Encores! Off-Center Season to Feature ASSASSINS, REALLY ROSIE, and More
Encores! Off-Center Artistic Director Michael Friedman today announced his first season at the helm of New York City Center's acclaimed summer musical theater series. The 2017 Encores! Off-Center season will open with Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's Assassins, directed by Anne Kauffman, July 12 through 15, and close with Carole King and Maurice Sendak's Really Rosie, directed by Leigh Silverman, August 2 through 5. The season will also include a special two-night-only engagement (July 26 and 27) of Kirsten Childs' The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, directed by Robert O'Hara.
"This season might be called 'Grownups with guns, kids with dreams, and a bubbly girl trying to find her way through America,'" Friedman said. "Planning the fifth Off-Center season, I found myself asking: What kind of America do we have?, and What kind of America do we want?, and How can we possibly imagine getting there? These three shows bring with them three very different visions of the American dream and what happens when people try to make their visions real. They exemplify the variety of shows that we do at City Center. They also exemplify the reasons that musical theater matters in the first place."
A carnival ride through the history of political violence, Sondheim and Weidman's 1990 musical Assassins looks right into the heart of American anger, providing a series of showstoppers for a gallery of U.S. presidential assassins ranging from John Wilkes Booth to Lee Harvey Oswald to Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme. Kirsten Childs' delightful and provocative autobiographical show The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (2000) follows a young woman from Los Angeles as she finds her way from dutiful suburban daughter to Broadway dancer, all while navigating the politics of race and gender on a journey to find her own identity. Really Rosie is a classic work for the whole family by two of the most popular artists of the 20th century: Carole King and Maurice Sendak. The genius of Tapestry meets the genius ofWhere the Wild Things Are in this sweet, sad, wonderful 1980 musical about a little girl in Brooklyn with a big imagination. Can her dreams come true, or does growing up mean letting go? Inspired in part by the stories in Sendak's Nutshell Library, Really Rosie's songs include "Pierre," "Alligators All Around," and "Chicken Soup with Rice."
Encores! Off-Center was founded in 2013 with the mission of presenting Off-Broadway musicals that pushed creative boundaries when they were first produced. Filtered through the lens of today's artists, these shows are presented not as historical documents but as living, vital works that continue to resonate with audiences. The New York Times has called Encores! Off-Center "a summer theater highlight," with past productions including Violet with Sutton Foster; tick, tick...BOOM! with Lin-Manuel Miranda; A New Brain with Jonathan Groff; Little Shop of Horrors with Ellen Greene and Jake Gyllenhaal; and Runaways with a cast of 25 young performers. The series also features The Lobby Project, a series of free pre-performance events that place each musical in context of its legacy and provide insights into the work the audience is about to experience. (The schedule of Lobby Project events will be announced at a later date.)
Off-Center reflects City Center's ongoing outreach to new and young audiences. In keeping with this mission, advanced access to $25 tickets will be available to young adults starting Mar 10, before the general public. [NOTE: It is necessary to sign up for City Center's free Peer to Peer program to be eligible for these advance tickets.] Peer to Peer, New York City Center's discount ticket program for young adults, age 25 and under, provides special ticket offers for select City Center productions throughout the season. Sign up for the program, with proof of age, at www.NYCityCenter.org/P2P.
Tickets go on sale to the general public Mar 14 (Mar 3 for City Center Members, Mar 10 for Peer to Peer members). Tickets can be purchased online at NYCityCenter.org, by calling CityTix at 212.581.1212, or in person at the City Center Box Office. New York City Center is located at 131 West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.