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Hartford Stage Announces 50th Anniversary Season

From its humble roots in a warehouse on Kinsley Street to its current national prominence as a Tony Award-winning theatre, Hartford Stage proclaims a new era today in announcing its 50th Anniversary Season, including classical repertory for a new generation; a world premiere musical-comedy; and a dynamic rejuvenation of its holiday favorite, A Christmas Carol, according to Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak and Managing Director Michael Stotts. Having delighted millions of theatregoers over the past half-century - 110,000 this year alone, Hartford Stage has produced numerous plays with an enduring impact on the American theatre.

Tresnjak said, "On the eve of our 50th anniversary, we want to thank those who walked through our doors on Kinsey Street that first night five decades ago; those who are joining us for the very first time today; and everyone in between. Thank you! And happy 50th birthday, Hartford Stage."

The season will kick off with a major initiative: Classical Repertory for a New Generation, a nod to Hartford Stage's start as a repertory theatre in 1963. The same cast will play in repertory in performances of Marivaux's provocative comedy, La Dispute, andShakespeare's bloody and searing tragedy Macbeth. La Dispute is adapted by Tresnjak and ElizaBeth Williamson, Senior Dramaturg/Director of New Play Development, from a translation by Williamson. Tresnjak will direct both shows - La Dispute, September 12-November 10, and Macbeth, September 14-November 10, 2013. Kate Forbes (The Crucible and The Cover of Life at Hartford Stage) will play Lady Macbeth.

Anniversary festivities continue with The Underpants, a laugh-out-loud comedy, by Steve Martin, adapted from the play by Carl Sternheim. Gordon Edelstein (The Crucible, A Moon for the Misbegotten) will direct, in a co-production with Long Wharf Theatre, January 9-February 2, 2014.

This will be followed by the rarely produced A Song at Twilight, Noël Coward's elegant and bittersweet comedy, and will mark the return of former Artistic Director Mark Lamos for the first time since 2002 (Much Ado About Nothing). A Song at Twilight, February 20-March 16, 2014, will be a co-production with Westport Country Playhouse, where Lamos currently serves as artistic director.

Matthew Lopez (The Whipping Man), current Aetna New Voices Fellow at Hartford Stage, will bring his new work, Somewhere, to Hartford Stage for its East Coast Premiere, April 3-27, 2014. This dance-filled family saga will be directed by Giovanna Sardelli and feature Lopez's aunt, Priscilla Lopez, an original cast member of Broadway's A Chorus Line and a Tony Award-winner for A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine.

On the heels of national rave reviews for A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder (currently playing at The Old Globe in San Diego), the season will close with another world premiere musical-comedy, Love and Other Fables, book by Jay Jeffries and John McMahon, lyrics by Jay Jeffries (Broadway's Stardust), music by John McMahon (Satan's School for Girls). John Rando (Broadway's The Wedding Singer, Tony Award-winner for Urinetown), will direct this delightful reimagining of Aesop's life, from May 22-June 15, 2014.

The 50th Anniversary Season will feature a full rejuvenation of the annual production of A Christmas Carol-A Ghost Story of Christmas by Charles Dickens, adapted and originally directed by former Artistic Director Michael Wilson. Wilson will return this season to collaborate with Director Maxwell Williams on the updated version, which runs November 29-December 28, 2013. They will give a sparkling new life to the vast set, costumes and special effects that have thrilled more than 200,000 families for the past 15 years.

Stotts said, "We are harnessing the power, beauty, and knowledge of 49 years of theatre in Hartford to create a truly refreshing and glorious 50th Anniversary Season. We dedicate this milestone to the tens of thousands of theatergoers and community members who have made our success possible, and even magical, for all these decades."

The centerpiece of honorary events for the 50th Anniversary will take place the first weekend of November. On November 3, all five of the theatre's artistic directors - Founding Artistic Director Jacques Cartier, Paul Weidner, Mark Lamos, Michael Wilson and Darko Tresnjak - will unite for the first time for a panel discussion at the theatre. The following evening, on November 4, the artistic directors, former artists, staff, board members, and members of the community will gather for a special benefit performance and party celebrating milestone events of the theatre's 50-year history.

The season will include a collaboration with the Hartford Symphony OrchestrA. Hartford Stage and HSO will present four performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream:text by Shakespeare and music by Mendelssohn. HSO Music Director Carolyn Kuan will serve as Conductor, and Darko Tresnjak will direct. This special event will only perform January 9-12, 2014.

The artistic team will once again present the Brand:NEW Fall Festival of New Works from October 24 to 27, 2013. This will be the 15th Anniversary of the Festival.

Hartford Stage is especially pleased to announce that the 50th Anniversary Season is made possible, in part, by the extraordinarily generous Legacy Sponsorship of $250,000 from Travelers. Travelers has been a generous funder since the early years of Hartford Stage, generously supporting annual productions, educational programs, capital campaigns and other special events. In the 50th season, their generosity will help to underwrite the special events and initiatives of the season.

Jill Adams, President of the Hartford Stage Board of Directors said, "We are extremely grateful to Travelers for not only their support of our 50th Anniversary, but the leadership support they have provided to Hartford Stage for decades. They, and all of our contributors, guarantee Hartford Stage's brilliant productions will continue for generations to come."

The National Corporate Theatre Fund will honor Hartford Stage and four other resident theatres celebrating their 50th anniversaries at their annual Chairman's Awards Gala On Monday, April 29, 2013, at New York City's Pierre Hotel.


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