters. "I'm delighted to showcase compelling new plays from vital new voices such as Nina Raine and Tarell Alvin McCraney, alongside work by returning artists Steve Epp, Dominique Serrand, Nathan Keepers and Naomi Iizuka-theatre-makers whose work Actors Theatre has championed for a long time. This is a city that loves music, and I'm excited to introduce more music into our season. Kentucky native Ben Sollee will compose the score for a new production of At the Vanishing Point, and Associate Artistic Director Meredith McDonough will direct Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years-a terrific contemporary musical that will feature local musicians."
Jennifer Bielstein adds, "We were exhilarated by the tremendous outpouring of support shown by the community during our 50th Anniversary season. As we begin a new chapter in our history, Actors Theatre remains committed to making extraordinary theatre and offering highly flexible season packages and ticket options that offer patrons across Kentuckiana the best theatre in the region, at a price they can afford."
The 2014-2015 Brown-Forman Series will begin with Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare, reimagined in a high-octane but true-to-the-spirit production by Steve Epp, Nathan Keepers and Dominique Serrand, which will run September 2-21. Epp, Keepers and Serrand previously charmed Actors Theatre audiences with The Miser (2004) and Fissures (lost and found) (2010 Humana Festival). Epp and Serrand were the creative force behind Theatre de la Jeune Lune and currently serve as co-Artistic Directors of The Moving Company in Minneapolis, where Keepers is Associate Artistic Director. Now the master comedians return with their funny, playful and wildly theatrical take on a Shakespearean comedy. This production promises to be a delightful love letter to Shakespeare and his many courting couples.
Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years-the perfect marriage of songs and stage-will run October 7-26. Associate Artistic Director Meredith McDonough will direct the highly acclaimed musical that will feature a cast of two and six local musicians. The New York Daily News declared it "graceful, gripping, and break-your-heart beautiful," while Entertainment Weekly raved, "A stunning score! Brown may have won a Best Original Score Tony Award for 1998's Parade, but this is far and away his finest work." The Last Five Years tells the love story of Jamie and Catherine. Jamie will start from the passionate spark that ignited their romance, and Catherine will begin at the end, when the flame went out. This musical journey through their relationship-and through elation and heartbreak-captures the beauty and power of being in love, no matter how fleeting.
Under the direction of Evan Cabnet, playwright Nina Raine's emotionally-charged drama Tribes will play November 11-December 7. Since it premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 2010, Raine's powerful play has become a global hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Tribes received an Olivier Award nomination for Best New Play, was awarded a 2012 Drama Desk Award for Best New Play and picked up a New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Play. Described by The Wall Street Journal as "the best-written, best-plotted, deepest, most daring-and funniest-new play in recent years," Tribes is currently one of the top ten most-produced plays in the country. The play focuses on Billy, the youngest of three siblings in a boisterous family. He was born deaf and raised to read lips, and when he meets Sylvia, who is losing her hearing but grew up using sign language, he is introduced to new perspectives that unsettle the bonds that have defined his life until now. Tribes is a drama about the struggle to find a voice when no one's truly listening, and the power of language to lock us out-or let us in.
We begin the New Year with award-winning playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney's The Brothers Size, directed by KJ Sanchez and running January 6-February 1, 2015. Part of the trilogy The Brother/Sister Plays, The Brothers Size simultaneously premiered in New York at The Public Theater and in London at the Young Vic, where it was nominated for an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement. One of the youngest recipients of a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship (2013), McCraney was hailed by The San Francisco Chronicle as "one of the most exciting new voices in the American theatre since the arrival of Tony Kushner." Drawing on the Yoruba mythology of West Africa, the play is a poetic examination of the lives of two brothers and the friend that comes between them. Just out of prison and taken in by his brother, Oshoosi Size is ready to start his life anew. But when his cell mate appears, temptation and conflicting loyalties may imperil his newfound freedom. The lyrical tale of the Brothers Size pulses with the rhythms of the Louisiana Bayou.
The season continues as Artistic Director Les Waters directs At the Vanishing Point by Naomi Iizuka, January 27-February 15, 2015. Commissioned by Actors Theatre, the play originally premiered at the 2004 Humana Festival and was praised as a "gorgeously written" and "fine, mysterious work" in the Chicago Tribune. Iizuka returns with her beautifully-observed portrait of one of Louisville's oldest neighborhoods-intertwining memory and myth, ghosts of the past and snapshots of the present to give voice to a community. At the Vanishing Point is based on extensive interviews and research on the rich history of Butchertown. A decade after it premiered, Iizuka and Waters will revisit the banks of Beargrass Creek, creating an event that will feature an original score by Kentucky native Ben Sollee. A familiar name with local audiences, Iizuka has previously premiered four other plays at Actors Theatre: Polaroid Stories (1997 Humana Festival), Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls (1999 Humana Festival), Strike-Slip (2007 Humana Festival) and War of the Worlds (2000 Humana Festival), in collaboration with Anne Bogart and SITI Company.
In addition to the Brown-Forman Series lineup, Actors Theatre once again looks forward to celebrating the holidays with two of Louisville's favorite family traditions: the Halloween cult thriller, Fifth Third Bank's Dracula (September 12-October 31), and Fifth Third Bank's A Christmas Carol (November 25-December 23). Charles Dickens' enduring story of Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future will, after ten years, receive a magical new makeover this season, with an entirely redesigned production of Barbara Field's beloved adaptation.
The 2014-2015 Season will culminate in the Humana Festival of New American Plays, March 4-April 12, 2015. Celebrating its 39th year, the Festival continues to be the country's leading opportunity to see groundbreaking, brand-new work by some of the American theatre's most talented writers. The Festival is underwritten by the Humana Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Humana, Inc.
2014-2015 Season Ticket packages are on sale now and may be purchased by calling the Box Office at 502-584-1205. Season Ticket Holders receive up to 50% off regular single ticket prices, with 7-play Brown Forman Series Season Ticket packages starting at just $127. Season Ticket Holders also have access to pre-sale tickets for Dracula and A Christmas Carol at 20% off, which are not on sale to the public until July. Additional benefits also include flexible ticket exchanges, parking discounts and invitations to special behind-the-scenes events. Discounted packages are also available for seniors, students, educators and individuals 35 years of age and under. Single tickets for the entire 2014-2015 Season will go on sale July 28. Actors Theatre's Box Office is located at 316 West Main Street, Louisville, KY, 40202, and can be reached by calling 502-584-1205.
Actors Theatre is committed to making the theatergoing experience accessible to everyone, and offers open caption and audio-described performances throughout the season. Large print programs and assistive listening devices are also available at every performance. For a full performance schedule and more information about Actors Theatre's access services, visit http://actorstheatre.org/visit/plan-your-visit/theatre-lobby-floorplans-accessibility.
Actors Theatre of Louisville's 2014-2015 Season at a glance:
Love's Labour's Lost
by William Shakespeare
reimagined by Steve Epp, Nathan Keepers and Dominique Serrand
directed by Dominique Serrand
September 2 - 21, 2014
Opening: September 4, 2014
Pamela Brown Auditorium
Bingham Signature Shakespeare
The king and his fellow scholars vow to seclude themselves from worldly distractions, but when a lovely princess and her ladies arrive and set up camp, this oath proves harder to keep than any of them thought. This funny, playful, wildly theatrical world-premiere reimagining uses the classic comedy as its foundation, building a love letter to Shakespeare and his many courting couples.
Behind-the-Scenes Tech Event: Saturday, August 30, 2014
OFFstage@Actors: Friday September 5, 2014
Fifth Third Bank's Dracula
originally dramatized by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston from Bram Stoker's Dracula
adapted and directed by William McNulty
September 12 - October 31, 2014
Opening: September 12, 2014
Louisville's original Halloween cult thriller!
The vampire hunt is on! Experience the Halloween tradition that drips with suspense-and even more blood. This celebrated gothic fright-fest is jam-packed with plenty of thrills and chills to keep you on the edge of your seat.
The Last Five Years
book, music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
directed by Meredith McDonough
October 7 - 26, 2014
Opening: October 9, 2014
Pamela Brown Auditorium
Jamie is a writer whose star is on the rise, and Catherine is a struggling actress. On timelines that move gracefully in opposite directions, Jamie tells their story from his first infatuation onward, while Catherine shares their tale from the final moments of their marriage, moving backward toward the couple's first passionate spark. This musical journey through their relationship-and through elation and heartbreak-captures the beauty and power of being in love, no matter how fleeting.
Behind-the-Scenes Tech Event: Saturday, October 4, 2014
OFFstage@Actors: Friday, October 10, 2014
by Nina Raine
directed by Evan Cabnet
November 11 - December 7, 2014
Opening: November 13, 2014
Billy is the youngest of three adult siblings in a boisterous family. He was born deaf and raised to read lips, but has never really been heard. When he meets Sylvia, who is losing her hearing and grew up using sign language, he is introduced to new perspectives that unsettle the bonds that have defined his life until now. An emotionally-charged drama about the struggle to find a voice when no one's truly listening, and the power of language to lock us out-or let us in.
Fifth Third Bank's A Christmas Carol
based on the book by Charles Dickens
adapted by Barbara Field
directed by Drew Fracher
November 25 - December 23, 2014
Opening: November 28, 2014
Pamela Brown Auditorium
Louisville's biggest and best holiday tradition-the enduring story of Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future, brought to life with the warmth of holiday music. Join us for a fresh look at this classic tale as we celebrate the splendor of the holidays with an entirely redesigned production!
The Brothers Size
by Tarell Alvin McCraney
directed by KJ Sanchez
January 6 - February 1, 2015
Opening: January 8, 2014
Just out of prison and taken in by his brother, Oshoosi Size is ready to start his life anew. When his cell mate appears at the garage where the brothers fix cars, Oshoosi finds himself struggling with temptations and conflicting loyalties that could dramatically impact his future. Pulsing with the rhythms of the Louisiana Bayou, this lyrical tale of brotherly love grapples with fear and desire along the elusive path to freedom, and the rough road that is getting by in the Deep South.
At the Vanishing Point
by Naomi Iizuka
directed by Les Waters
with an original score by Ben Sollee
January 27 - February 15, 2015
Opening: January 29, 2015
Pamela Brown Auditorium
Naomi Iizuka returns with her beautifully-observed portrait of one of Louisville's oldest neighborhoods-intertwining memory and myth, ghosts of the past and snapshots of the present to give voice to a community. Based on extensive interviews and research on the rich history of Butchertown, At the Vanishing Point originally premiered in the 2004 Humana Festival, directed by Les Waters. A decade later, Iizuka and Waters revisit the banks of Beargrass Creek, creating an event that incorporates music by Kentucky native Ben Sollee.
Behind-the-Scenes Tech Event: Saturday, January 24, 2015
OFFstage@Actors: Friday, January 30, 2015
The 39th Humana Festival of New American Plays
March 4 - April 12, 2015
Humana Festival of New American Plays is the premier event of its kind in the nation, right in your hometown! Each year, thousands of dedicated theatre admirers descend upon Actors Theatre for a celebration of some of the most talented voices in the American theatre. Be the first to see these new plays-and when they go to Chicago, New York or to other stages around the world, take pride in saying, "I saw it first in Louisville!"
The Brown-Forman Series is a season-long commitment by Brown-Forman which supports Actors Theatre's Season Ticket series. Their support is very important to us. We would greatly appreciate inclusion of their participation in your coverage.
About Actors Theatre of Louisville: Approaching its 51st Season, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the State Theatre of Kentucky, is the flagship arts organization in the Louisville community. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Les Waters and Managing Director Jennifer Bielstein, Actors Theatre serves to unlock human potential, build community, and enrich quality of life by engaging people in theatre that reflects the wonder and complexity of our time.
Actors Theatre presents almost 400 performances annually and delivers a broad range of programming, including classics and contemporary work through the Brown-Forman Series, holiday plays, a series of free theatrical events produced by the Apprentice/Intern Company, and the Humana Festival of New American Plays-the premier new play festival in the nation, which has introduced nearly 450 plays into the American theatre repertoire over the past 38 years. In addition, Actors Theatre provides more than 17,000 arts experiences each year to students across the region through its Education Department, and boasts one of the nation's most prestigious continuing pre-professional resident training companies, now approaching its 43rd year.
Over the past half-century, Actors Theatre has also emerged as one of America's most consistently innovative professional theatre companies, with an annual attendance of 150,000. Actors Theatre has been the recipient of some of the most prestigious awards bestowed on a regional theatre, including a Tony Award for Distinguished Achievement, the James N. Vaughan Memorial Award for Exceptional Achievement and Contribution to the Development of Professional Theatre, and the Margo Jones Award for the Encouragement of New Plays. Actors Theatre has toured to 29 cities and 15 countries worldwide, totaling more than 1,400 appearances internationally. Currently, there are more than 50 published books of plays and criticism from Actors Theatre in circulation-including anthologies of Humana Festival plays, volumes of ten-minute plays and monologues, and essays, scripts and lectures from the Brown-Forman Classics in Context Festival. Numerous plays first produced at Actors Theatre have also been published as individual acting editions, and have been printed in many other anthologies, magazines and journals-making an enduring contribution to American dramatic literature. www.ActorsTheatre.org