MARIE ANTOINETTE, THE SPIRITUALIST & More Set for Stages Repertory Theatre's 2014-15 Season

MARIE ANTOINETTE, THE SPIRITUALIST & More Set for Stages Repertory Theatre's 2014-15 Season

Stages Repertory Theatre's 37th season epitomizes both the spirit of adventure and innovation that launched the theatre and the extraordinary growth and expertise it has achieved in the years since. Highlights include four musical productions-a joyous world premiere production, an infectious international hit, and an obscure classic Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical-as well as three spectacular solo shows, an enchanting, timely comedy, and a searing modern take on a classic drama.

"This season features a remarkable range of storytelling models," Stages Producing Artistic Director Kenn McLaughlin said. "From grand musicals to the intimate sincerity of The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe and Character Man, the entire program is adventurous, varied and surprising at every turn. Each play reveals, in very theatrical terms, a powerhouse of simple humanity-replete with joy, pain and promise."

The MainStage season begins with David Adjmi's Marie Antionette-a raw, fantastical, and surprisingly funny play about the infamous Queen and her family. Marie Antoinette was commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre and premiered in a co- production with American Repertory Theater in 2012. The Stages production is produced in collaboration with the University of Houston Department of Theatre & Dance.

Following Marie Antionette, Stages fulfills the promise of its full name by producing two solo shows in a full repertory model. Denise Fennell ("Sister" from the Late Nite Catechism series) will star in Jane Wagner's classic The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, and Jim Brochu (Stages' Zero Hour and The Big Voice: God or Merman?) will headline the regional premiere of his newest hit, Character Man, which recently was greeted with rave reviews from The New York Times and The New Yorker Magazine.

Up next is Stupid Fucking Bird - Aaron Posner's provocative, contemporary riff on Chekhov's The Seagull - which recently was nominated for the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award. Stupid Fucking Bird had its world premiere with a sold-out run at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in May 2013, and is slated for a return engagement there this summer due to popular demand.

Next is Robert Ford's The Spiritualist-a comic drama, inspired by true events, that explores the tensions between art and commerce, fact and faith as a London widow channels the spirits of dead composers while a cynical American reporter tries to debunk her claims.

Closing out the MainStage series is the rarely seen classic Jerry Herman and Michael Stewart musical Mack and Mabel - the story of legendary silent film director Mack Sennett and his tumultuous relationship with Mabel Normand, who became one of his biggest stars, all told through Jerry Herman's glorious score.

"These plays are filled with very large questions about life, love, art and the legacy of theatre in America," McLaughlin said. "The productions will be designed to highlight these questions. I think this is perhaps the most deeply personal season I have programmed in my tenure at Stages. It is as close to a 'dream' season as I've come to yet!"

Along with the core MainStage season of plays, Stages also offers a range of additional "A La Carte" shows, from crowd- pleasing jukebox musicals to family adventures to special selections that celebrate our history, community and artists.

First up on the A La Carte roster is the regional premiere of James Hindman's Pete 'n' Keely-jukebox fantasy that recalls the innocence and spectacular talent of 1960s television variety shows, starring Houston favorites Susan Koozin and David Wald.

Immediately following is the return engagement of one of Stages' most requested titles, Mary Louise Wilson's and Mark Hampton's Full Gallop, starring Sally Edmundson. Back by popular demand, Edmundson returns as former Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, the eccentric, exuberant fashion guru who was an icon of American style for five decades.

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