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FOR THE LOVE OF COMRADES, THE KID THING, SAGITTARIUS PONDEROSA and More Set for NCTC's 2015-16 Season

At the annual New Conservatory Theater Center (NCTC) Season Announcement Party for subscribers, donors, artists and press, NCTC Founder & Artistic Director Ed Decker announced the line-up for the 2015-16 subscription season. Regarded nationally and internationally as San Francisco's Premier LGBQI and Allied Theatre Company, NCTC builds on this rich tradition with its 2015-16 Season, featuring exhilarating U.S., regional and world premieres, as well as two extraordinary musicals.

"The 2015-16 season offers comedic, dramatic, and musical journeys that invite audiences to connect to our ongoing mission that champions growth, enlightenment and change," says Decker. "I believe it is important to keep in mind where we have been in order to better appreciate that which brought us to this moment in our lives. All of the plays either consider history, contemporary circumstances, or the evolving nature of our collective humanity within the fluidity of individual identity."

In September, NCTC's 2015-16 Season begins with the U.S. Premiere of For the Love of Comrades, the impassioned, gritty and inspiring new play by Micheál Kerrigan, with script development by Patricia Byrne and Mary Connors. After a rapturous reception upon its premiere in 2013 and subsequent tour in Ireland, the play uncovers the largely unknown but fascinating alliance between Welsh miners and the lesbian and gay community during the 1984 British Miner's Strike, what would become the Lesbian and Gays Support the Minors (LGSM) campaign. (The captivating true events also inspired a 2014 film, Pride.) Kerrigan wrote his debut play from his own experiences as an Irish gay activist and a member of the LGSM Group, along with extensive archival research. Mike Jackson, co-founder of LGSM proclaimed For the Love of Comrades a "masterpiece," hailing its embrace of "so much important detail, so much historical truth, the pain and the joys."

Next, NCTC presents the return of Douglas Carter Beane's sophisticated wit and thrilling theatrical ambition with the regional premiere of The Nance. After hit productions of Beane's The Little Dog Laughed and As Bees in Honey Drown, NCTC bring his latest and "finest" (Time Out NY), what The New York Times calls "a heartfelt new play set in the twilight of burlesque," direct from Lincoln Center Theater on Broadway. This "bold, brave play" (Backstage) - which debuted at Lincoln Center Theater in 2013 - recreates the naughty, raucous world of burlesque's heyday and tells the backstage story of headliner Chauncey Miles, who plays "the nance," a flamboyantly effeminate stock character - usually played by a straight man. Set amid Mayor Fiorello La Guardia's crackdown on burlesque before the 1939 World's Fair, a time when it was easy to play gay yet dangerous to be gay, Chauncey's uproarious antics on the stage stand out in marked contrast to his offstage life.

In November, award-winning playwright Sarah Gubbins makes her Bay Area debut with the West Coast premiere of The Kid Thing. Hailed by Variety as "a work of significant depth," The Kid Thing proves good news isn't all it's cracked up to be. When two lesbian couples who have been close friends for years get together for a dinner party, the unexpected news of an impending pregnancy manages to rock both relationships. Emotions run deep in this biting, witty piece about what it means to have a child today. "A compelling conversation stoker of a play" (Time Out Chicago), this winner of the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Play 2012 was produced by Chicago Dramatists & About Face Theater and developed by Steppenwolf Theatre.

This holiday season, get ready for a "Furwell Tour" like no other, with the return of the NCTC's sold-out record-breaking hit production of Avenue Q, with music, lyrics and original concept by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx and book by Jeff Whitty. This "fresh and delightful" (SF Examiner) and "brilliant" (Talkin Broadway) production of the Tony Award-winning musical won over critics and audiences alike in its return engagement during the 2014-15 season. The Bay Area Reporter exclaims, "A big smiley face quickly throws its net over NCTC's Decker Theatre and keeps the audience happily entrapped" - because it's not the holidays without naughty puppets!

In January, NCTC is proud to present the world premiere of a poetic and profound new play, Sagittarius Ponderosa by MJ Kaufman. Winner of the 2014 Global Age Project at Aurora Theatre Company, the play introduces us to Archer (still Angela to his family), who returns home to eastern Oregon to care for his dying father. At night under the oldest Ponderosa Pine, he meets a young stranger who knows the history of the forests and the secrets to saving endangered things. Sagittarius Ponderosa reveals the enduring ties between the roots beneath our feet, the stars in the sky, and mysteries of the human heart.

Sagittarius Ponderosa is a personal exploration for Kaufman, who was encouraged by Yale faculty member and playwright Sarah Ruhl to "find a new plot form to write about gender," says Kaufman, who received an MFA from Yale School of Drama. "I had been feeling frustrated that most queer narratives are coming-out stories and most transgender narratives are transition stories. I wanted to create art that would acknowledge constant change as an intrinsic part of being a person."

In March, NCTC presents the latest acclaimed play by four-time Tony Award winner and frequent NCTC collaborator Terrence McNally, with the regional premiere of Mothers and Sons. Generations collide when a woman pays a surprise visit to the New York apartment of her late son's partner, who is now married to another man and has a young son. As she revisits the past, she begins to see the life her son might have led. "A resonant elegy for a ravaged generation" (The New York Times) and "eloquent, exceptionally timely and intensely resonant" (Chicago Tribune), Mothers and Sons explores family and forgiveness in a changing society.

Next, the hilarious Off-Broadway hit, Buyer and Cellar by Jonathan Tolins comes to NCTC, starring NCTC regular and NCTC Emerging Artist Program alum J. Conrad Frank (Die Mommie Die!). In this uproarious comedy, an unemployed actor is thrust into a close relationship with Barbra Streisand when he is hired to watch over a mall of shoppes she has built in a cellar on her Malibu compound. Soon it begins to take a toll on his patience, his love life, and his view of people (who need people). As Entertainment Weekly declares, "This show will go down like 'butta'!"

Buyer and Cellar will also tour Northern and Central California as part of NCTC's Pride On Tour, playing Modesto, Fresno, and Grass Valley.

NCTC wraps up its 2015-16 Season with the West Coast premiere of the whimsical reimagining of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, with music by Burton Lane, lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, a new book by Peter Parnell, based on the original book by Alan Jay Lerner. This mesmerizing and enchanting new look at the classic musical is just your typical musical comedy - about hypnosis, gay florists with commitment issues, love triangles with your therapist, and past lives as a 1940s chanteuse. The "bewitching, beguiling" score (World-Telegram & Sun) from 1965 includes the songs "Come Back To Me," "What Did I Have That I Don't Have Now?," and the popular title song. Complementing the new book, the musical's beloved score will feature additional songs from the 1970 film version starring Barbra Streisand, as well as tunes from Lerner and Lane's Royal Wedding, a 1951 movie musical with Fred Astaire. In addition, NCTC has commissioned new arrangements by acclaimed musical director Ben Prince.

Subscribers get the best seats at the best prices for every show in the season. Eight-show full-season subscriptions are available now, as well as a seven-show package, without Avenue Q, and a 4-show sampler, with a choice of any 4 shows in the season. Brand new this season is the 3-30-50 special package - 3 shows for $50, for audiences 30 years old and under. Subscribers have first access to Avenue Q tickets, save up to 25% off single tickets, have access to the best seats, receive hassle-free ticket exchanges, save 50% on guest tickets, and more. Subscriptions can be purchased at nctcsf.org/subscribe or by calling the Box Office at 415.861.8972.

Single tickets for the 2015-16 Season will go on sale to the general public June 1st 2015. Fulfilling its vision of theatre as a community event, NCTC will expand community accessibility by offering a limited number of Pay-What-You-Wish tickets for every preview performance in the new season.

New Conservatory Theatre Center is San Francisco's premier LGBTQI and Allied performing arts institution and progressive arts education conservatory since 1981. NCTC is renowned for its diverse range of innovative, high-quality productions, touring productions and shows for young audiences; its foundational anti-bullying work with youth and educators through YouthAware; and its commitment to nurturing emerging artists and playwrights to expand the canon of queer and allied dramatic work.


2015-16 SEASON SCHEDULE:

For the Love of Comrades

U.S. Premiere

By Micheál Kerrigan, with script development by Patricia Byrne and Mary Connors.

September 4 - October 11, 2015

Opening Night: September 12, 2015

The Nance

Regional Premiere

By Douglas Carter Beane

October 2 - November 1, 2015

Opening Night: October 10, 2015

The Kid Thing

West Coast Premiere

By Sarah Gubbins

November 6 - December 13, 2015

Opening Night: November 14, 2015

Avenue Q

Music and Lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, Book by Jeff Whitty

Based on a concept by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx

December 4, 2015 - January 17, 2016

Opening Night: December 12, 2015

Sagittarius Ponderosa

World Premiere

By MJ Kaufman

January 22 - February 28, 2016

Opening Night: January 30, 2016

Mothers and Sons

Regional Premiere

By Terrence McNally

March 4 - April 3, 2016

Opening Night: March 12, 2016

Buyer and Cellar

By Jonathan Tolins

March 18 - April 24, 2016

Opening Night: March 26, 2016

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever

West Coast Premiere

Music by Burton Lane

Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner

New book by Patrick Parnell

Based on the original book by Alan Jay Lerner

May 13 - June 12, 2016

Opening Night: May 21, 2016


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