Portland Center Stage Announces Their 2009-2010 Season

With equal parts hope, humor and heartbreak, Portland Center Stage's 2009-2010 Season explores the challenges and rewards of creating community in a nation both defined and distracted by the chasm that often exists between our ideals and our actions... and between one neighbor and another.

This 10 show season will be one of Portland Center Stage's most diverse, presenting the American experience from a range of ethnic, socioeconomic and geographic perspectives; from the interleaved experiences of immigrants, elites, and African Americans in Ragtime, Thurgood Marshall and Joe Turner's Come and Gone to the complexities of the Japanese-American experience in Snow Falling on Cedars and the landmark exploration of the Orthodox Jewish experience in The Chosen.
The season will also be a word nerd's delight, with a record-breaking 6 literary adaptations, including the hilarious Hitchcock pastiche The 39 Steps; the holiday double feature of Dickens on the Main Stage and the Sedaris in the studio; a pair of word wise songsmiths (Marcy and Zina in the world premiere studio musical The Best So Far) and a musical that will literally pull the wordiest, nerdiest members of the audience right onstage in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

Without Further Ado, Portland Center Stage is Pleased to Announce the 2009-2010 Season Lineup:

Ragtime

Book by Terrence McNally, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and music by Stephen Flaherty

Directed by Chris Coleman

(Main Stage)

September 15 to November 1, 2009

E.L. Doctorow's sweeping novel comes vividly to life in this Tony Award-winning musical, set against the backdrop of the ragtime craze in New York City. In it, three disparate families intertwine: a wealthy white couple; a Jewish immigrant father and his motherless daughter; and an African American ragtime musician who teaches them all about the surprising interconnections of the human heart, the limitations of justice and the unsettling consequences of dreams permanently deferred. Historical figures like Harry Houdini, J.P. Morgan and Emma Goldman also inhabit this stirring epic, but it is American popular music that carries the story, including marches, cakewalks and -- of course - ragtime.

(continued)

 

Thurgood

by George Stevens, Jr.

(Ellyn Bye Studio)

September 29 to November 22, 2009

One of America's greatest heroes takes the stage in this powerful new play about Thurgood Marshall, the grandson of a slave who rose from a childhood in the back streets of Baltimore to become our first African-American Supreme Court Justice. Thurgood's life was a triumph of courage -- not just for one man, but for the nation he bravely challenged and proudly served. Called a "a don't miss event" by the New York press, Thurgood invites us to meet and, perhaps just a little, understand a man whose life story reminds us how critical it is to keep the American dream alive. PCS' production of Thurgood will star local favorite Wendell Wright.

Special Holiday Offerings!!!

This year the holidays will feature TWO PCS favorite productions, both presented outside of the regular subscription packages.

A Christmas Carol

Adapted by Mead Hunter from the novella by Charles Dickens

Directed by Rose Riordan

(Main Stage)

November 24 to December 27, 2009


Already a Portland holiday tradition, this year Associate Artistic Director Rose Riordan will add her own unique stamp to Mead Hunter's original adaptation, starting by casting of Portland's favorite weird and wise old man, Ebbe Roe Smith, as Scrooge. This timeless tale of the gifts that become available when you cross the divide that separates neighbor from neighbor will retain all the sparkle and spookiness Portland has come to expect... but look for the director of The Receptionist and How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found to add a few intriguing new low lights to the rich texture of the production.
The Santaland Diaries

By David Sedaris

Adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello

(Ellyn Bye Studio)

December 3 to December 27, 2009

Based on the outlandish true chronicles of David Sedaris' experience as Crumpet the Elf in Macy's Santaland display, this hilarious cult classic riffs on a few of Sedaris' truly odd encounters with his fellow man during the height of the holiday crunch. NPR humorist and best-selling author of When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Me Talk Pretty One Day and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, David Sedaris has become one of America's pre-eminent humor writers. This production will include two late night 10:00 pm performances on December 10th and 17th.

Snow Falling on Cedars

adapted for the stage by Kevin McKeon

from the book by David Guterson

(Main Stage)

January 12 to February 7, 2010

Adapted for the stage by Seattle's Book-it Repertory Theatre (the people who brought us Pride and Prejudice), (continued)

Northwestern author David Guterson's haunting story takes place in 1954, on a Puget Sound island so isolated that no one who lives there can afford to make enemies. The island's white and Japanese-American communities have lived in quiet but uneasy peace, even through the dark days of WWII internment camps and widespread anti-Japanese war hysteria. But when Kabuo Miyamoto is charged with murder and it turns out that his wife's spurned white lover Ishmael holds the information that could set him free, the island's secret prejudices, jealousies and ancient grievances threaten to boil over into an act of injustice from which there can be no return.

The Chosen

adapted by Aaron Posner

from the Chaim Potok novel

(Ellyn Bye Studio)

February 2 to April 11, 2010

This award-winning adaptation from the award-winning novel is the coming-of-age story of two boys growing up in two very different Jewish communities-"five blocks and a world apart"-in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in the 1940s. In it, Danny, the brilliant and curious son of a Hasidic rabbi, struggles with his longing to know more of the world and his father's unwillingness to speak to him when they are not studying the Torah. After a heated fight at a baseball game, Danny befriends Reuven, an Orthodox Jew from a nearby neighborhood who becomes a friend and a partner in investigating both their shared Jewish heritage and their wildly divergent family environments and hopes for the future. When Danny's father prohibits him from speaking to Reuven because of a political disagreement about a nascent Israeli state, both boys learn that the bonds of religion, friendship and community are both more brittle and more binding than they could have possibly imagined.

Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps

adapted by Patrick Barlow

from the book by John Buchan

(Main Stage)

February 23 to March 21, 2010

Whodunit meets hilarious in this recklessly theatrical riff on Alfred Hitchcock's cinematic 1935 masterpiece which in turn was based on John Buchan's spy genre classic. In it a handsome hero (complete with stiff-upper-lip, pencil moustache and British gung-ho attitude) encounters dastardly murders, double-crossing secret agents, and, of course, devastatingly beautiful women, all while trying to escape from an accidental entanglement with a deadly group of spies called the 39 Steps. A quick witted and acrobatic troupe of four actors will create dozens of locations and over 130 roles in this rollicking evening of winking wisecracks and wow-inducing stage wizardry.

Joe Turner's Come and Gone

By August Wilson

(Main Stage)

April 6 to May 2, 2009

One of the masterpieces of August Wilson's ten-play Century Cycle, Joe Turner's Come and Gone follows Harold Loomis, who appears in Pittsburgh in 1911 to reunite his family after spending seven years on a Joe Turner's chain gang. Surrounded by the vibrant tenants of a black boarding house, he fights for his soul and his song in the dawning days of a century without slavery. The San Francisco chronicle recently called Joe Turner "Powerful, joyously musical and chillingly visionary...How far we've come...The high of [President] Barack Obama's victory gain[s] deeper resonances from August Wilson's dramatic depiction of the lives of African Americans just a few generations ago."

(continued)

The Best So Far

by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich

(Ellyn Bye Studio)

May 4 to June 27, 2010

From one of the hottest team of songwriters in New York, whose clever cabaret songs have been covered by the likes of Kristin Chenowith ("Taylor the Latte Boy") and Terence Mann (Dear Edwina),comes the world premiere of a new musical as saucy, zany and romantic as a carriage ride through Central Park. Like a Cole Porter musical scathingly edited by Dorothy Parker, The Best So Far takes a bumpy, giggling ride through the wilds of modern romantic relationships. Whether the characters are 18 or 80, the terror and thrill of leaping into commitment looms large and keeps them spinning.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

lyrics and music by William Finn

book by Rachel Sheinkin

(Main Stage)

May 25 to June 27, 2010

Rounding out the season is a hilarious tale of overacheiver's angst from the author of Falsettos and A New Brain. This unlikeliest of hit musicals draws the audience directly into the action, bringing 4 nerdtastic audience members onto the stage each night to compete alongside some of America's unlikeliest kid heroes: a quirky yet charming mix of awkward outsiders, divided by their stereotypes (the hyper-achieving Asian kid, the over-precious daughter of gay dads, the goober snorting nerd, the underachieving hippie kid) and united by the discovery that a spelling bee may be the only place on the planet where they can both stand out and fit in.

Season subscriptions open for sale on February 23rd. Single tickets range from $24 to $64 with student and senior rates available. The night of show Rush discount returns this year, with a slightly higher $15 ticket price. Evening performances in both the Main Stage and the Studio begin at 7:30 pm, with weekday matinees at noon and weekend matinees at 2 pm.

Portland Center Stage inspires our community by bringing stories to life in unexpected ways. Established in 1988 as an off shoot of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, PCS became an independent theater in 1994 and has been under the leadership of Artistic Director Chris Coleman since May 2000. The company presents a blend of classic, contemporary and original productions in a conscious effort to appeal to the eclectic palate of theatergoers in Portland. PCS also offers a variety of education and outreach programs for curious minds from six to 106, including the PCS GreenHouse, a school of theater.

THE GERDING THEATER AT THE ARMORY houses a 599-seat Main Stage and a 200-seat black box Studio. It was the first building on the National Register of Historic Places, and the first performing arts venue, to achieve a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification. The Gerding Theater at the Armory opened to the public on Oct. 1, 2006. The capital campaign to fund the renovation of this hub for community artistic activity continues.

 

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