Asolo Repertory Theatre and the FSU/Asolo Conservatory Announce 2019-20 Seasons

Asolo Repertory Theatre and the FSU/Asolo Conservatory Announce 2019-20 Seasons

Asolo Repertory Theatre and the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training have announced their 2019-20 seasons on March 25.

Asolo Rep's season kicks off in November with a brilliantly re-imagined production of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Tony Award®-winning masterpiece THE SOUND OF MUSIC (November 13 - December 28), directed and choreographed by Josh Rhodes (Broadway: Bright Star, It Shoulda Been You, First Date, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella). Rhodes returns to Asolo Rep where he previously directed and choreographed the theatre's record-breaking smash hit production of Evita in 2017 and Guys and Dolls in 2016. In this sweeping musical event, Maria, a young nun causing trouble at the Abbey, is sent off to be governess to Captain von Trapp's seven troublesome children. She brings much-needed love and joy to the family - and the widowed Captain - and transforms their world and hers through the power of music.


The winter repertory season opens with Agatha Christie'S MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (January 8 - March 8), directed by Peter Amster and newly adapted by two-time Tony Award-nominee and master of farce Ken Ludwig. Just after midnight, the exotic Orient Express is hurtling down the tracks - to a murder! With a locomotive full of suspects and an alibi for each one, it's the perfect mystery. Glamorous, romantic and hilarious, this new play will take audiences on a suspenseful, highly entertaining adventure.


The rep season continues with the critically acclaimed 2018 Broadway hit THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT (January 22 - March 19), directed by Asolo Rep Associate Artistic Director Celine Rosenthal. Demanding magazine editor-in-chief Emily Penrose hires a determined millennial fact-checker named Jim Fingal to work on a groundbreaking essay. Like magazines everywhere, this one is reeling from poor ad sales and shrinking circulation. But with this potentially sensational essay, salvation looms. When overly eager Jim takes his fact-checking too far, the ultimate showdown between "truth" and "accuracy" is about to begin - with delicious consequences.


The third and final of the winter repertory plays is Lucille Lortel Award-winner George Brant's INTO THE BREECHES! (February 12 - March 21), directed by Cleveland Play House Artistic Director Laura Kepley. In the midst of World War II, the Oberon Play House's director and leading men are off at war and the future of the theatre is in jeopardy. But the show must go on and Maggie, the director's wife, has a solution. She will take her husband's place and enlist women to take on the roles in the first scheduled show of the season: an ambitious production of Shakespeare's Henry V.


Asolo Rep will also present Laura Yee's smart, feisty and funny THE GREAT LEAP (March 18 - April 11) in the Cook Theatre. San Francisco, spring 1989. Manford Lum is a sparky kid who plays street basketball in Chinatown - vertically challenged, but with undeniable ball skills. He talks his way onto a college team headed to Beijing for an exhibition game and finds himself in the middle of China's post-Cultural Revolution. Smart, feisty and hilarious, THE GREAT LEAP is about family, history, and learning that every game is a second chance.

In April Asolo Rep proudly presents the world premiere of KNOXVILLE (April 3 - 25). This moving and innovative musical will feature lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, music by Stephen Flaherty (songwriting team behind Anastasia, Once on this Island) and will be adapted and directed by Frank Galati, reuniting the dynamic Tony Award-winning creative team behind Ragtime, one of the most beloved musicals of all time. KNOXVILLE is based on James Agee's Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiographical novel A Death in the Family and based, in part, on the play All The Way Home by Tad Mosel. When an unexpected turn of events leaves Rufus' family spinning, he and his mother, Mary, embark on a journey through the mysteries of life and death, faith and doubt, in order to come to terms with what they have lost and what they have found. An enduring illumination of the forces that shape us into who we are, KNOXVILLE is a quintessentially American coming-of-age story about family, faith and love, and the boy who will grow up to write it. The world premiere of KNOXVILLE is made possible by a generous grant from The Roy Cockrum Foundation.


The season continues with HOOD: A Robin Hood Musical Adventure (May 6 - 31), featuring music and lyrics by Lewis Flinn (Lysistrata Jones), a book by five-time Tony-nominated playwright Douglas Carter Beane (Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella, Lysistrata Jones, Sister Act, Xanadu) and helmed by Mark Brokaw (Heisenberg, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella, After Miss Julie). The world's sexiest thief takes to the stage again in this madcap new musical adventure of a legendary tale with a 21st century twist. Follow the exciting escapades of Robin Hood and his merry men as he fights to restore justice for the people of Sherwood, win the heart of the beautiful Maid Marian, who definitely does not need saving, and rid the land from the Sheriff of Nottingham once and for all.


In June Asolo Rep continues its family programming initiative with a wildly innovative production of SNOW WHITE (June 11 - 28), presented by New International Encounter. Adapted from the classic Brothers Grimm story, this magical, modern fairy-tale experience is perfect for the young and young at heart. Actors play multiple roles and multiple instruments and spontaneity and thrills abound. Intimate, entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny, this new 21st-century SNOW WHITE is incredibly fresh and at the same time reassuringly familiar.


"The overarching theme for our 2019-20 season is that of humanity, adventure and joy," said Asolo Rep Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. "Our audiences will soar through the Austrian Alps with the von Trapps, race in the dark of night from Paris to Istanbul on the Orient Express, and chase the truth alongside a precocious fact checker. They will share the stage with a steadfast group of women at a theatre during World War II, reach new heights with a passionate young basketball player and delve into their pasts in order to realize their futures with Rufus in 1915, Knoxville. From there they will venture into Sherwood Forest in a brand new, exhilarating way and then rediscover a dreamy fairy tale as if it were brand new. It is going to be a thrilling ride!"


Asolo Rep will also present its annual fall educational tour, an FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training production of William Shakespeare's ROMEO & JULIET (September - November, 2019), adapted and directed by Tyler Dobrowsky. The tour presents freshly re-imagined 45-minute adaptations of classic literature to schools and community venues throughout the state of Florida.

The FSU/Asolo Conservatory's Dog Days Theatre returns this summer for a third season, featuring smart, contemporary works just light enough for the dog days of summer. The Dog Days Theatre 2019 season begins with Matthew Burnett's THEOPHILUS NORTH (July 9 - 28) from the novel by Thornton Wilder, directed by Laura Braza. The season will conclude with the outrageously funny and witty comedy, HARBOR (August 6 - 25), by Chad Beguelin, who penned the stage adaptation of Disney's Aladdin, and directed by FSU/AsoloConservatory Director, Greg Leaming. This smart and scrappy, outrageously funny comedy tests the constantly shifting nature of the meaning of marriage and family.


The Conservatory opens its season with Sophocles' ANTIGONE (October 29 - November 17): a war among brothers leaves Antigone's family torn but she breaks faith with everything she has known in order to defend her family's honor. In January, the Conservatory presents Rajiv Joseph's dark comedy, GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES (December 31 - January 19): a Pulitzer Prize finalist and an insightful and witty story about Doug and Kayleen, and how their friendship and love evolves over the course of 30 years. The season continues in late February with Sarah Ruhl's DEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE (February 18 - March 8). A woman impulsively decides to answer a ringing cell phone only to find that the owner of the phone is dead and involved in some mysterious business.


The Conservatory will return to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in April for William Shakespeare's classic love story ROMEO & JULIET(April 7 - 25). Sarasota's premier outdoor destination will set the scene for this timeless tale filled with passion, laughter, tears, and arguably the most romantic poetry in all of literature.


"The FSU/Asolo Conservatory is training the future of the American theatre, and we are thrilled to be able to present these young artists in plays that will showcase their skills, their passion and, most importantly, their incredible talent," said Greg Leaming, Director of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. "The 2019-20 season includes some of the greatest plays written for the stage as well as bright, new, highly original work from the 21st century, all starring the 12 brilliant young artists of our second-year class. It promises to be a season of great plays and great young actors ready to be discovered."

Asolo Repertory Theatre 2019-20 SEASON

THE SOUND OF MUSIC

November 16 - December 28
Previews November 13, 14 & 15

Music by Richard Rodgers

Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II

Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse

Suggested by The Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp

Directed and Choreographed by Josh Rhodes


Like a breath of fresh Alpine air, this beloved musical masterpiece sweeps onto the Asolo Rep stage just in time for the holidays. Maria, a young nun causing trouble at the abbey, is sent off to be governess to Captain von Trapp's seven troublesome children. She brings much-needed love and joy to the family - and the widowed Captain - and transforms their world and hers through the power of music. But the looming threat of Nazi Germany's invasion of their native Austria darkens their future. Overflowing with some of the most iconic songs of all time, this heartwarming family musical will be helmed by Josh Rhodes, returning on the heels of his spectacular production of Evita in 2017.


Agatha Christie'S MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS

January 10 - March 8
Previews January 8 & 9

Adapted by Ken Ludwig

Directed by Peter Amster

Just after midnight, the exotic Orient Express is hurtling down the tracks - to a murder! An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, his door locked from the inside. With a train full of suspects and an alibi for each one, it's the perfect mystery for the dapper detective Hercule Poirot, n'est-ce pas? Glamorous, romantic and hilarious, this new adaptation of Agatha Christie's masterpiece by two-time Tony®-nominated playwright and farce master Ken Ludwig takes you on a suspenseful, highly entertaining thrill ride. Book your passage today!


THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT

January 24 - March 19
Previews January 22 & 23

By Jeremy Kareken & David Murrell

And Gordon Farrell

Based on the Essay/Book by John D'Agata and Jim Fingal

Directed by Celine Rosenthal

How negotiable is a fact? That's the premise of this critically acclaimed 2018 Broadway hit that explodes with blistering comedy and timely relevance. At a high-end magazine, demanding editor-in-chief Emily Penrose hires a determined millennial fact-checker named Jim Fingal to work on a groundbreaking essay written by the famous author John D'Agata. Like magazines everywhere, this one is reeling from poor ad sales and shrinking circulation. But with this potentially sensational essay, salvation looms. The deadline is tight, the essay is dense, and everyone must make a good faith effort to tell the story honestly. When overly eager Jim takes his fact- checking too far, the ultimate showdown between "truth" and "accuracy" is about to begin - with delicious consequences.


INTO THE BREECHES!

February 14 - March 21
Previews February 12 & 13

By George Brant

Directed by Laura Kepley


It's 1942. World War II is on and with its director and leading men at war, the future of the Oberon Play House is in doubt. But the show must go on and Maggie, the director's wife, has a solution. She'll take her husband's place and enlist women to fill the roles in the first scheduled show of the season, an ambitious production of Shakespeare's Henry V. She assembles an increasingly unexpected team of women who forge ahead with a spirit of collaboration and dauntless enthusiasm, in spite of the odds. This surprisingly modern and moving new comedy celebrates the singular way that art and community reveal our boldest selves even in the darkest times.

THE GREAT LEAP

In the Cook Theatre

March 20 - April 11
Previews March 18 & 19

By Lauren Yee

Director to be Announced

San Francisco, spring 1989. Manford Lum is a sparky kid who plays street basketball in Chinatown - vertically challenged, but with undeniable ball skills. He talks his way onto a college team headed to Beijing for an exhibition game and finds himself in the middle of China's post-Cultural Revolution. As the story bounces between 1989 and 1971, past relationships collide with present day revelations right up to the final buzzer. Smart, feisty and hilarious, THE GREAT LEAP is about family, history, and learning that every game is a second chance.

WORLD PREMIERE MUSICAL

KNOXVILLE

April 10 - 25
Previews begin April 3

Book by Frank Galati

Music by Stephen Flaherty
Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Based on the Novel A Death in the Family by James Agee
Based, in part, on the play All The Way Home by Ted Mosel
Directed by Frank Galati


Frank Galati eloquently described KNOXVILLE as "a love story, inspired by James Agee's perfectly crafted prose, animated by Lynn Ahrens' vivid poetry and borne aloft by Stephen Flaherty's gorgeous new music." Agee's autobiographical story begins on a quiet night in the foothills of Tennessee's Great Smokies, where Jay Follett stands with his son Rufus, watching the trains and talking about life. Later, an unexpected turn of events leaves Rufus' family spinning. A powerful illumination of the forces that shape who we are, KNOXVILLE is a universal coming-of-age story about family, faith and love - and about the boy who will grow up to write it. With a sweeping musical score blending folk, bluegrass and ballads, this world premiere is a must see event!


HOOD: A ROBIN HOOD MUSICAL ADVENTURE

May 15 - 31
Previews begin May 6

Book by Douglas Carter Beane
Music and Lyrics by Lewis Flinn
Directed by Mark Brokaw


The world's sexiest thief. The renegade hero who made redistributing

wealth cool takes to the stage again in this madcap new musical romp staged by some of Broadway's creative giants. Follow the exciting escapades of Robin and his merry men as he fights to restore justice for the people of Sherwood, win the heart of the beautiful Maid Marian and rid the land from the avaricious Sheriff of Nottingham once and for all. With heaps of audience participation, thrilling sword fights, archery contests, spirited heroes and dastardly villains, this much-loved tale gets an exhilarating 21st-century twist by five-time Tony-nominated playwright Douglas Carter Beane with a folk and rock-infused score by Lewis Flinn.

SNOW WHITE
June 12 - 28
Preview June 11

Presented by New International Encounter

Adapted from The Brothers Grimm

Music by Joey Hickman
Directed by Alex Byrne


Straight from the UK, this wildly innovative, magical, modern fairy-tale experience is perfect for young and old. Forget everything you think you know about Snow White. First of all, there are no dwarves - they've been replaced by seven vegan eco-warriors, living off the grid in the forest. Actors play multiple roles and multiple instruments and spontaneity and thrills abound. Intimate, entertaining and laugh-out loud funny, this new 21st-century SNOW WHITE is incredibly fresh, and at the same time delightfully familiar.

FSU/ASOLO CONSERVATORY SUMMER
2019 DOG DAYS THEATRE SEASON

THEOPHILUS NORTH
By Matthew Burnett
From the novel by Thornton Wilder
Directed by Laura Braza
July 11 - 28
Previews July 9 & 10

In the summer of 1926, thirty-year-old Theophilus North quits his teaching job in New Jersey and embarks on a quest for fun, adventure and his place in the world. When his used jalopy breaks down in Newport, Rhode Island, he takes on odd jobs (tennis instructor, French tutor, private reader) in the elegant mansions of the wealthy, infiltrating himself into the lives and troubles of the residents both upstairs and down. But the greatest adventure in store isn't at all what he imagined. This captivating, witty and big-hearted gem of a play allows us to newly discover the world at North's side.

HARBOR
By Chad Beguelin
Directed by Greg Leaming
August 8 - 25
Previews August 6 & 7

Snuggled in the Hamptons, newlyweds Ted and Kevin have the perfect upscale life - safe, happy and insulated. Until, who shows up but Kevin's sister Donna, a swearing, out of control single mom who lives in a van with her teenaged daughter Lottie. Not only do they plan on an extended stay, but it turns out Donna is pregnant - and she has an agenda. Written by the author of Disney's stage version of Aladdin, and author/lyricist of Broadway's The Wedding Singer, this smart and scrappy, outrageously funny comedy tests the constantly shifting nature of the meaning of family.

FSU/ASOLO CONSERVATORY 2019-20 SEASON

ANTIGONE
By Sophocles
October 30 - November 17
Preview October 29


In the aftermath of her brothers' bloody war, Antigone is left torn. Her brother Eteocles will be honored, but her slain brother Polyneices lies on the battlefield where he fell, the new king denying his burial as an example to those who dare act against the state. Determined to defend her family's honor, Antigone breaks faith with everything she has ever known in order to set things right.

GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES
(2010 Pulitzer Prize Finalist)
By Rajiv Joseph
January 1 - 19
Preview December 31

Doug and Kayleen met at age eight in the nurse's office at their parochial school. Over the course of 30 years, the two build a complex connection over a lifetime of injuries, both physical and emotional. Doug is a daredevil jock with a bit of a death wish; Kayleen struggles with her own internal demons. Moving back and forth in time, the play follows the difficult path of friendship, love and adulthood. Truly a different type of love story, this dark comedy will leave you smarting from its sharp humor and sharper insights.

DEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE
By Sarah Ruhl
February 19 - March 8
Preview February 18

It's life on the line. In a quiet café an unsuspecting young woman, irked by an insistently ringing cell phone, discovers that its owner is, in fact, dead. In an impulsive move, she decides to answer the call and her fateful act plummets her deeply into the dead man's mysterious life. Reveling in the intrigue, she attends his funeral, meets his eccentric family and embarks on a wild film-noir odyssey. DEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE is a comic meditation on morality, redemption, and connecting in a technologically obsessed world.

Shakespeare in the Gardens:
ROMEO & JULIET
By William Shakespeare
April 8 - 25
Preview April 7

We celebrate our fourth season of Shakespeare in the Gardens with the love story that has defined romance for more than four decades. A star-crossed couple, more in love than they knew was possible, are ultimately undone in the midst of the unyielding and blood-thirsty feud of their families. Magical Selby Gardens is the perfect setting for this timeless tale filled with life, passion, laughter, tears, sword fighting and, perhaps, the most romantic poetry in all of literature.



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