DESIGNING WOMEN Will Make Stage Premiere in Fall 2020
A new theatrical incarnation of the iconic television series, Designing Women, penned by creator Linda Bloodworth Thomason, has been selected to open the fall season of TheatreSquared (T2). Performances will run August 12 through September 13 at the company's architecturally distinctive new home in downtown Fayetteville, Arkansas. Earlier this morning, The New York Times broke the news of the planned premiere.
Teeming with raucous, hilarious conversational detours and channeling the series' one-of-a-kind, trademark voice, the world premiere of Designing Women sets out to re-unite its audience-if nothing else-in laughter.
"Designing Women has a special magic," said Bloodworth Thomason, "and a ubiquitous appeal. It would seem to be the perfect theatrical venue for sharing an evening of humor while sitting next to people you can't stand."
Throughout its seven-year run, the critically acclaimed and multi-Emmy nominated series Designing Women was not only famous for its razor-sharp, southern dialogue but also its surprising ability to cut across political, cultural and social factions that rarely agree on anything. From sexual harassment, gun control, reproductive and gay rights-the show was the first to address the AIDS epidemic-to bullying, domestic violence, gender and racial inequality, the series never sacrificed the comedy nor the integrity of its characters while tackling many issues which loom even larger today. The show's inclusive spirit not only garnered awards from the ACLU and GLAAD, but also Angel Awards from Christian evangelicals.
It's 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia, and Sugarbaker's Design firm partners Julia, Suzanne, Mary Jo and Charlene-roughly the same age as we last saw them-have become just as divided as the rest of the country. Sparked by the increasingly polarizing environment, the ladies well-documented political and philosophical differences have finally driven them to the brink of selling the business and going their separate ways.
As they negotiate and seek a delicate rapprochement, the women will also have plenty to say about the tribalization of America, north vs. south, elites vs. non-elites, political correctness, out-of-control social media, Kardashian world dominance and the Me Too movement.
"This world premiere play is perfect for our moment, and for the American theatre," said T2 Executive Director Martin Miller. "We're thrilled to play a role in bringing this bold and incisive writer's work to the stage. In our early conversations with fellow theatremakers-from non-profit peers to Broadway veterans-there's also a great deal of excitement for the future life of the play." The Tony Award-winning producer Elizabeth Williams will serve as a consultant on the project.
Following its Northwest Arkansas premiere, TheatreSquared's production will transfer to co-production partners Alabama Shakespeare Festival and Dallas Theater Center in October and November, adding tens of thousands of audience members to the new play's rollout.
"Working with Linda and her husband, the producer and television director Harry Thomason, on the development of this timely, trenchant and deeply funny new play has been a standout experience," said T2 Artistic Director Robert Ford. "Who wouldn't want to know what Julia Sugarbaker has to say about our current state of affairs?"
TheatreSquared's signature offering of bold new plays in an intimate setting has driven its growth to become the state's largest theatre, offering more than 300 performances annually in two intimate spaces. The playwright-led company is one of mid-America's leading laboratories for new work, having launched more than 60 new plays. Notable collaborators have included Bryna Turner, Anne García-Romero, Pulitzer Prize finalist Lisa D'Amour, Qui Nguyen, Mona Mansour, Tony Award nominee Lee Blessing, Amy Evans, and many others. TheatreSquared's remarkable growth-with a twentyfold increase in audience in just the past decade-parallels the emergence of its home region in the northwest corner of Arkansas as a booming population center and destination for American art. Offering far-reaching access and education programs and an open-all-day gathering space, TheatreSquared remains rooted in its founding vision, that "theatre-done well and with passion-can transform lives and communities."
Performances are scheduled August 12 through September 13, Tuesdays through Sundays, at the new TheatreSquared, located at 477 West Spring Street in downtown Fayetteville. Showtimes are Tuesday through Friday at 7:30 p.m; Saturday at 2pm and 7:30pm; and Sunday at 2pm.
Tickets to Designing Women will be available initially to season subscribers only. The full 2020/21 Season-the fifteenth at TheatreSquared-will be announced March 8.
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