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'LADY DAY' & More Set for Dorset Theatre Festival's Summer 2016 Season

Building upon their continued reputation as a theatre where audiences can expect the unexpected, Dorset Theatre Festival's 2016 summer season will feature a historic collaboration with Vermont's Weston Playhouse and Northern Stage, a World Premiere by acclaimed playwright Theresa Rebeck, a Regional Premiere by award-winning playwright Sarah Ruhl, and an exciting revival of Broadway's recent Tony Award-winner Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, featuring the life and music of jazz-icon Billie Holiday.

June 16-July 2, 2016

In a historic collaboration with Vermont's Weston Playhouse and Northern Stage, DTF will present Table Manners, the second play in Alan Ayckbourn's acclaimed comic trilogy, The Norman Conquests. All three companies will share a cast and creative team. Dorset Theatre Festival's production will be helmed by renowned director Evan Yionoulis, known to regional audiences for her recent revival of Hapgood at Williamstown Theatre Festival.

The trilogy is both wildly comic and poignant, as the complex relationships amongst six characters are examined. All three plays are set during the sexual revolution of the 1970s and take place over the same weekend at an English country estate. Each play takes place in a different part of the house with Dorset Theatre Festival's Table Manners taking place in the dining room. A statewide event, audiences will be able to purchase discounted tickets for all three productions and take advantage of special dining packages in each location. Unique Talk Back events for audiences will feature the artistic directors, designers, and actors speaking about their exciting collaboration across all three productions.

July 8-July 23, 2016

Dorset Theatre Festival is excited to produce Dear Elizabeth by Sarah Ruhl, one of the most renowned playwrights of her generation. Dear Elizabeth chronicles the remarkable thirty-year friendship between two of the most celebrated and honored American poets of the 20th century: Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. With postmarks from Maine to Key West, and as far away as London and South America, Dear Elizabeth is a lyrical and moving portrait of two lives that unfold in letters. A recent hit Off-Broadway at The Women's Project, the production will be helmed by director Adrienne Campbell-Holt, known to regional audiences for her acclaimed work on DTF's productions of Red starring Tim Daly, and The Scene by Theresa Rebeck. The production will feature a rotating cast of Broadway actors.

World Premiere
July 28-August 13, 2016

In July, the Festival continues its commitment to developing new plays with a World Premiere of The Way of the World by Theresa Rebeck. The Way of the World is a contemporary retelling of the sardonic masterpiece by William Congreve. Set in the demimonde of the hyper-rich Hamptons, it follows the story of a good-hearted heiress who has become prey to the attentions of an amoral party boy. After he callowly seduces her aunt, making the older woman a figure of public ridicule, their romance is dead in the water. But his insistence on winning back the moneyed heroine fuels the summer's gossip in the land of the one-percent. Can love emerge in a world where love means nothing? While embracing a language that is completely of the moment, the play faithfully revels in Congreve's gimlet-eyed questions about society. Theresa Rebeck herself will helm the production, bringing with her a star-studded cast.

Theresa Rebeck is an acclaimed playwright who's New York productions include recently Seminar starring the late Alan Rickman and Dead Accounts starring Katie Holmes . Most recently she is known for her hit NBC TV series-Smash. Theresa was named one of the "150 Fearless Women in the World" by Newsweek

August 18-September 3, 2016

Fresh from a Tony Award-winning revival on Broadway, award-winning playwright Lanie Robertson recreates this vivid look into the life and times of jazz great Billie Holiday. The time is 1959. The place is a seedy bar in Philadelphia. The audience is about to witness one of Billie's last performances, given four months before her death. More than a dozen musical numbers are interlaced with salty, often humorous, reminiscences, revealing a riveting portrait of the lady and her music. Dorset Theatre Festival's production will be helmed by Artistic Director Dina Janis. Dina Janis enthuses, "This play is a searing portrait of a woman whose art was triumphant. It brings me back to my own roots, the world of jazz, as both of my parents were jazz players who spent a lot of time in small jazz clubs or on the road. With the help of an amazing design team, I hope to turn the Playhouse Theatre itself into a jazz club, with table seating on the stage and in the house. Up close and personal!"

New Play Reading Series
July-August, 2016

Continuing its commitment to developing new plays, Dorset Theatre Festival will present three works as part of the New Play Reading Series throughout the summer at the Playhouse. Featuring both young and seasoned playwrights, the reading series offers audiences an in-depth look into the early creative process of making a play come to life. All readings feature opportunities to speak with the playwright, director, and cast after the reading.

Ticketing Information

Subscriptions and Flex Passes are on sale March 1, 2016, offering the best seats, the best prices, and the best perks! Buy early and save big in March only! March Madness ticketing packages offer discounts up to 39% off of single ticket prices. The Box Office is open Monday thru Thursday from 1-4 PM, and can be reached by calling (802) 867-2223.

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