Asolo Repertory Theatre Announces World Premiere of Ahrens and Flaherty's KNOXVILLE and More in 2020-21 Season

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Asolo Repertory Theatre Announces World Premiere of Ahrens and Flaherty's KNOXVILLE and More in 2020-21 Season

Asolo Repertory Theatre and the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training announced their 2020-21 seasons today in a virtual event broadcast via Facebook and YouTube Live.

Asolo Rep's season kicks off in November with a new production of the four-time Olivier Award- and ten-time Tony Award®-winning music and dance masterpiece BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL (November 18 - January 2), directed and choreographed by Josh Rhodes (Broadway: Bright Star, It Shoulda Been You, First Date, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella). Rhodes returns to Asolo Rep where he previously directed and choreographed the theatre's productions of The Sound of Music in 2019, Evita in 2017 and Guys and Dolls in 2016. This triumphant, dance-filled sensation follows a young boy as he trades in his boxing gloves for dance shoes amidst the turmoil of the 1984 coal miners' strike in England. Set to an explosive score by Sir Elton John, BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL is a joyous celebration of one boy's journey that will inspire the dreamer in everyone.

The winter repertory season opens with Ken Ludwig'S THE THREE MUSKETEERS (January 13 - March 13), adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas and directed by beloved Asolo Rep associate artist Peter Amster. Young d'Artagnan and his sister Sabine head for Paris in search of fame, fortune and adventure. When they team up with the famous Musketeers of the Guard, hilarious shilly-shallying abounds as this boisterous bunch fences, drinks and romances their way across the countryside while proving that heroism, courage and honor rule the day.

The rep season continues with a new comedy, straight from a smash-hit run on Broadway, GRAND HORIZONS (January 20 - March 25), penned by one of the most exciting voices currently writing for the stage, Bess Wohl, and directed by Giovanna Sardelli. Just as Bill and Nancy settle into their new retirement home in Grand Horizons, Nancy announces that she wants out. As their two adult sons struggle to cope with the news, they're forced to question everything they assumed about the people they thought they knew best. Sophisticated, funny and delightfully honest, this new Broadway hit-comedy takes an intimate look at the unpredictable and enduring nature of love.

The culminating event of the rep season is the artistic and philosophical center of everything the theatre hopes to give to its community in these challenging times, Thornton Wilder's timeless masterpiece OUR TOWN (February 10 - March 27), directed by Asolo Rep Producing Artistic Director, Michael Donald Edwards. Perhaps no other play rings truer today. OUR TOWN is, at its heart, about us. All of us. Swept up by time and subject to inescapable change. Long after it won the 1938 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, OUR TOWN remains one of the most enduring American plays of all time, reminding audiences to always celebrate love, family, community, and the beauty in the ordinary.

In March, Asolo Rep will also present a new play that takes an inside look at what seems to be a closed-off world: Lindsay Joelle's TRAYF (March 24 - April 18). Directed by Asolo Rep Associate Artistic Director Celine Rosenthal, TRAYF will be presented in the Cook Theatre. Manhattan. Summer. 1991. Clothes are baggy and mixtapes are still mix tapes. Ready to conquer any obstacle, best friends and loyal members of the Chasidic community, Zalmy and Shmuel set out in their freshly tricked-out Mitzvah Tank, determined to take on the world. This budding bromance is a funny and heartwarming ode to the turbulence of youth, the universal suspicion that we don't quite fit in and the faith and friends that see us through.

The theatre continues its season with two productions originally scheduled in its 2019-20 season, that were canceled due to the unique circumstances presented by the coronavirus.

HOOD (April 9 - May 1), featuring music and lyrics by Lewis Flinn (Lysistrata Jones), a book by five-time Tony-nominated playwright Douglas Carter Beane (Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, Lysistrata Jones, Sister Act, Xanadu) and helmed by Mark Brokaw (Heisenberg, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, After Miss Julie). Everything old is new again as we follow the exciting escapades of Robin Hood and his Merry Band as he fights to restore justice for the people of Sherwood, win the heart of the beautiful Maid Marian, who definitely does not need saving, and rid the land from the Sheriff of Nottingham once and for all.

In May, Asolo Rep presents the world premiere of KNOXVILLE (May 14 - June 5). This moving and innovative musical will feature lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, music by Stephen Flaherty (songwriting team behind Anastasia, Once on this Island) and will be adapted and directed by Frank Galati, reuniting the dynamic Tony Award®-winning creative team behind Ragtime, one of the most beloved musicals of all time. KNOXVILLE is based on James Agee's Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiographical novel A Death in the Family and based, in part, on the play All The Way Home by Tad Mosel. When an unexpected turn of events leaves Rufus' family spinning, he and his mother, Mary, embark on a journey through the mysteries of life and death, faith and doubt, in order to come to terms with what they have lost and what they have found. An enduring illumination of the forces that shape us into who we are, KNOXVILLE is a quintessentially American coming-of-age story about family, faith and love, and the boy who will grow up to write it. The world premiere of KNOXVILLE is made possible by a generous grant from The Roy Cockrum Foundation.

To finish the season, Asolo Rep continues its commitment to present world class family-friendly productions each June. This production (June 15 - 27) will be announced very soon.

"The overarching theme for our 2020-21 season is that of family, humanity, and community," said Asolo Rep Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. "It seems to us at Asolo Rep, that what we need now in these dark days is a light at the end of the tunnel. A galvanizing call to action to see our community through this incredibly difficult trial. That is what we hope to bring you with this season: human stories that inspire hope for a bright future, and healing in the times to come."

"With the help and continued support of our incredibly loyal patrons, we are pressing onward and upward to tell the stories that we need in order to bring us back together and make our community whole again," continued Edwards. "We cannot wait to be back in the theatre with you as soon as possible, proving once again the overwhelming power of theatre to connect us all through tears of sorrow, tears of joy, and love."

Asolo Rep will also present its annual fall educational tour, an FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training production of William Shakespeare's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (October - November, 2020), adapted by Celine Rosenthal and directed by Kelly Galvin. The tour presents freshly re-imagined 45-minute adaptations of classic literature to schools and community venues throughout the state of Florida.

The FSU/Asolo Conservatory opens its season with the world premiere of Greg Leaming's SISTER CARRIE (November 3 - 22). Adapted from the novel by Theodore Dreiser, the story follows 18-year-old Carrie Meeber on her journey from obscurity to fame in turn-of-the-century Chicago. In January, the Conservatory presents Lauren Gunderson's dark comedy, EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR (January 6 - 24). Walking a fine line between comedy and tragedy, this new play by one of America's hottest playwrights explores how art can be used to heal. The season continues in February with Christopher Durang's BABY WITH THE BATHWATER (February 16 - March 7). This laugh-out-loud dark comedy dives face first into the absurd waters of how, for better or worse, family makes us who we are.

The Conservatory will return to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in April for William Shakespeare's masterpiece of intrigue, allegiance and conspiracy, JULIUS CAESAR (April 6 - 26). Caesar returns to Rome a triumphant war hero and the people pour into the streets to celebrate. But when civic duty clashes with political ambition, it turns out democracy cannot be rebuilt so easily.

"The FSU/Asolo Conservatory is training the future of the American theatre, and we are thrilled to be able to present these young artists in plays that will showcase their skills, their passion and, most importantly, their incredible talent," said Greg Leaming, Director of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. "The 2020-21 season includes some of the greatest plays written for the stage as well as bright, new, highly original work from the 21st century, all starring the 12 brilliant young artists of our second-year class. It promises to be a season of great plays and great young actors ready to be discovered."


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