Festival Stage of Winston-Salem Announces 2013-14 Season

Resident professional theatre company Festival Stage of Winston-Salem will return to downtown's Hanesbrands Theatre for its fourth season in 2013-14, presenting Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers Oct. 18-Nov. 3; Driving Miss Daisy Feb. 7-23; and the romantic comedy Talley's Folly May 2-18.

"The three plays in the upcoming season show why the classics become classics," said Festival Stage Resident Director Steve Umberger, who will direct Driving Miss Daisy. "All three are 'period' - Yonkers and Talley's take place in the 1940s, and Daisy takes place from 1948 to 1973. All are good examples of how great plays are timeless, and are interesting and relevant regardless of their age."

"The idea of family is core to all three plays - both the family you're born into and the family you create through relationships with friends, lovers and colleagues," Umberger continued. "And all three are suitable for families to enjoy together."

Mark Pirolo and Brook Davis will join Umberger in directing these season's productions. "Mark taught for decades at UNCSA, and Brook is on the theatre department faculty at Wake Forest University," Umberger said. "Our recent collaboration with Wake Forest to produce 33 Variations in the 2012-13 season was such a positive experience for all involved, and we're very excited to continue to grow relationships with local colleges and universities."

Festival Stage President and CEO Wil Elder is pleased that the company will once again perform in Hanesbrands Theatre, he said. "There really is no better venue than Hanesbrands Theatre for the type of production Festival Stage wants to present," Elder said. "Our audiences repeatedly tell us how much they enjoy the intimacy and versatility of the performance space, and its location downtown near so many restaurants is perfect for those who want to make an evening of it. We're so grateful for the continued support from the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County."

Lost in Yonkers

By Neil Simon - Oct. 18-Nov. 3

Directed by Mark Pirolo

In Neil Simon's coming-of-age story set in 1942, two Young Brothers grow up and find their way through the maze of family relationships without losing their sense of humor. The play debuted on Broadway in 1991 starring Irene Ruth, Kevin Spacey and Mercedes Reuhl, and won the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Tony Award for Best Play and the Drama Desk Award for Best Play.

Simon has received more Oscar and Tony Award nominations than any other writer, and has won three Tonys (for The Odd Couple, Biloxi Blues and Lost in Yonkers), a Pulitzer Prize (for Lost in Yonkers) and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, among many other awards.

Pirolo has been active in the field of theatrical design for over 40 years. He is a faculty member emeritus at the UNC School of the Arts, where he served for 32 years, most recently as director of design, and was a resident director at the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival for 10 years. His design credits include productions at The Cleveland Playhouse, The Playmakers Repertory Theatre, The Folger Theatre, Florida Stage and North Shore Music Theatre as well as many of the larger Shakespeare Festivals across the country.

Driving Miss Daisy

By Alfred Uhry - Feb. 7-23

Directed by Steve Umberger

In this funny and moving story, Miss Daisy, a retired schoolteacher and wealthy Jewish widow, grows to accept and love Hoke Colburn, an African-American man hired by Miss Daisy's son to drive her after she wrecks her car. The play takes place over the course of 25 years, from 1948 to 1973, in Atlanta, Ga. It received the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and New York Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Play, and was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film starring Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman.

Festival Stage opened its third season last year with Uhry's The Last Night of Ballyhoo, which proved to be an audience favorite. Uhry is one of only a few writers who have won an Academy Award (for Driving Miss Daisy), a Pulitzer Prize (for Driving Miss Daisy) and two Tony Awards (for The Last Night of Ballyhoo and the musical Parade).

Umberger is Festival Stage's founding resident director, and also serves in that role for Festival Stage's affiliate company, the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival. Over the past two decades he has been involved in the openings of three arts centers and in the formation or development of four theatres, including Festival Stage. As director of the production group Playworks, Umberger helped develop the musical Lunch at the Piccadilly, which Festival Stage produced in 2011; Umberger recently directed a concert version at the York Theatre Company in New York.

Talley's Folly

By Lanford Wilson - May 2-18

Directed by Brook Davis

The winner of the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for Drama is currently in revival on Broadway in a critically praised production by Roundabout Theatre Company. The charming romantic comedy tells the story of Matt Friedman and Sally Talley, two unlikely soul mates who finally come together over the course of a long summer evening. The play, which takes place over 97 minutes of real time, is set on the Fourth of July in 1944 in a dilapidated Victorian boathouse on the Talley family's Missouri farm.

Talley's Folly is the second play in Wilson's Talley Trilogy, which also includes Talley & Sons and Fifth of July. Wilson received a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize for Talley's Folly, two Tony nominations (for Fifth of July and Angels Fall), and was elected to both the Theatre Hall of Fame and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He died in 2011.

Davis is an associate professor of theatre at Wake Forest University, teaching acting, dramatic literature and theatre education classes. She was assistant director of Festival Stage's 33 Variations last February. Other recent directing credits include Eurydice, Doubt, Machinal, Angels in America, Secret Garden, Jack, Three Hats, The Exonerated, Suddenly Last Summer and Godspell.

All productions will take place at Hanesbrands Theatre, located at 209 N. Spruce Street in Winston-Salem. Season ticket packages, gift cards and individual tickets may be ordered over the phone at 336-747-1414 or online at www.hanesbrandstheatre.org beginning July 1.

For information about group sales and corporate theatre parties, contact Festival Stage's administrative offices at 336-841-2273 orsales@festivalstage.org.

Festival Stage operates in affiliation with Actors' Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers, and receives funding from the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.

Festival Stage is an affiliate theatre of the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, which will open its 36th season with Macbeth Sept. 6-29 at the High Point Theatre. For further information about Festival Stage of Winston-Salem, call 336-841-2273 or visit www.FestivalStage.org.

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