Arena Stage Announces 2020/21 Season; Corbin Bleu in CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, and More!
Arena Stage has announced its 2020/21 Season, which is set to include five world premieres, four plays and three musicals, including a Corbin Bleu-led Catch Me If You Can. The season reflects Arena Stage's commitment to compelling, dynamic work that is packed with drama, humor and music. This season, more than half of our playwrights and directors are represented by women and people of color. Stories of politics and power are celebrated in the four world-premiere Power Plays. As part of Arena's mission to serve artists on a national, regional and local scale, two exciting collaborations will take place with Denver Center Theatre Company and Hartford Stage.
"Luscious. This is one of our most ambitious seasons yet with five world premieres, four Power Plays and three musicals," shares Artistic Director Molly Smith. "This season is full of con men and saints, strong comedies and terrific dramas and so much music! It's a joy to see our Power Play commissioning program yield such remarkable and diverse stories - from 1770s to 1920s to 1960s to right now."
In July, the season kicks off with the previously announced world-premiere musical American Prophet: Frederick Douglass In His Own Words, by award-winning playwright Charles Randolph-Wright (Arena's Born for This: The BeBe Winans Story, Broadway's Motown the Musical) and Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Marcus Hummon. Randolph-Wright directs this musical that chronicles the early life and legacy of one of the most notable human rights leaders of the 19th century. Cornelius Smith Jr. (ABC's Scandal, All My Children) takes on the role of the iconic author, human rights leader, orator and statesman, Frederick Douglass.
The season of powerhouse musicals continues with Catch Me If You Can, a cool jazz score filled with a hip sensibility for the entire family. Based on true events and the hit film, Corbin Bleu (Arena's Anything Goes, Broadway's Kiss Me, Kate) returns to Arena to step into the role of the notorious con man Frank Abagnale Jr. Directed by Molly Smith, this musical features the hit songs "Don't Break the Rules" and "Live in Living Color." An exciting new voice emerges in the new year with the acclaimed young Canadian composer Britta Johnson and her compelling musical, Life After, directed by Annie Tippe. This award-winning work explores the messiness of loss and the complexities of love, when a young girl unravels the secrets of her recently deceased father.
A riotous comedy, Pearl Cleage's Angry, Raucous and Shamelessly Gorgeous, directed by Susan V. Booth, builds bridges across generations. The comedic drama from Lynn Nottage, Crumbs from the Table of Joy, directed by Hana S. Sharif, is a tender, funny and empowering coming-of-age story in 1950s Brooklyn.
Acclaimed monologist Mike Daisey tackles the climate emergency with his one-man show The Change. Deputy Artistic Director Seema Sueko directs the Tony Award-winning Rashomon, a passionate, tragic and ultimately comic mystery revealing the elusiveness of truth when a samurai is found dead in the forest and everyone claims responsibility.
The season's four Power Plays will focus on stories of politics and power from 1776 through present day. Theresa Rebeck's (NBC's Smash) world-premiere drama Enlightenment takes on witchcraft, equality and women's rights in 1776. Playwright Nathan Alan Davis addresses Black Wall Street in The High Ground. Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian, this eye-opening drama shows how a soldier struggles to restore his town to its former glory.
The season culminates with the world premiere of Change Agent, written by Craig Lucas and directed by Molly Smith. This captivating story imagines conversations between celebrated and unsung figures in history surrounding pivotal events in American history in the 1960s.
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