Orlando Shakes Announces 32nd Season
From the theater's greatest endeavor, staging Shakespeare's turbulent epic, to a comedic, sci-fi musical, Orlando Shakes in partnership with UCF is offering a diverse array of classic, contemporary, and children's plays for their 2020-2021 Season.
To kick-off the season, audiences are invited into the musical jaws of the man-eating plant in Little Shop of Horrors. Then for Halloween, indulge in the devilishly good dark comedy, Witch. For the holidays, The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge, the hit crotchety Christmas comedy sequel to Dickens classic returns. In the Spring, we take on the largest theatrical effort in our company's history, the Fire and Reign series concludes with the extraordinary Wars of the Roses-experience Shakespeare's Henry VI: The Red Rose, Edward IV: The White Rose, and Richard III: The Bottled Spider in rotating repertory. Orlando Shakes' 32nd Season ends with the bittersweet Billie Holiday musical, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill.
In the theater's most ambitious initiative yet, Orlando Shakes created the Fire and Reign series beginning in Spring 2019 with Richard II. This season, the epic story concludes with Shakespeare's Wars of the Roses, which chronicles the intense power struggle that shaped English history and later served as the inspiration for George R. R. Martin's "A Game of Thrones." Each of Shakespeare's histories, exploring wars, alliances, battles, and betrayals, build on one another, and yet, each individual production stands on its own as a thrilling piece of theater. By performing these works in repertory, Shakespeare's most committed patrons will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enjoy all three plays in one day, including meal and hotel packages.
"When we learn about war as a historical event, it often seems black and white," Jim Helsinger, Orlando Shakes' artistic director, said. "But Shakespeare balances the emotional turmoil, humor, and human truths in the grey areas behind history as we know it. Throughout civil wars and the struggle for power, alliances are fragile and decisions are driven by emotion-not just established party loyalties. By producing these plays in rep, patrons have the opportunity to see these stories unfold in an intriguing, dramatic way that explores the intricacies behind the choices-and the very real, relatable characters that made these choices-that ultimately impacted the fate of a nation."
Throughout the series, patrons received a stamp at each production to place in a commemorative Fire and Reign passport. Those who successfully see the entire series will receive a limited edition "I've Seen Fire and I've Seen Reign!" t-shirt.
Patrons who see this season's Henry VI: The Red Rose, Edward IV: The White Rose, and Richard III: The Bottled Spider will earn a limited edition "I survived the Wars of the Roses" dog tag.
To improve accessibility at the theater and better serve the Central Florida community, Orlando Shakes will conduct a beta test of the GalaPro system for two of their productions this season. Through GalaPro's technology, interested patrons can enjoy their theatrical experience while utilizing closed captioning to make sure they don't miss a word. Plus, patrons can choose to use their personal smartphone or request to borrow a smart device from the theater. Orlando Shakes will provide this service at performances of Little Shop of Horrors and The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge. This program is made possible through the generosity of Chuck and Margery Pabst Steinmetz.
"Orlando Shakes will be one of the first regional theaters to utilize this innovative closed caption technology," says Douglas Love-Ramos, managing director at Orlando Shakes. "We depend upon feedback from our patrons during these two Popular Productions, so that we can build on their offerings and make the magic of theater as accessible as possible."
In addition to the seven show Signature Series, Orlando Shakes presents special events including their annual fundraising Gala, new play festival PlayFest 2020, 13th Annual John R. Hamilton Mock Trial, and Tony Awards Viewing Party.
The 2020-2021 Children's Series includes three family-friendly productions: in the coolest event of the summer, enjoy the World Premiere rollicking, interactive comedy, The Snow Princess; in the fall, meet "some pig" and a delightfully charming spider in Charlotte's Web; and hear the buzz on the new play based on the beloved children's book, Fly Guy: the Musical, in Spring 2021.
"This year, our three Children's Series productions explore the theme of courage," Anne Hering, Orlando Shakes' director of education, said. "The characters in these stories set a wonderful example of bravery, confidence, and following your moral compass."
Current Orlando Shakes subscribers may renew their subscription now by calling (407) 447-1700 ext. 1 or in person at the Box Office (812 East Rollins Street). New subscriptions will go on sale starting April 16, 2020.
Individual tickets to The Snow Princess will be available for purchase starting April 21, 2020. Group tickets (of 10 or more) are on sale now by calling the Box Office. Tickets to all remaining productions go on sale June 4, 2020. 2020-2021 titles and dates are subject to change; additional information about the season, including creative teams and casting, will be announced at a later date.
Orlando Shakes is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the State of Florida. Orlando Shakes is funded in part by Orange County Government through the Arts & Cultural Affairs Program. Orlando Shakes is supported by United Arts of Central Florida, host of OrlandoAtPlay.com and UAArtsEd.com.
Orlando Shakes' Fire and Reign series presented by Brian Phillips P.A. and Albert and Lisa Prast.