MISS YOU LIKE HELL and More Announced For Olney Theatre Center 2019-2020 Season
Today, Olney Theatre Center Artistic Director Jason Loewith unveiled a lineup of 16 plays, concerts, and presentations coming in 2019-2020 as part of the company's 82nd season, including the highly-anticipated DC-area premiere of Miss You Like Hell by Quiara Alegría Hudes and Erin McKeown. Included are both classic and contemporary musicals, family fare for the holidays, Tony-winning dramas and work by some of the most innovative American Playwrights.
"The past five seasons have proven our community is comprised of diverse audiences," said Jason Loewith. "One wants to indulge in award-winning productions of classic musicals, while another expects OTC to introduce them to new works that stretch theatrical boundaries and speak to this troubled socio-cultural moment in our nation's history. Yet another sees live theater as an opportunity to celebrate with multiple generations of their families. All of them expect the vivid and professional storytelling we've become known for, artistic excellence on par with anything they've seen downtown or in New York. We've got something for all of them."
Seven-play Member Season
Olney Theatre will produce four musicals on its 428-seat Mainstage, beginning with Kander and Ebb's Cabaret (August 28 - October 6, 2019), directed by Alan Paul, Associate Artistic Director at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, making his OTC debut. Paul has become a nationally in-demand musical theatre director and has been the driving force behind the musicals added to the Shakespeare Theatre repertoire. He teams with choreographer Katie Spelman who has recently worked at the Denver Center, Goodspeed Opera House and as an associate on Broadway for Amelie, Once, American Psycho, and the upcoming Moulin Rouge.
Marcos Santana, the director/choreographer of OTC's Helen Hayes Award-winning co-production of In The Heights (with Round House Theatre) returns to Olney Theatre to direct Singin' in the Rain based on the classic movie musical (November 8, 2019 - January 5, 2020). Santana will be joined by choreographer Grady Bowman, who last worked at Olney Theatre Center on the acclaimed My Fair Lady.
Miss You Like Hell (January 29 - March 1, 2020) by Pulitzer-winner and In the Heights co-creator Quiara Alegría Hudes and folk-rock innovator Erin McKeown opens in 2020, directed by Latinx Theatre Commons co-founder Lisa Portes. The production received the ultimate endorsement when Lin-Manuel Miranda re-tweeted the casting call for Miss You Like Hell on January 9, saying "The Olney rules, can't wait for this!" Lisa Portes, currently directing Larissa Fasthorse's Thanksgiving Play at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, is Head of Directing at The Theatre School at Depaul University.
Completing the quartet of musicals is the beloved musical Pippin (June 10 - July 19, 2020) directed by Eleanor Holdridge, whose 2018 production of The Crucible at Olney Theatre ran to critical and popular acclaim.
In the Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab, OTC will be producing two area-premieres by cutting-edge playwrights at the forefront of American drama, as well as a recent Tony-winning drama in the Mainstage. First, The Royale (September 25 - October 27, 2019) by Marco Ramirez wowed New York critics when it premiered at Lincoln Center with its innovative approach to a story inspired by Jack Johnson, the first African American Heavyweight Champion. Loewith remarks, "It reminds me a lot of Colossal by Andrew Hinderaker, one of my favorite plays we've done here at Olney. They're both sports stories addressing some of the fundamental fault lines in our society and doing it through highly theatrical and poetic movement. It's the kind of play that's a perfect fit for the Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab and I'm excited to see where director Paige Hernandez takes the production." Most recently, Hernandez directed Rep Stage's production of Twilight: Los Angeles. The Royale will be a co-production with 1st Stage in Tysons' Corner, continuing Olney's tradition of regional collaboration which in recent years has included work with Everyman Theatre, Round House Theatre, and Adventure Theatre MTC.
The second production in the Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab brings playwright Jordan Harrison (Marjorie Prime) back to the Theatre Lab with his brilliant play The Amateurs (March 4 - April 5, 2020). And when we say he's back in the Lab, we mean that fairly literally, because in addition to being about a troupe of 14th Century actors who are performing the morality play Noah and the Flood and fleeing from the Bubonic Plague, when they happen to stumble upon the concept of 'character', the play also features the appearance of a character named Jordan Harrison. Senior Associate Artistic Director Jason King Jones draws the plum assignment of directing this meta-theatrical hall of mirrors.
The Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab will close temporarily following the run of The Amateurs for renovations beginning in the Spring of 2020. More details about that project as well as other campus improvements will be announced at a star-studded event in the fall.
Back on the Mainstage. acclaimed local director Aaron Posner directs the DC Resident Regional Premiere of Stephen Karam's drama The Humans (April 1 - May 3, 2020). Karam's script arrived like a revelation off-Broadway in 2015 and proceeded to run on Broadway for a year, sweeping a host of awards along the way including the Tony Award for Best Drama. The Blake family breaks from tradition, holding Thanksgiving dinner at youngest daughter Brigid's Chinatown duplex. However, strange noises from upstairs and simmering secrets, failures and fears among the assembled family members make this gathering both familiar and haunting. Posner returns to Olney Theatre for a first production on the Mainstage after directing Our Town in the Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab in 2017.
Concerts, TYA, National Players and a decade of A Christmas Carol
The incredibly popular Applause Concert Series created by Associate Artistic Director for Music Theatre Christopher Youstra returns for a second season. These three, one-night-only concert presentations of rarely-seen musicals expand the company's offerings: Kander and Ebbs' Kiss of the Spider Woman (Friday, October 11) accompanies the production Cabaret, Dessa Rose (Friday, March 6) by Lynne Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty follows Miss You Like Hell and Lerner & Loewe's Brigadoon (Friday, July 24) pairs with Pippin.
In addition, OTC's tremendously successful Theater for Young Audience Series returns for a fourth year, presenting two weekends of the touring company TheatreworksUSA's productions of Dragons Love Tacos and Other Stories (October 26-27, 2019) and Pete the Cat (January 11 - 12, 2020) in the Historic Theatre.
The National Players, under the artistic direction of Jason King Jones, celebrates its 71st season with touring productions of The Diary of Anne Frank, As You Like It and the theatrical adaptation of the popular young-adult novel Walk Two Moons. Each National Players production will present Pay-What-You-Can performances in the Historic Theatre before heading out on the road.
Finally, Paul Morella's one-person A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas celebrates its tenth anniversary run in the Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab (November 29 - December 29, 2019).