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A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM and More Announced For Classic Stage Company's 2020-21 Season

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM and More Announced For Classic Stage Company's 2020-21 Season

Classic Stage Company has announced its 2020-21 season. Bookending the season will be Doyle's new staging of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, in fall 2020, and the long-awaited New York premiere of Ten Cents a Dance, with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Lorzenz Hart, in spring 2021. In between, CSC presents the third annual edition of its winter repertory series, this time pairing landmark 1970s prison dramas: the Tony Award-winning, Apartheid-era play The Island and Kiss of the Spider Woman, which inspired the Tony Award-winning musical and Academy Award-winning film of the same name.

The season kicks off with John Doyle's new production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare's beloved, effervescent tale of love and chaos. Mischievous fairies, quarreling lovers, and a floundering amateur acting troupe take center stage in this delightful tale of joy and romance that famously-and with timeless relevance-declares, "Lord, what fools these mortals be." A Midsummer Night's Dream follows Doyle's staging, at the start of the current CSC season, of Shakespeare's Macbeth, featuring Corey Stoll and Nadia Bowers.

In winter 2021, CSC presents two internationally acclaimed works in repertory. Devised by Athol Fugard, John Kani, and Winston Ntshona, The Island is set in the jail where Nelson Mandela spent the majority of his 27-year political imprisonment on Robben Island, off the coast of Cape Town. The play tells the story of two cellmates rehearsing Sophocles' Antigone for a prison concert. As their lives unnervingly echo the world of this Greek tragedy, the men find solace and strength in their burgeoning friendship. When The Island premiered on Broadway in 1974, it garnered a Tony Award nomination for Best Play and won the performers, John Kani and Winston Ntshona, a shared Tony Award for Best Actor in Play.

Like The Island, Manuel Puig's masterpiece Kiss of the Spider Woman, set in Buenos Aires in the 1970s, portrays the relationship between two prisoners-in this case, one imprisoned for his political beliefs, and the other for his sexuality-offering a provocative and tender look at the intersection of humanity and politics. The characters form in intimate bond that transcends the walls of their cell. Emerging directors will stage these two plays.

This pairing of The Island and Kiss of the Spider Woman is the third annual presentation of CSC's repertory series, which provides a platform and freedom in the creative process to today's most exciting emerging theater artists. The series began in the 2018-19 season with Yaël Farber's Mies Julie, adapted from August Strindberg's Miss Julie and directed by Shariffa Ali; and Conor McPherson's new version of Strindberg's The Dance of Death, directed by Victoria Clark. The 2019-20 iteration of the series-featuring Kate Hamill's Dracula, directed by Sarna Lapine, and Tristan Bernays' Frankenstein, directed by Timothy Douglas-concluded on Sunday.

The unforgettable music of Rodgers and Hart, whose sublime lyrics and melodies highlight the Great American Songbook, provides the inspiration for Ten Cents a Dance, which culminates the 2020-21 CSC season in the spring. In this innovative production, the love affair between a piano player and a taxi dancer is told through the artistry of six actor-musicians as a dazzling and haunting elegy on the power of memory and music. Reviewing the work's premiere in 2011 at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Ben Brantley wrote that Doyle brings "an original and haunting grace to that clunkiest of genres, the songbook musical, and reinvents the form." He deemed the show "a precise yet ineffable evocation of how we recollect music that was important in our lives."

Today at noon EST, memberships for the 2020-21 season go on sale alongside tickets for the extension of John Doyle's immensely anticipated production of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's Assassins, which begins performances April 2 and opens on April 16. Performances now continue through June 6. Memberships and tickets can be purchased at classicstage.org or 212.352.3101 (or toll free at 866.811.4111).


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